By Victoria Petersen
Inspired by her neighborhood of Spenard, Taylor Thompson is using social media and a pair of needles to create fun and functional Alaskan knitwear.
What began as a tool for relaxation in law school, knitting has since grown into a profitable hobby for Taylor.
“I’ve knit for years, and I started doing this in law school to de-stress,” Thompson said.
Growing since 2014, Turnagain Mud Co. sells locally-made knitwear. Hats, gloves and ‘fishy headbands’ are among their most popular selling items. The ‘fishy headbands’ were the first item Taylor sold and was inspired by her love, and Alaskan’s love for fishing
“My future brother in law was on the deadliest catch. He’s a commercial fisherman all year round. When I was in law school I was really broke and I decided I was going to knit everyone something for Christmas because I had no money,” Thompson said.
“I didn’t know what he would like, except for something with fish. So I created a salmon headband. I made one and everyone liked them so I started selling them and it’s evolved from there.”
Since then Taylor has created merchandise for Blue and Gold board shop, dog mushing teams and other local groups and businesses.
Many of Turnagain Mud Co.’s hats come with a real fur “poof” on top, giving the hat Alaskan flair.
“I take scraps from furriers who would otherwise just throw it away. I’m trying to up-cycle,” Thompson said.
Growing up in the same Spenardian neighborhood her dad grew up in, West side is close to Taylor’s heart.
“I loved growing up in Spenard. It’s so close to everything. If you can’t do it on the West Side then why do it?” Thompson said.
“I would go on runs over by the lagoon, and by runs I mean power walks. I would walk the coastal trail and those are the Turnagain mud flats so it really resonates because it’s here, in my neighborhood,” Thompson said.
Thompson jokes that she wants to become a knitting mogul, creating unique Alaskan designs and eventually producing her own yarn.
“If I could just knit all day it would be super fun. I want to make this my real job eventually,” Thompson said. “I want to get it to the point where I can hire local Alaskans to knit for me.”
Currently Taylor designs, knits and runs her entire business by herself.
Taylor, a recent graduate of law school is working for her dad in the family business. Taylor hopes to help young people, like herself, who want to start up new local businesses.
“I want to help young entrepreneurs start businesses, so get them set-up legally with all their contracts and paperwork and filing of LLC’s and stuff like that,” Thompson said.