If you’ve been on TikTok or Instagram, you’ve probably seen Sam Barsky’s sweaters. His knitted designs, which range from Baltimore landmarks to the Twin Towers and international locations, have earned him over 251,000 followers and 9.2 million likes on TikTok, plus 229,000 followers on Instagram.

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I met with the Barsky at the Howard County Library branch in Columbia, where his knitting group meets. Here’s a shortened version of our conversation.

Baltimore Banner: What inspires your sweater designs?

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Sam Barsky: “Pretty much anything that crosses my eyes is a potential sweater.”

“I’ve lived in Baltimore most of my life. I was born in D.C.,” he said. Many of his sweaters depict Baltimore iconography, like the Washington Monument or an evening scene in Hampden. But the Pikesville resident also loves to travel with his wife, which inspires sweater designs like his Hollywood or Cape Cod/Norway sweaters. “I like being able to create pretty much anything I want,” he said.

How long have you been knitting?

“Almost 25 years,” he said. In total, he’s crafted 162 sweaters. “It’s the main thing I do with my life,” he said.

Do you sell them?

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“People ask me this all the time,” Barsky said. “No.” He doesn’t take commissioners, either, because the sweaters take so long to make — around a month each.

He does, however, have an Inner Harbor sweater on display at the American Visionary Art Museum. He also just entered his Washington Monument sweater into the Maryland State Fair.

You can also buy T-shirts with his sweater designs printed on them on his website.

When did you start posting online?

“I joined Facebook 12 years ago,” he said. “But I didn’t start posting online until several years later when I figured out how.”

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He started getting popular in early 2017. “I woke up one morning and found the mass media had picked up on some story of my viral post,” he said. Outlets such as NPR had profiled him.

What do people get wrong about Baltimore?

“Many people think that Baltimore is a very crime-ridden city,” Barsky said. “But I actually think it’s an excellent city. Many parks and trails, all kinds of scenery and terrain. There’s mountains nearby, there’s oceans nearby, lots of other major cities within a short drive.”

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