Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Meet A Canadian Designer: Leanne Dyck by Leanne Dyck

This article was published in Knit Together:  the quarterly publication of Canadian Guild of Knitters (February 2003).
Owner/Editor Cynthia MacDougall

I was born and raised in an agricultural in Manitoba's Interlake region. Eriksdale is where my love affair with knitting began--at my Grandma Olafson's side. Turning straw into gold was a spell my Grandma knew well. Her needles and love kept every member of her family warm from husband to children to grandchildren.

My early attempts to master knitting were frustrating. Thankfully Grandma was always there with supportive words and soon I was showing some signs of improvement. I later joined 4-H and won awards for my knitting. In my teens, I began playing with sweater design. 

I spent fourteen happy years as an Early Childhood Educator (ECE), working in rural Manitoba and later moving to Winnipeg. Eventually my husband and I moved to Greater Vancouver. Here I continued my work as an ECE and enrolled in the Open Learning Agency. My goal was to earn a degree in Social Work. ECEs are skilled at stretching the day care centre's budget. I did my part by designing and crafting toys much to the delight of the children in my care. 

In 1998, my mom (Olavia) began to lose her battle with breast cancer. I went back to Manitoba to be at her side. During this time I realized that I could no longer live in urban BC nor work with people. I simply had no more to give: I was tapped out. It was also during this time that I shared with my mom my dream of running my own business. As always, she listened closely and encouraged me to visualize my dream. It was a stressful time, so to help me cope I turned to an old friend--knitting.

Shortly after Mom passed away my husband and I moved to a beautiful island in the pacific. Mayne Island was where I opened and ran Olavia's Craft Supply. Situated between Vancouver Island and the mainland, Mayne Island is a great tourist destination. Its natural beauty inspires creativity.

Soon I was designing and knitting sweaters which were very positively received. Although Mayne Island's population swells in the summer, many a business suffers when things return to normal. Mine was no different and after two years, I was forced to close my store. What would I do now?

Knitting had always been my passion. Why not make it my future? On August 20, 2002 my hand-knitting design website went live. 

Leanne Dyck is a creative knitter and writer whose designs are innovative and fun. Ed.