Knitting – an unusually public affair

My first conscious memory of knitting is one of my granny, and of which I have shared before.  Then, my mother taught me to knit a year or so later, I think, so when, in year three at school, we were handed pink wool and knitting needles, I had an idea of what was coming.  That said, knitting at school was very different from knitting at home.  One could choose the projects.  I loathed knitting at school and am told that I actually spent most of my time knitting (or sewing) for my school mates.  That means that I learned to knit about 45 years ago, and knitted my way through university.  Like Granny, I can knit and read at the same time which helped me to stay awake while I read my way through an English Literature degree.

One of my most ambitious projects was a Christening shawl for my nephew, now 16.  Alas, only two very bad photos that lacy project.

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Over the last few years, I’ve done a bit more crochet work than knitting.

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Three projects: a lacy top and a couple of blankets.  The blankets “live” in our sitting room for those cold evenings when one needs to snuggle under something in front of the TV.

My mother could not crochet.  Perhaps, actually, she didn’t want to:  in the 70’s, granny square clothing and crochet bags were all the rage.  Mum didn’t approve and certainly wouldn’t approve of their return to fashion.  It was Aunty Doris who taught me to chrochet, in about 1973, and my first finished product was a pink and white shoulder bag, duly lined, made from two granny squares.

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10 or so years later she made the cake for my 21st birthday. Here we are with Mum

Until arthritis stopped Mum from knitting, she always had one or other project on the go, and when she died, she was knitting for her sister.  I inherited not only her knitting needles, but also all the wool she had in stock.  I still have some of it, and some is definitely not my taste.  So it was some of that wool that I took with me to this year’s Knit in Public, on Saturday afternoon.

About 30 of us collected on a sunny veranda at How Bazaar a local coffee and gift shop, to knit (or, in my case, crochet) scarves or squares that will be made into blankets for those who need them.

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KiP 2016 at How Bazaar, McGregor. Photo: Dani

Locals and visitors alike collected on the veranda.  A few confessed to not having knitted for years, and one young Dutch visitor learned how.  Those are her hands in the photograph on the top left.

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Photos: Dani

While some of us nattered and produced simple squares and scarves, others worked on their own, exquisitely complicated projects.

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On Saturday, 18 June, 2016, all over the world, women came together to have a natter and knit – which is what the initiative was intended to achieve. There were eight such gatherings in South Africa.  Funny to think that as we were knitting away, so was blog pal, Ruth, in Pennsylvania.

I came home inspired again and wishing I had more time and inclination to finish a crochet project – started a couple of years ago.  Who knows, perhaps I might.

About the photographs:

My photographs were all taken with my cell camera – I stupidly left my “proper” camera at home.  The others were taken by a much more proficient and talented photographer, whose other splendid photographs of this event, the village and other subjects, you will find here.

© Fiona’s Favourites 2016


15 thoughts on “Knitting – an unusually public affair

  1. Lovely post! I have been knitting for a couple of months now. I knit on the Underground and get odd looks-not too bothered. Am struggling with teaching myself how to crochet…with mixed results.

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    1. Thank you! As with all things, you need to persevere and get the basics right. To do that, do simple things first and jazz them up with different colours rather than complicated stitches. Now that blankets made with granny squares are “in” again, give that a go. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you, Jim, you are very kind. I think it’s as Gary Player used to say, paraphrased: the harder your practice, the better you get. It was quite a thing, realising that I’ve been knitting for nearly half a century!

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  2. Over the years, I’ve been taught to knit four or five times. I can still do knit and purl stitches, but I can’t for the life of me remember how to cast on. Guess any projects I have in mind will have to wait.
    And no, don’t offer to teach me. I think my brain doesn’t want to know! 🙂

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  3. This is really wonderful Fiona, my mother could knit and crotchet, i really regret that i never learned how. It is amazing that people met to celebrate and connect through sewing

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    1. It’s never too late to learn! You know it’s a wonderful way to unwind. In some ways, it’s a bit like meditation because you have to focus on what you’re doing, while your mind goes on its own journey. Good for mulling things over. Also, having grown up in a house where my mother constantly told me it was not OK to sit & do nothing…. I think she subscribed to the maxim that idle hands were the devil’s playground… Anyhow, I do get quite a sense of accomplishment when I finish a project…

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      1. I’m sure that if you start looking, you’ll find someone – fabric and yarn shops are a good place to start. Failing that: Google and You Tube? Good luck!

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