With temperatures dipping to below zero degrees Celsius, Kyoto experienced its coldest days yet this past weekend. And while it snows occasionally in Japan’s most beautiful of cities, rarely does it stick. Locals and visitors were in for a spectacular treat this weekend, as the low temperatures allowed for a heavier snowfall that blanketed the city’s world famous monuments.
Many folks commemorate their adventures with a kitschy souvenir, but not artist Sam Barsky. Rather than buying a t-shirt from a gift shop, he does one better—he brings his own hand-knit, postcard sweaters of the locales he’s visiting. In 2013, for instance, the Baltimore resident traveled across the pond to see places like Stonehenge and London’s Tower Bridge. To celebrate, he created garments that depicted each place. He then had his picture taken in front of them, all while wearing the sweaters. This meta move is unconventional, but it’s an endearing way to chronicle his travels.
Barsky has been knitting for 17 years, and he started when he was at a crossroads in life. “I have a learning disability and also a neurological disorder that makes me tired and weak at times,” he told The Yarn Loop. “In 1999 it forced me to leave nursing school—at first I didn’t know what I was going to do.” He learned the craft from 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!”
After first knitting two solid-colored sweaters, Barsky wanted more creativity in his garments. Unable to find something that suited him, he realized that he could “just try to knit a sweater without a pattern.” It was a success and launched Barsky on his long journey to illustrating natural wonders, bustling metropolises, and even creepy crawlers. Each sweater is completely unique—all told, he’s made almost 90 of them, with no plans to stop. We’re looking forward to seeing where his knitting takes him!