OK. So you got me. It’s crochet, not knitting. But I did try – honest! It was amazing how quickly it all came back to me once I was shown how. I casted on, I purled, I increased, I reduced. But I had tension trouble so abandoned the new for the tried and true, and returned to crocheting for my first-ever peice of textile graffiti.
This one is a tribute to my grandmother, whose birthday it is today. In the end, it was only appropriate for the grafiti to be crocheted because Nana taught me how. I can’t remember how old I was – must’ve been about 10 – but along with my Mum, Nana shared with me her love for creating things from wool. We started from scratch, living on a farm. We’d shear the sheep, wash and prepare the wool, card it all by hand then spend cold winter days and evenings spinning. Nana would come up from Auckland and help out, bringing wool she had spun ready to dye. Then we’d knit, weave and crochet a variety of creations from the result.
One dreary, drizzly Auckland winter weekend Nana and I were part of the ‘historical’ display at Motat – a sort-of historical theme-park. We sat in a colonial cottage spinning away, much like women had done centuries before, working to clothe themselves and their families. I don’t remember much of that day accept it was cold and the visiting children stared at me, no doubt wondering what on earth I found interesting about pumping my foot and twisting wool. If they had asked me I would have told them. I loved the bobbing rhythym of my foot going up and down on the peddle, the whirring wheel winding round and round, and the backwards and forwards motion of my hand, guiding the wool as it twisted into yarn. Time drifted by and all too soon Nana and I were bundling off home for a cup of tea. (Nana also introduced me to tea.)
The weather for my first go at knit-graffiti was much like that of our day at Motat, but with that wonderful Wellington speciality of gale-force notherlies. Luckily I did not get blown off my stool as I seamed my cosy, crocheted collar to the bus-stop sign. I just hope my stiching was strong enough to withstand the whipping wind.
So, Nana, there is a birthday tribute to you at a bus-stop in Wellington. Hopefully it will make some people smile as they wait impatiently for the bus on Monday morning. Even better, it might inspire other once-were crocheters and knitters to pull out their utensils and make something. Just like you did for me. You gave me a gift that gives me immense pleasure and has a great practical use. Getting back into it and sharing it with others is my birthday gift to you.