Did you grow up hearing the sound of your Mum or Grandma’s knitting needles going clickety clack at 100 miles an hour? Chances are that they were knitting baby booties or a baby jacket for a precious little someone, yet to enter the great big world. I have memories of bags of very fine wool and thin tortoise shell knitting needles sitting beside Mum’s lounge chair, waiting for her to sit at night and knit row after row. She did have a row counter on the end of one needle, but now that I think about it, how did she remember to turn that row counter over at the end of each row – I’m sure I’d forget to do that! I also remember sheets of scrap paper with rows marked out and crossed off, so maybe the row counter didn’t work so well for Mum, after all! It always amazed me how both Mum and the Grandmas could watch television, drink tea, catch us playing up and still keep the knit one, purl one rhythm flowing! How did they do that? As a knitter myself now, I can watch the telly and knit or crochet but still marvel at the multi-skilling that Mum was capable of!
Isn’t it great to see that both knitting and crocheting are becoming popular again? A walk through Lincraft or Spotlight’s wool section always leaves me itching to pick up those needles again and start creating. This is where my trouble begins! I’m afraid I’m one of those people who starts many terrific projects but struggles to see them finished! I have a lovely crocheted rug almost finished but just can’t seem to get that last little bit done – maybe this will be the winter (the fifth winter) that sees me finally showing off a completed masterpiece!
I was going to say that knitting and crocheting have come a long way since Mum’s day but on reflection I think maybe I just have a better appreciation of these skills now. Whilst old patterns are now trendy again, there have been a couple of significant changes over the years. Certainly the variety of wool is so much better, with really amazing textures being available to us all, not just the home spinners. I also love the range of colours we can now choose from! Beautiful bold colours, earthy natural tones, autumn colours, variegated strands and the ever popular pastels are all on display, looking like one big, beautiful rainbow! Still, the 5 ply Paton’s baby wool in white, mint green, pale lemon, pink and blue sit prettily on the shelves, ready for the next baby booties, bonnet or jacket to be created. I don’t know about you, but I saw many white, lemon and mint green baby garments created at home. These were always the popular colours because back then you didn’t have any idea of the sex of the baby until it was born.
Our bedrooms and lounge chairs were often brightened up by Mum’s latest crocheted rugs or cushions, in fact these days those same creations are very fashionable again! Recently a friend of mine was admiring an old crocheted rug that Mum had made and was keen to get hold of the pattern. As they say, everything old is new again!
For those of you into the creative yarn scene, I’d like to tell you about a festival that is about to take place in Warwick, a lovely country town in the Granite Belt area of Queensland. It is the Jumpers and Jazz in July festival, running from the 17th to the 27th of July. There are many fabulous events in this festival’s program but two of these may be of special interest to you. They both involve a thing called yarn-bombing, which is basically creating colourful displays of artwork (often street art) using knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre.
Firstly, there’s the tree jumpers competition, for which the festival is well-known. Participants register a tree in the CBD area of the town and then get busy creating a jumper for their tree. The theme for the competition this year is “Zen”, which should produce some very interesting entries! Can you imagine the CBD of a town showcasing 120 trees (yes, that’s every tree in the CBD!) each sporting a new jumper? And every year each tree has a new jumper – there’s no second hand rose in this competition! This is yarn-bombing at it’s best. But it’s not just the trees that are being yarn-bombed. Kids are also encouraged to get into the action, yarn-bombing their push bikes and then entering the parade.
The second event that makes me want to get to this festival is something called the “Knitchen”. What is a Knitchen? You may well ask! The Warwick Art Gallery is hosting this display of a full kitchen, where everything has been yarn-bombed! And I mean everything – the kitchen sink, the chairs, the Vegemite, cake tins, tomato sauce bottle, sugar bowl (complete with knitted ants!), telephone, canisters – and believe it or not, a roast chicken! Even the flying ducks on the wall have been knitted – and the black and white floor tiles! The colours are bright and cheerful and so eye-catching that I think my camera will be working overtime if I get there!
All the details of the 10 day Jumpers and Jazz in July festival can be found on the website click here. Head to Warwick for this fabulous festival and see the magic of yarn-bombing first hand. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to get out those knitting needles and crochet hooks again!
Now all this talk about knitting and crocheting has, indeed, inspired me to drag out that crocheted rug project, or maybe that scarf I started last year and didn’t quite get finished… Click clack, click clack…
Are you into knitting and crocheting? What do you enjoy making? Will you be heading to the Jumpers and Jazz festival this year? Tell us in the comments below…