Cheer up, slow down, get knitting. That’s the mantra of Sydney-sider Be Gunn, who is casting off notions that knitting is solely reserved for grannies creating tea cosies and wool sweaters in time for Christmas.
“The resurgence in knitting as a pastime is akin with growing your own vegies, there is that element of satisfaction and authenticity,” explains Gunn, who along with being an avid knitter and soft sculpture artist, is also the owner of yarn store Unravelled Textiles. “It's an authentic experience we crave. There is something more meaningful in creating something yourself. We are turning away from the mass-produced, and asking "how" it was made, “what” it is made of. Apparently, the meditative practice of knitting and crochet has untold benefits in our fast, consumer-driven lives.”
Knitting, like meditation, allows us to tap into different parts of the brain. And whilst we may not reach a total state of Zen, many experienced knitters peacefully zone out with the click of their needles, escaping a stressful reality and entering the creative realm.
“Knitting, and crocheting, is definitely my down time,” says Gunn. “It’s the activity rather than the end result I enjoy so much. The feel of the yarn, and the colour, it’s pure and simple. I believe even the simple act of knitting a scarf can be very cathartic. It's a powerful way to connect with your spirit and find peace; it's a form of meditation.”
It’s Gunn’s passion for yarn, which was ignited as a young child when her grandmothers taught her the art of knitting, which led her to open Unravelled Textiles. For Gunn, spending hours choosing the right yarn is all part of the process. A quality yarn, such as those made from Australian Merino wool, presents the softest touch and the most vivid colours.
“I will never tire of colour, it constantly inspires me. Yarn is like touching colour.”
Unravelled Textiles is the type of store Gunn wanted to walk into. Housing hard-to-find yarns and hand-dyed Australian wools in every ply and colour imaginable, inspiration is abounding.
“I started Unravelled Textiles because I love yarn and I couldn't find the kinds of yarns I wanted to buy in a bricks and mortar shop. Women come out of the woodwork for yarn, even if they don't knit, crochet, weave or macramé. We're all magnetically drawn to that tactile aspect and any experienced knitter will favour the touch and feel test before they buy, you can't do that on the internet. It's part of the creative process.”
For Gunn, there is nothing old-fashioned about Unravelled Textiles. It empowers women (and men) to take risks and to trust and honour their creative instincts. Knitting is back in, she exclaims.
“Make something new and contemporary whilst learning an age-old skill. Ride the wave of the ‘slow movement’ taking over the world and join the backlash against poor quality, mass-produced synthetics by knitting a soft, velvety cowl in the finest yarns, or an oversized throw in felt Merino rope. Anything is possible.”