Drift Knitwear opened over Labor Day weekend on the 4th floor, bringing quality knitwear and crocheted items into the mix of independently owned shops at Mill No. 5. Owner Darcy Babers began her business in 2016, selling knitted and crocheted items at Boston’s South End Open Market, and in local Pottery Barn and West Elm retail stores as a pop-up vendor.
“I never thought I would have a retail store, but I was at the mill earlier this year and I just loved the way it felt, I loved the vibe of it. And I thought it would be cool to have a shop here.” The in-depth process of choosing partners within Mill No. 5 speaks to the quality of Darcy’s work and the lack of knit and crochet items within downtown Lowell.
Though she doesn’t remember how or why, several years ago Darcy had the idea to make a granny square blanket. She researched how to make a square on YouTube and from there she became inspired with patterns and designs on Instagram and Pinterest. “To this day I see things and I think, ‘Wow! I can totally make that’.” And then, she does. After making scarves and hats for the adults and kids in her family and friend group, her house began to fill up with finished products and yarn. That got her thinking that she should begin to sell her items. And as a result, Drift Knitwear began.
There is a difference between knitting and crocheting and some products are better suited to one over the other; however, Darcy enjoys both styles equally and produces items that work best for each style. In her shop, she has lots of choices for everyone because she creates her products to appeal to a wide audience. “Crocheting is back right now in bigger stores like Anthropologie, with sweaters and handbags and crocheted flowers on jeans. My 15-year-old daughter crotchets bikini tops and handbags. She will sit and watch Netflix and just crochet.”
For now, Darcy will be creating the items and working at the shop during open hours on the weekends. Her husband John, who helps her with finances and behind-the-scenes operations, will work in the shop when needed. In the future, she hopes to have DIY kits available with her original patterns, yarn and detailed instructions, so people can create something on their own. They will be able to stop into the shop if they have any questions which is an added advantage. She says that the community space on the 4th floor could be a great place to hold group knitting or crocheting classes. In her shop she currently sells her own items along with a small selection of tools such as stitch counters, cable needles and stitch markers.
The Drift Knitwear Etsy shop will remain open as Darcy believes in the culture of Etsy and finds it invaluable for networking and purchasing items from other makers. You can find her at https://www.etsy.com/shop/Driftknitwear.
Please stop by and welcome Darcy to the Mill No. 5 community.
Save the date for A Little Bazaar’s Fiber Fest on Saturday, September 25 for a whole day of everything knitted and crocheted.