Knitta's humble beginnings stem from a lonely light pole looking for love. Founder Magda Sayeg explains, "I started knitting for my shop's door handles. I had to stare at the steel façade all day long and I really wanted to see some warm, cozy color. I did it and it instantly put a smile on my face. People passed by and loved it. That's when I thought, 'Why not other places?' For the light pole, people got out of their cars, scratched their heads, and touched it."
Magda's passion for crafting began at an early age. She tried her hand at knitting as a teen, but the results were less than favorable. "I tried making a scarf for a boyfriend," she recalls, "but it wasn't finished by the time we broke up!" While she excelled in math, the right side of her brain demanded creative stimulation. Taking up her knitting needles once again, she was more successful the second time around.
Since she first decorated Raye, her Houston, Tex., clothing boutique, Magda has recruited fellow crew members with clever monikers like P. Knitty and PolyCotN. She's traveled to New York City, London, and parts of Italy for various commissions and installations. Her brother brought a Knitta piece on a trip and placed it on the Great Wall of China. What started as a side project has now turned into Magda's full-time gig. Although she creates exclusively wooly street art, she switches up her own style to keep it interesting. "Now I'm into large scale creations," she adds. "I don't want to do one parking meter; I want to do 50!"
Law enforcement doesn't know what to make of Knitta. Magda says, "I've been approached by the authorities, but they're okay with it since I don't have a spray can in my hand. They don't really know what to do." With her crew by her side, Magda is driven by a desire to beautify her surroundings. She insists, "I felt that a stop sign would look better with yarn on it. It makes me happy and it makes other people happy. If it was negative, I probably wouldn't do it. I just feel like it's the right time for a project like this."
Knitta's projects encourage people to explore the world around them. "I think there's something very satisfying in that concept of stopping and smelling the roses," Magda says. "There are all these pieces of the urban landscape that we've grown accustomed to: fewer trees, more freeways. I think we really feel powerless in those situations; we stop complaining and looking at it. I feel like my knitting a light pole or a fire hydrant is better for me and for other people to see."
With new projects and trips in the works, Magda doesn't show any signs of stopping. This summer, she's traveling to Australia to put up some fresh pieces. The crew has a book in the works that will show readers the tricks and tools they need to start their own crews. What's Magda's advices for aspiring knitters? "Follow your dreams!" she exclaims. "I am 35 years old and a mother of three. This project has made me feel like I can do anything. I think that what's happening to me is magical. I'm watching these dreams come true."
If you're not from the Houston area, take a look at Magda's boutique, Raye. For more Knitta photos and info, check their website. Thanks so much, Magda! Good luck with going pro.
"The time has come," the walrus said, "to get on a plane and get the hell out of here." Truer words were never said. I will miss you all while I'm gone, but don't fret! With 100+ archived posts, there's more than enough material to whet your appetites until I return. Check back on Monday, April 27, for a piping hot post and all the details of my trip. Have a great week and I'll be back soon!