When I moved to California from Brazil for my husband’s job, I knew there would be challenges. But I never imagined that the answer to many of them would come from a pair of needles.
It all started with a gesture of kindness — a crochet hook and a small ball of yarn — that my sister-in-law gave me after I admired a bag she was making. Three years later, I’ve found not only a creative passion, but maybe even a path to a career.
The Day I Got Hooked
Having left all my friends, family and business clients (I was a hair and makeup artist in Brazil), I was pretty lonely in California. I won’t lie, spending day after day alone, I began to feel depressed. As I cleaned my apartment one day, I stumbled on that crochet hook sitting there neglected.
I thought, “why not? I’ll give it a try.” And once I got started playing with yarn, I literally never stopped. One thing led to another and I got curious about knitting, too. Before long, I picked up a pair of needles and cast my first stitch.
I could literally feel my heart beating stronger. I am not exaggerating when I say that discovering knitting was the best thing that has happened in my life here in the States.
Lost in Translation
I came to California speaking very little English, so learning how to knit also meant learning a new language. I pored over books and instructional videos, mostly from Craftsy (classes from Myra Wood and Ragga Eiriksdottir are some of my favorites!). As the weeks passed, my English got better and better, along with my knitting skills.
One of the most amazing things is how knitting has connected me not just to my own creativity, but to other people. There’s an enormous fashion and makers community online, and that world has become a really important part of my life.
I started a knitting and fashion blog, where I share my designs and post instructional videos. I also have a Facebook page, two YouTube channels (one in Portuguese and one in English) and about 6,000 Instagram followers. I absolutely love sharing my many passions — knitting, hiking, design, travel and photography — with the world.
I take an English-language class, and at first I was surprised when my teacher told me I should apply to college. I’m quite shy, so I didn’t think college was a realistic choice for me. But today I see that differently. In addition to so much joy, knitting has given me something even harder to find: confidence.
I’ve realized that with only my own creativity and curiosity to guide me, I’ve learned how to make beautiful things. And when I look at the clothes I’ve made, I’m very proud.
Now I do want to go to college and earn a degree in fashion — maybe in San Francisco. I’m not sure whether I’d want to open my own business selling my designs, or go to work for a brand designing patterns. But I’m only 28, so luckily I have time to figure that out!Photos by Damylles Kopper / @moda_vessa.