Carolyn M Barnett Designs

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Carolyn M. Barnett
Felted & Handloomed Knit Artwear
About the Artist

Though I studied fashion at Sheridan College, and learned much, I did not like the styles of the early '70's so I fulfilled another childhood dream and became a nursery school teacher. Got my Early Childhood Education dipoma at Mohawk College.

1982 saw the birth of Carolyn M. Barnett Designs when I decided to try marketing my 'homey' talents, I had a successful Summer with my cotton hand knits.

In 1984 I learned to operate a very basic domestic knitting machine to see if I could break my hand knitting bias. I progressed to using a more advanced machine the following year and discovered a new (to me) avenue of creation. Domestic knitting machines have been around for over 400 years.

I learned to knit as a child in England at a time when children were taught knitting in school. 'Woolies' have always been important in that damp climate where you're never more than 70 miles from the sea, but knitting became more than utilitarian in the early 1900's. I started with a pot holder for my Mum and a soft ball on which I learned increasing and deacreasing, then, as a teen I knit cardigans for myself in the '60's, however, after immigrating to Canada in 1966.

Early in the 1970's after much unsuccessful shopping I decided to knit my self the simple cardigan of quality woo I had been seeking. This lead to more for myself and for anyone who asked, at the cost of materials. I taught myself anything I hadn't learned in school or from my Mother.


Although I have spent many years focusing on custom garments I have enjoyed participating in theatre costume and commercial work. My styles now are more techincally refined (more sophisticated, buttonholes, banding, collars etc) and it takes longer to make one cardigan. Also, I devote a day every couple of weeks to making the buttons for the newest pieces, both custom orders and new stock. Working in polymer clay has opened up a new creative outlet and introduced me to more wonderful artisans as colleagues and friends.

Working in 100%wool and cotton and making my own funky buttons to complement the cardigans, my approach is simplicity of style witha lot of fun thrown in. Because the garments are made to last both stylewise and structurally, my wish is for the wearer to be able to pull my cardigans out of their closet for many seasons, just as I do.


The Artist's Mother early '60's

Early hand knit.

In the studio. or 613-545-5986