Carolyn Barnett learned to knit as a child in England at a time when children were taught knitting in school, ‘woolies’ having been important in that damp climate where you’re never
more than 70 miles from the sea.
She immigrated to Canada in 1966. As a teen in Canada in the 1970’s, it was difficult to find the same quality wool clothing she had become accustomed to in England so she decided to knit herself a simple cardigan in the wool. This lead to more knitting for herself and for anyone who asked, at the cost of materials. She simply taught herself anything she hadn’t learned in school or from her mother.
1982 saw the birth of Carolyn M. Barnett Designs and she had a successful Summer with her cotton hand knits. In 1984 she learned to operate a very basic domestic knitting machine and progressed to using a more advanced machine the following year which opened up new avenues of creation.
Although Carolyn has spent many years focusing on custom garments she enjoys participating in theatre costume and commercial work. Her styles have become very refined technically (more sophisticated, buttonholes, banding, collars etc). She also devotes a day every couple of weeks to making the buttons for her newest pieces, both custom orders and new stock. Working in polymer clay has opened up a new creative outlet and introduced her to more wonderful artisans as colleagues and friends.
Working in 100% wool and cotton and incorporating her own funky buttons to complement the cardigans, her approach is simplicity of style with a lot of fun thrown in. Because the
garments are made to last both style wise and structurally, Carolyn’s wish is for the wearer to be able to pull her cardigans out of their closet for many seasons, just as she does.
Find out more about Carolyn Barnett and see more of her work on her website.
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