Interview with Patricia Dioso of Pearadise Island
This month of our year-long MAL is sponsored by Pearadise Island, a one-woman crafting accessories business based in Ontario, Canada. Patricia Dioso hand-makes every element of her beautiful project bags and baskets from her home studio, and we chatted to her about how she started out, and her processes.
Hey Patricia! We always love to hear how someone started their knitting journey, can you tell us more?
It all began after my youngest child, Aaron, was born.
I always loved crafting ever since I was a child. My dad is a creative soul, always tinkering around the house, making his own decorations, and I was always watching curiously. I learned to sew at a young age. I always kept busy making simple dresses, toys, quilts and bags as gifts for my family. My youngest children are only 23 months apart, and all of a sudden found myself too busy changing diapers that I no longer had the time to sit at my machine. This is when I came across knitting through YouTube, I found knitting podcasts and was intrigued, so I asked my cousin to show me how to knit, and well, the rest is history! All of a sudden, I was able to craft again, this time no longer limited to a particular spot. I could pick up my needles on the couch, on the bed, at the park, and it filled me up with so much joy!
What's the story behind Pearadise Island, and how did you get started?
As an avid knitter and bag lover, I designed project bags to match my aesthetic keeping it simple yet stylish to let the true star of the show shine - the yarn! Established in 2017, Pearadise Island is a play on words of sentimental value:
When I was pregnant with Aaron, I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I had severe nausea that lasted the entire pregnancy. I couldn’t keep anything down- I was constantly sick. One day, my best friend, Matilda, came over and made me the simplest but most delicious comfort food - a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and pear. To my surprise, I was able to eat it without any issues and ever since then, I associate pears with her and our 30 years of friendship.
My husband has been my biggest supporter from day one. We grew up together, even share the same birthday. He is my home, and my inspiration every day. I’ll never forget the happiest day of our lives when we got married in paradise - Punta Cana, Dominican Republic surrounded by our closest family and friends.
We love that your bags are completely handmade, what makes them perfect for crafters?
My catalogue consists of minimally hand-printed designs in a variety of neutral colours. Without realising it at the time, they became a blank canvas for other creatives and local yarn stores to customise - incorporating their own artwork and logo, resulting in a unique, one of a kind bag.
Designed with an exterior zipper pocket for notions, it is the perfect accessory to carry your craft on the go!
What does a typical day look like for you?
My day starts at 5 am. I use this opportunity to have a few quiet moments to myself. A coffee and a little bit of journaling starts my day. I then respond to emails, write blog posts or create my newsletter.
By 7am, the house becomes alive! I prepare breakfast, the kid’s lunches, and get them ready for school.
At 9am, A new thing I’ve been mindfully trying to prioritise is self-care. Though never consistent, I do my best to squeeze in a quick workout. I found a YouTube channel with playlists of 10/15/30+ minute pilates, so I can pick the appropriate time depending on the day.
By 10am, I’m in the studio. Depending on my workload, I’m either cutting fabric, printing or sewing. Each bag is handmade by me in small batches. If it’s a shipping week, I package and fulfil each item myself. My most dreaded task is accounting!
12-1pm is lunch though sometimes I skip it and work right through, depending on how things are going in the studio.
At 3.30pm, I pick up the kids from school, prepare snacks for them then head back into the studio. Depending on the day of the week, we might be heading out again for extracurricular activities but my husband and I divide this task. Most days I’m working until 6.
Between 6-8pm, I cook dinner. Family time is sacred, and we love sitting down to eat together.
At 9-11pm, Depending on my workload, I head down to the studio again for a few hours before calling it a day. As the sole maker of a small business, there is always work to be done!
What's on your needles right now?
Knitting is on and off at the moment due to pain in my wrists. I think it’s the combination of the sewing and repetitive motion of knitting that causes the flare up so I have to be careful. I do have two sweaters on the needles: the Vargö pullover and the Gr8 Gingham Raglan. Also, socks, of course! I always have a pair on the go. I use my own pattern in most cases and I love knitting with self striping yarn.
What's next for Pearadise Island?
I have been wanting to expand beyond knitting accessories, and for the past couple of years have been learning how to sew with heavy duty materials on an industrial sewing machine. I have also been learning the art of leatherwork. I’m excited to offer a new line of bags made of premium materials and quality craftsmanship that if properly cared for should last a lifetime:
Premium Waxed Canvas
Waxed canvas is a strong, hard-wearing waterproof material resistant to tearing. Like full grain leather, waxed canvas appearance improves over time, making it a unique personal accessory. Scuffs, marks and creases create a rich patina that continues to develop with age.
Waxed canvas originated in the sailing industry in Scotland in the 1920s and became widely used in sportswear and apparel because of its waterproofing abilities and superb durability.
Premium Vegetable-Tanned Leather
After extensive research on materials, I discovered a tannery belonging to a consortium that guarantees sustainable production of vegetable-tanned leather made in Tuscany, Italy through its quality trademark: Pelle Conciata al Vegetale in Toscana.
No animal is killed for its skin. The raw hides used by the associated tanneries have been destined from the outset to the food sector, creating value from by-products already destined to the food industry, therefore reducing waste. I've included their sustainability manifesto on my website if people are interested in finding out more.
Thanks Patricia! Don't forget to enter our MAL before the end of December 2022 to be in with a chance of winning one of two Pearadise Island bags and make sure you're never without a project (or two) on the go!