When the Carolina Hurricanes hit the ice, they’re hardly the only people flying up and down the ice. The team’s mascot, Stormy, has his own accessories: scarves. Lots of them. That’s thanks to a man named Joseph Burkett, who has been creating hand-made knitwear for more than 30 years. In 2016, he started making custom NCHC (National Co-ed Hockey League) hockey scarves that are now sold by all seven league teams — as well as the Hurricanes — as official merchandise. If you’ve ever bought a branded scarf at an NHL game or online store, there’s a good chance you were supporting Mr. Burkett in one way or another. He is the man behind the scarves…
Meet Joseph Burkett, founder of Scarffeegee and lifelong knitter.
The first thing you should know about Joseph is that he is a man of many (knit) talents. He grew up in North Carolina, where he learned to knit from his grandmother from the age of 8. He went on to study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he earned both a BFA and an MFA in Fibrous and Gouache Textile Art. In addition to creating scarves for the Hurricanes and other teams in the NHL, Joe also designed the knitwear for the MFAXXN clothing brand — the first collection of which was released in fall 2018. The line features a combination of designs by Joe and his team. The garments are made with a special fabric that changes color when it touches water, and are designed to be multifunctional, and wearable in various settings and sports.
The handmade process behind a hockey scarf.
Knitting a scarf begins with knitting a loom — a frame in which you thread your yarn — to determine the density and length of the finished scarf. At this point, Joe and his team are already wearing the finished product, testing for comfort and fit as they go. Only then do they begin the process of knitting.
The benefits of custom team scarves.
Team scarves are a huge part of hockey culture, as many players — both current and retired — often wear them during games and on the ice. They’re a way for fans to show their support for their teams, and for players to show their personalities and style. There are no set rules about how, when, or where to wear them, so they have become a very personal fashion accessory. Custom team scarves are especially special because they allow fans to show their support for their teams and play a part in their identity and culture. For example, Carolina Hurricanes fans can “Keep Calm and CAROLINA Strong” with a custom team scarf. When you buy a custom scarf, you’re not just receiving a piece of clothing, you’re receiving a part of the memories that the team has created.
Lessons for knitters: What you can learn from Joseph.
One of the most important things we can learn from Joe and his team is their attention to detail. As knitters, it’s easy to become so focused on the knitting process, we lose sight of the final item. The team at Scarffeegee ensures their scarves are of the highest quality from start to finish. They also pay close attention to the needs of their customers. You can see this in their branded scarves and hats, as well as their MFAXXN clothing line.
Knitting is both a hobby and a craft. It’s something you can easily do on your own or with friends, and it doesn’t require a huge investment in supplies. That said, it’s important to remember that knitting is more than just string. It is an art, a science, and a way to let your creativity flow. When you knit, you’re creating something that not only looks amazing but is also useful. You can make things for yourself as well as friends and family. And by supporting other knitters, you can help to keep the craft alive.