His Beanies Have Warmed the Coolest Heads
Name: Bailey Goldberg
Hometown: Simi Valley, Calif.
Now Lives: In a one-bedroom apartment in Downtown Brooklyn, which he shares with his girlfriend and their rambunctious cat.
Claim to Fame: Mr. Goldberg is a textile artist and a flipper of vintage clothing who makes beanies that are coveted by the Dimes Square set. His knit caps have warmed the heads of the guitarist Tom Misch, the photographer Mordechai Rubinstein and the model Ella Emhoff, the stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris, among others.
Using thick wool-mohair yarn and a flatbed knitting machine he bought on eBay, he charges $80 to $100 per hat, depending on how intricate the pattern (mushrooms and camouflage are particularly difficult). His not-too-floppy, not-too-short beanies are “the perfect size to display something without it being super-obnoxious,” Mr. Goldberg said.
Big Break: Unemployed during the first coronavirus lockdown in 2020, Mr. Goldberg taught himself how to tuft rugs and began selling custom designs through Depop, including a welcome mat modeled after a MetroCard ($600). “I think people my age especially were starting to think about what their houses look like for the first time because they were stuck there,” he said. “And they’re like, ‘Well, I guess I want a custom rug.’” Mr. Goldberg switched to beanies after a friend was photographed wearing one of his creations by @watchingnewyork, a street style Instagram account. A rush of DMs followed. “I tried to keep up,” he said. “And then someone would message me again like, ‘Yo, it’s been five months!’”
Latest Project: Mr. Goldberg has moved beyond the “four and a half inches” on the front of a beanie, he said, to bigger canvases, including custom vests and crew neck sweaters. He particularly enjoys unusual requests. A gardener who works at a permaculture nonprofit recently commissioned a knitted tank top with a giant carrot rendered in five colors.
Next Thing: “I don’t like to plan things too much because it starts to feel almost contrived,” Mr. Goldberg said, though he hopes to offer “beanie drops” on his website in the near future. The limits imposed by making things by hand are part of what drew him to textile work. “If the beanie was made in a factory, I don’t think people would care the same way,” he said.
Loose Threads: Mr. Goldberg encourages everyone to take up knitting. “You really have to just dive in and go for it,” he said, before offering two notes of caution. “Give yourself time to really understand the process before challenging yourself too much,” he said. And if you have a cat around, give it plenty of stimulation before knitting. “I work from home so I can’t have him bugging me with yarn around.”