Sam Barsky has been knitting since 1999
The 2017 Crafter Of The Year has already been chosen, and it’s not even February yet. Sam Barsky is quickly becoming internet famous with his handmade sweaters that he knits of memorable places then wears in front of the tourist attractions. Barsky’s brought a childlike wonder to the world wide web this week when photos of his unique hobby went viral.
Photos of Barsky’s landmark sweaters were posted to Reddit a few days ago, and picked up a ridiculous amount of likes and shares on social media sites like Reddit and Facebook. The Baltimore knitter is now fielding interview requests and fan mail from all over the world. But his simple crafting project started years ago.
“I started knitting in March 1999 and made two solid colored sweaters followed from a pattern,” Barsky told Mashable. The following year he wanted to challenge himself and his crafting abilities, so he made his own pattern-free picture sweater. Since then, he’s created 103 masterpieces featuring various exotic locales like Stonehenge and the Bahai Gardens.
“The two most recent ones I did, the Bahai Gardens and the Dead Sea, were made for a trip I took in December to Israel,” Barsky shared. Each piece of wearable art takes about a month to create. “I’ve been knitting sweaters like that one after another, featuring either generic scenery or specific landmarks. Anything that crosses my eyes is a potential sweater,” he explained.
And while Barsky loves knitting, the concept of taking photos in front of the famous places he visited didn’t come to him until later. “To this day, I have pictures while wearing 91 of the 103 sweaters around the exact landmark or style of scenery or something quite similar, and I have a goal of doing this for all of them, though most of the remaining ones will require travel to other continents,” he shared.
Barsky doesn’t always stick to popular travel spots, though. He’s inspired by all sorts of beauty – waterfalls, polar bears, and baseball are just a few. The knitter has also crafted a sweater for every Jewish holiday. “I did a Sukkot sweater, and then followed up that with a Hanukkah sweater a few months later,” he told Forward. “I made at least one for every Jewish holiday. Some of the longer holidays I made two or three for.”
Barsky has two sweaters he’s finishing up right now. He’s knitting one of the California Raisins, the fictional animated R&B group. The other one he’s crafting is in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Barsky told reporters: “The Raisin sweater is for a dance at the end of the week in which the theme is ‘California Raisins,’ and the MLK sweater is for the upcoming holiday.” We can’t wait to see both of them.
Since his knitting passion has gone viral, Barsky’s received several requests for custom creations. “I have fans all over the world who want them desperately, but the problem is it takes me an average of a month to make one,” he explained. “I can’t become a human sweater mill.” Fair point although it doesn’t sound like the worst job. Even without an Etsy shop, we’ll be following along with glee as Barsky travels the world in his knitted treasures.