We just had to find out about the amazing little shop. Not only do many of our members love knitting, but the shop oozes individuality and we were curious to find out who was the brainchild behind it all.
Maya Linn Bang, the person behind Knit with attitude, kindly took some time out to tell us about the shop, and is the first of the local businesses we plan to feature on our local news and reviews page
SNWI When did you start knitting?
Maya When asked this question I normally answer that I've been knitting my whole life, but to be accurate I think I must have been about 4 years old when I started.
SNWI How long has knit with attitude been running?
Maya Well, Knit with attitude has been an online shop for a few years proceeding to a market stall at Spitalfields Market two years ago, and finally opening as a bricks and mortar shop in October 2010.
SNWI What inspired you to set up knit with attitude?
Maya My professional and academic background is within filmmaking and back in Norway I used to make films about social and environmental issues. I spent a year in London as part of doing my MA in Mediaproduction and was amazed by the lack of good knitting shops in this huge city. When moving to London for good I was convinced that I could communicate about environmental issues through knitting, which for me is an activity that represents ideals concerning consumption and are very innovative coming to organic and ethical productions compared to fashion and clothes production generally.
SNWI What drew you to Stoke Newington?
Maya As I mentioned I'd already stayed a year in London earlier and did at that time also live in Stoke Newington. A huge reason for my family and me to decide to come back for good was that we fell in love with the area and the sense of community that can be found here.
SNWI What first fired up your passion for knitting?
Maya I guess the logic of knitting, the mathematical aspect of it. Knitting is like cracking codes and it stimulates your brain. Did you know that knitting is one of few activities where you actually are using both sides of the brain simultaniously? Yes, I'm a knitting geek, I know.
SNWI What's unique about knit with arttitude?
Maya Knit with attitude is a specialist shop focusing on ethical and/or environmentally friendly yarns, I also like to believe that the level of service and help you will get by visiting my shop adds to it's uniqueness.
SNWIWool like fabric seems much more expensive these days, what tips have you got for knitters on a budget?
Maya Well to be honest, I believe that this has to do with peoples frame of mind really, the way you consume, and when it comes to yarn and fabrics you definitely get what you pay for. When people assume that handknits should be cheaper than mass produced and much likely not very earth friendly clothing as in "I can get a much cheaper sweater from the High Street" I get quite frustrated. Unfortunately ethical and environmentally friendly productions can not be cheap, to get cheap you would have to exploit either or both of those aspects. When this is said, compare what you would spend for two hours of entertainment at the cinema and how much constructive time you would get out of one hank of wool, it suddenly isn't that expensive is it? Also I think it is important to remember the quality of handknits, a hand knitted garment will last "for ever" and can be handed on for generations. Now where can you find that on the High Street? Being on a budget, I would consider the fibers I use, you can get the most gorgeous organic cotton or pure sheep wool which are far less expensive than the mixed fibers like silk/alpaca blends.
SNWI Do you run workshops for people that have never knitted before? And what would you reccomend as a starting project for an absolute beginner?
Maya Yes I do run workshops for beginners and people that would like to improve too.
I know what I definitely wouldn't recommend for a beginner, and that is the (dreaded) scarf. What a way to kill your motivation. A scarf has to be long and takes ages for a beginner to complete, having learned the basic stitches it also eventually becomes utterly boring. No, start with something small, like fingerless gloves, a mobile phone cover, pot holders, and so on. Something small that teaches you the basic and goes quickly so you'll soon be able to progress and move into more exciting adventures.
SNWI What's your own personal knitting project at the moment.
Maya Actually I'm not knitting but crocheting like a maniac to have my Christmas window decorations done, the question is if i'll be able to have them up before New Years!
The shop is so pretty, and we're really happy that we know a little more about Maya, great to see new businesses that are focused on the environment and the ethical side of fashion too!
The shop is located at
228b Stoke Newington High Street
(entry from Northwold Road)
London N16 7HU
You can also follow Maya on twitter here