Do you wish you could bring your holidays home with you? Sam Barsky does just that through knitting incredible pictorial sweaters!
Baltimore resident Sam learned to knit when he was 24 after seeking a new direction in life. “I have a learning disability and also a neurological disorder that makes me tired and weak at times. In 1999 it forced me to leave nursing school – at first I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
At around this time Sam met the owners of a local yarn shop. “They agreed to teach me how to knit on the condition I buy their yarn. To make a long story short, I’ve fulfilled my yarn buying debt to them and a lot more!”
Sam loved discovering a way to make something original and wearable that wasn’t available elsewhere. Before long he had an image in his mind of a sweater, but couldn’t find a pattern to match it. “After making two solid-coloured sweaters, I knitted one from a pattern of a world map,” he says. “I looked through patterns to decide what to do next, and didn’t like any. I had a vision of a sweater with a picture of nature on it, and thought I could just try to knit such a sweater without a pattern. I got to work, and though not the greatest piece of art, it was a success!” He adds: “The next one came out even better. Now I’ve made almost 90 of them.”
Since starting on this journey in 2000, Sam has created dozens of pictorial sweaters, featuring natural wonders, iconic landmarks, animals and city skylines. “I wish I could recreate every place I’ve been to in yarn,” he says. “Anything that catches my eye is a potential sweater.”
Now those goals are changing slightly, as rather than knit jumpers based on the places he’s visited, Sam is creating the jumpers first. “I’m trying harder to make sweaters representing places before I go so I can wear them there and be photographed!”
In 2016, Sam intends to knit as many jumpers as possible. “As for what they’ll be, it’ll depend on where I decide to travel and the events I attend.” With a world full of inspirational scenes ready to capture in knitted form, we can’t wait to see Sam’s upcoming creations!
Camden Yards jumper worn inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the local baseball stadium.
Coral reef jumper, worn at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Desert road jumper worn in New Mexico.
One of Sam's two Niagara Falls jumpers, taken on the American side of the falls.
One of Sam's tropics jumpers, taken in one of the Canary Islands with his wife Deborah.
Sam's Stonehenge jumper, worn at Stonehenge.
Tower Bridge jumper, worn in front of London's Tower Bridge.