PetiteKnit is a Nordic knitting star – with over 700,000 Instagram followers
Everyone wants in on the knitting trend and Danish Mette Wendelboe Okkels (34) is the absolute rock star of the yarn world. She is taking it all in her stride and remains focused on the creative process!
Laughing and with the wind blowing in their hair, two children hold each other in a field. A blue-eyed girl in a pink knitted sweater and her big brother in a green one.
On the next photo, a model in a bright red Weekend Hat offering protection against the autumn chill is popping open a bottle of champagne on a beach.
The pictures we're talking about are by Mette Wendelboe Okkels, best known as PetiteKnit, and are posted on her Instagram account.
With her 773,000 followers, she inspires people in the Nordic region and beyond to learn to knit or feel inspired to start a new project.
In addition, she gives us a sense that each season is genuinely unique and delightful.
Dropped out of medical school and went all in
Danish Mette has mentioned it in interviews before – she was one year away from being a fully qualified doctor when she dropped out of her studies and chose to focus entirely on knitting. Today, she lives with her husband and five children in Risskov, just outside Aarhus, Denmark.
"It wasn't any one individual thing that made me go all in on this, but rather the sum of many things. The summer after I had taken parental leave with my third child, and was about to return to medical school, I found myself at a crossroads. I would have lost my right to continue the course if I didn't go back to university. By then, I already had my first employee, so it wasn't that I hadn't committed to PetiteKnit before, but that was when I went all in on becoming self-employed," she explains.
Many people dream of starting their own business — going all in — but few dare to go through with it. It was a significant decision for Mette, of course, but a little less scary since creativity has always been a part of her life.
"I was a very creative child. I knitted, drew, and sewed. I sewed my own confirmation dress with a family friend, and when there was theatre at school, I sewed a ball gown as one of the costumes."
Creativity quickly became part of Mette's identity. She always had an exciting project on the go, and her family supported her.
"It was my grandmothers who taught me to knit, but otherwise, I was independent and could start my own things and entertain myself for hours."
Never goes out without yarn
Mette could have ended up doing many things but ended up choosing knitting and PetiteKnit.
"It's probably because knitting is something you can always bring with you, no matter where you're going or if you only have five minutes, you can take out your knitting and knit a few rows."
"It has become a part of who I am; I never leave the house without yarn in my bag," says Mette, adding:
"The process of knitting is both inspiring and relaxing, and when I have the needles in my hands, I get ideas for techniques and how I can utilise the craft."
"I also enjoy the presentation of knitting, having to explain how to go from one step to the next, grading and calculating. It's an intellectual challenge for me," she says.
A humble knitting star
PetiteKnit's knitting patterns are published in German, Swedish, Norwegian, English, and, of course, Danish. Although she was already well-known before the pandemic, the knitting trend truly exploded when everyone spent much more time at home. Today, everyone wants to knit, and it's not uncommon to see both children and adults wearing PetiteKnit sweaters.
Classic striped sweaters, a thick turtleneck perfect after a swim in the sea, a Teddy Clutch under the arm for a night out with friends, or a fluffy balaclava on a baby in a pram. Her designs are everywhere. However, the knitting phenomenon herself remains cool and collected:
"I'm very humble and grateful that so many people want to follow and be inspired by me. But it's best not to dwell too much on those who follow me, as it can quickly disrupt the creative process. It then becomes harder to feel what truly inspires me and what I genuinely want to do."
If you're heading to Denmark, remember to pack some yarn in your bag and enjoy a coffee and a vanilla bun at a café.