Laura Lundy relaxes as she knits, a calm enveloping her as needle and yarn move together fluidly, blocking out the chaos created by active children and worries about bills stacking up.
Lundy, of Huntington Beach, is 34 years old, belying a common impression that only gray-haired women in rocking chairs knit.
“Knitters can be pretty misunderstood,” said Lundy, who learned how to knit a decade ago after taking classes with a friend on a whim.
Lundy’s appreciation for knitting — and knitters — led her to start Slipped Stitch Studios, which creates fashionable handmade bags for knitters, crocheters and other crafters to store the tools of their hobby. She sells them at slippedstitchstudios.com and on Etsy.com.
“When I make something for crafters, it’s like making something for myself,” she said.
Each bag — they come in six sizes and range in price from $28 to $135 — features cute designs, some of which include characters from the “Harry Potter,” “Disney” and “Doctor Who” franchises. Lundy also released special David Bowie and Prince collections earlier this year in honor of the singers. Bowie died in January and Prince in April.
The bags are allergen-free and feature pockets for storing items like yarn and needles, as well as removable yarn guides, which help users find where they last left off as they thread the yarn.
Because of the compartments, the items can also function as diaper bags, said Lundy, who previously worked for an accounting firm and has two young children.
Each bag, which is sewn and not knitted, can take around two hours to make with a sewing machine after the fabric patterns have been cut. Thousands are sold each year, Lundy estimated.
On a recent day, Lundy’s sister, Sarah Shouse, 29, cut pieces of fabric featuring Pokémon characters into squares of the same size at the business’ Huntington Beach office.
“We try to keep up with the trends,” said Shouse, who is a paid employee. “Pokémon is very big right now.”
Small batches and custom orders are produced in Surf City, while larger orders are sent to a Santa Ana factory.
Lundy, who has one other full-time employee, said a lot of effort goes into handmade items.
“If you buy a knit sweater at the store for $100, you’re totally underpaying,” she said. “Yarn alone can cost $100, then that’s 40 to 60 hours of work for somebody, if it’s handmade.”
She said she believes there’s been a resurgence in recent years in the demand for handmade items. Etsy.com, for instance, is an e-commerce website focused predominantly on handmade items that is popular with young online shoppers.
“I hope what’s drawing people to [handmade items] is the fact that we’ve gotten so detached from the person that’s making something to the person that’s actually selling it,” she said. “I think we’re moving forward. A lot of people are becoming more savvy of where they’re putting their money.”