Emmi and Biddy are an Auckland-based knitting mother and daughter pair. They share their story with Womenclan.
How did Biddy Knits begin?
Biddy Knits began on a family holiday at the end of last year. I had decided to get into knitting as I found it very calming but at that stage was just knitting little face cloths. I really wanted a vest and I asked if Mum knew how to knit one as she’s been knitting since she was five. She grew up in Kaipara Flats on the farm with five siblings, and my Grandfather taught her how to knit. He's in his 90s now and still going strong!
She said “I can knit anything!’ So she whipped up a vest, making it up as she went along (she prefers to do that than following a pattern sometimes). I was blown away at her speediness and skill. I told her that she should make more and I could help her sell them - she is very clever but not very good at selling her creations and usually just gives them away.
So Biddy Knits was born! I’m in charge of knitting what we call the ‘Iddy Biddy’ knits - the Kerchiefs, Everyday Cloths and the La Riata necklaces, and managing the Instagram and orders. My mum sits on her land, watches her horses and knits all the beautiful vests like a whizz! My best friend Pippy McClenaghan assists with the styling, photography and modelling for the Instagram. She also co-owns the shop, Monty’s, through which she has kindly sold the knits on our behalf as well.
Where did the name come from?
Mum’s name is Elizabeth but she mostly gets called Bid or Biddy - hence the name. She is a bit of a cowgirl at heart so that inspired the overall aesthetic of our brand. She is a mosaic artist and painter so knitting is just another medium for her to play with colour, shape and design.
She’s living on a bare piece of land at the moment in a tent while waiting for her yurt (a Mongolian roundhouse) to be built that she will live in! So it's her and her partner Fritz living in tents on their land, surrounded by her horses while she knits. We had started to feel like we were spending too much time on our phones so Biddy Knits has been the best protest against that (Mum was addicted to playing Puppy Town haha). I have just moved from Wellington to be nearer to family north of Auckland in the Kaipara Hills. Now that I am closer, Mum is currently teaching me how to knit the vests too so I can help her keep up with orders. It’s much easier being taught in person, but we did manage to invent the pattern for the Kerchiefs over FaceTime, prior to me moving, which was rather tricky but so fun once we cracked it!
It has been very inspiring and motivating to have received so much support for NZ-made, slow fashion. There is something so precious about receiving and being a maker of hand-made goods created with care and love.
How has it changed your relationship?
Biddy Knits has been really healing for my mum and I, as last year we were a bit disconnected. It has become a beautiful thing that has united us in a time where our relationship had its challenges. As cheesy as it sounds we are super grateful that Biddy Knits stitched us back together!
Find Biddy Knits: @biddy.knits