Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Knitting with my grandmothers.

So I'm still not hooping, and I miss it. A lot. Several times a day I go to take my hoop off the wall, and then I remember.

I tried hooping for five minutes during the weekend and was forced to stop because of the pain in my back, shoulders, neck and arms. I've unfollowed many of my hooping friends on Instagram and Facebook because it's too hurtful to see what I'm missing out on. It makes me sad that at the next gathering of the New Zealand hoop community I might not be there.

But I'm enjoying walking {when the weather isn't too bad; it is the middle of winter right now!}. And I'm grateful that not long before I had to stop hooping I discovered another creative outlet: knitting.

How does someone with RSI so bad she can't hula hoop and can barely hold a pen, manage to knit? I don't know! I'm careful to not do it for too long, and I use small, flexible needles which I think makes a big difference. But it really doesn't seem to cause me any pain at all.

I come from a family of talented knitters. My sister, my mum, my grandmothers, and probably my great-grandmothers too, could/can all knit well. My paternal grandmother knit every item of clothing for her five boys during World War II, knitting sleeves of jerseys from the shoulders down so that they could be unravelled and knit longer as the boys grew.

I never showed promise as a knitter. I was clumsy with my needles and probably frustrated my mother - who taught me to knit when I was about five - by doing stupid things like slipping the stitches from one needle to the other without knitting them. My first knitted item was a dolls' scarf but it wasn't much good - it started with 10 stitches and ended with 35. I was slightly more dedicated as a teenager, but once I left home I never picked up my needles again, except for a brief, fruitless attempt in 2009.

I can't say why I decided to start knitting again. I work across the road from a woolshop and one day, when I was walking past, I suddenly went in, bought a ball of red double-knit wool and a pair of 4mm needles and began knitting that night. I've been hooked ever since.

I've even joined a knitting group. We meet every Saturday afternoon at a local cafe, a really diverse bunch of women joined by a mutual love of knitting. I love these two hours of time each week to do nothing but knit, chat and drink tea.

When I knit I'm reminded of my mother and my sister. I never really knew my grandmothers - I met them both, once, when I was seven - and my great-grandmothers had all died well before I was born; but when I knit I feel a sense of connection with these women. I'd like to think I've inherited just a little of their talent.

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