Of loops, threads, and needles

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Known for her unique and intricate
hand-knitted home décor and accessories, Reena Bino under her banner Nivita Knits, is gearing up for the festive season with her latest Christmas collection

Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ

Reena Bino first picked up the knitting needles at the age of eight. Since then knitting has been part of her life for the last 39 years. It’s not just a means of earning, but is an art that adds meaning to her life and provides an outlet for her creative mind.

“The clicking sound of stainless steel needles has a complete healing effect on me,” says Bino. “The process is therapeutic, addictive, and calming.”

Having first learned the art from her mother Maya Naik, Bino today continues on the journey of learning new stitches, trying new things and writing new patterns.

Working with a set of five to eight double pointed needles with cotton thread, each individual pattern, she says, has its own persona.

But finding a platform to showcase her work in the beginning was a challenge. “I had taken part in online contests where my work was appreciated but there was no particular platform where I could showcase my work,” she recalls.

But Bino did not lose heart and went on to launch her own platform Nivita Knits (‘Nivita’ means ‘creative’) to showcase her knitting to the world and connect with other creative people. In 2017 she left her job in the pharma sector to concentrate fully on her creative business.

Calling her brand a ‘one-woman-show’, from writing the patterns, designing, knitting, packaging and handling social media handles, she does it all. Her hand-knitted works range from doilies (table mats), doily baskets for table décor/ wedding décor, earrings, wall décor / dreamcatchers, appliques for clothings, baby booties and barefoot sandals. Cushion covers and doily frames are also some interesting works that are larger in size.

Bino who loves working on new designs has over 200 lace patterns created for different products. And her designs are largely inspired by nature. “I like leaves a lot. I think they represent new growth and opportunities,” she says.

While she often showcases her work on online platforms and pop-up markets, these come with its own set of challenges, the foremost of which is finding a market for such handmade products. “If I calculate the costing of my products in terms of work hours then the cost would run into a few thousand rupees for bigger size hand-knitted pieces,” she says. But she finds all kinds of customers. There are those who want exquisitely unique pieces but bargain on the price, and some who like her products but don’t purchase it because it isn’t a big business brand, although they don’t think twice about purchasing products like these from a big brand stores even if they have to pay thrice the amount.

“There are stores that don’t want to display my products because it’s not from a big brand name. They judge the product and unfortunately not the creativity which is not the case with online platforms,” she says. At exhibitions, she admits, people don’t want to share a table with her because her surname is non-Goan, or they fear competition.

Bino also has a major issue with plagiarism. “It hurts me badly when people immediately copy unique and creative ideas without giving any credit to the original creator,” she says, adding that she does most of her sales through her phone, or through initiatives like Belle Berry which make and curate handmade products.

But, she still considers herself to be pretty blessed to have clients from across the globe (Finland, Kuwait, Dubai, UK, US, Thailand and Australia), who can’t stop admiring her work. “They realise the hardwork, patience, time, determination, energy and the creativity that goes into making a single piece,” she tells us adding that they keep a watch out for her new designs.

In fact, one of her biggest projects so far has been a tie-up with the late Wendell Rodricks. “Through a mutual friend I got the opportunity of introducing my work to late Wendell Sir in 2019 who liked the fine lace work and the 3D bells,” she reveals. Bino then worked with his prodigy, creative head, Schulen Fernandes to make hand-knitted pieces as per designs required for a fashion show. These were showcased for the ‘Ambeanni’ Collection, Wendell Rodricks’ last Memoir in Fashion (Feb, 22, 2020) at the Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour in collaboration with the Fashion Design Council of India.

It was an extremely special collective of the late pioneering designer’s resort style minimalistic design ideology crafted in the early 90’s for India and inspired by its beach state of Goa.

“The most challenging pattern till date were the lace knitted earrings which were 16 inches in length in the shape of leaf done for The ‘Ambeanni’ Collection,” she says.

Another challenging work she did was two feet size doilies knitted to match the colours and designs of the seven chakras.

And now she is out with her new knitted Christmas décor after many a sleepless night. Her new Christmas décor includes 3D bells, angels, baubles, buntings, stars and snowflakes in various sizes.

“It is said that hardwork, patience and consistency equals to success. So I keep working hard with sincerity and honesty,” she says, adding that success then follows.

And before she gets back to work, she endorses the need to have more women entrepreneurs. “We all have hidden talents, one just needs to explore the talents hidden within. Always have a positive attitude, and trust the universe and make space
for beautiful things.”