In 2001, my husband and I moved from the Bay Area to the ski town of Truckee, California. All we knew was that we wanted to live in the mountains in order to be closer to things that we loved to do: skiing, hiking, biking, etc. We had absolutely no idea how we were going to make a living but figured that those were just details, right? As luck would have it, I love knitting too, and Truckee was in need of a yarn shop. With that inspiration, we opened Jimmy Beans Wool, our yarn and coffee shop (that soon became just a yarn shop) and quickly realized that our two passions (mine: knitting; his: skiing) were a lot more intertwined than we had imagined. In retrospect, it seems pretty obvious: people often knit when it's cold, AND skiers use warm gear since they're out in the cold!
We soon saw firsthand the relationship among knitting, knitwear, and winter sports. Athletes would continually come into the shop looking to make custom gear for themselves, whether to stand out with their own style on the hill or just to keep warm. And it wasn't just the recreational athletes who were knitting - the pros came in too!
Once we identified this relationship between snow sports and knitting, it only seemed natural that we'd eventually become a sponsor of US Snowboarding and Freeskiing, which we did in 2011 by combining our efforts with Red Heart Yarns.
It was through this sponsorship - and our years living in the mountains and skiing at one of the best hills in the world, Squaw Valley - that we were given the opportunity to meet multiple world class skiers and snowboarders. Meeting these pros got us to thinking... "What better way to show off this connection between knitwear and winter sports than through the stories of some of the best athletes in the world?!" And since these athletes are some of the most inspirational people in our lives, we figured what better way to celebrate them than to profile them in a book? And thus, Stitch Mountain was born.
I tested out the idea by asking a few of the athletes what they thought of a knitting book geared towards creating your own ski and snowboard gear and you know what? The response was overwhelmingly positive! In fact, when I approached Deb Armstrong and Edie Thys Morgan, both Olympians AND knitters!, with the idea, they couldn't believe that no one had written a book like this before. As it turned out, knitting was an integral part of their skiing and racing life (as Edie will tell you in her essay). Once we decided to move forward, we were amazed and surprised by how many of the athletes knit or crochet! Of course, not all of the athletes profiled in this book knit (and admittedly not all of them plan to learn), but every single one of them understands and appreciates the value of a good hat, scarf, and set of mittens.
So, for those out there who already knit - and those who want to learn - we invite you to share in the stories of these amazing athletes and to "Create Your Own Gear" !