Knit & yarn group – Susan and Karla

“I’ve been knitting for 55 years. When grandmother taught me to knit she started with a fairisle jersey!

I have a lot of knitting tee-shirts. One of them is: ‘knitting is a bit like the mafia. You know too much so you can’t get out of it. And you can’t get out of it because you know too much!’

We are all working on shawls at this end. Sometimes we just bring our knitting for a drive!

Knitting; it’s like code to a lot of people.

I had to do computer coding at polytech and I was having so much trouble with it, because it just didn’t speak to me. Well, I was sitting there knitting in the class while the teacher was giving a lecture. And he just came up to me and he says; Susan, have you got a pattern for that? Yes. Can I see it? Yes. ‘What the hell does that say?’ – those were his exact words, ‘what the hell does that say?’ So I told him. And he said, Well, you know, that’s like programming code. And that was a light bulb, if I could translate it into knitting terminology I could do it. I did my end of semester project on that and how similar it was and I got a pass.

I fool a lot of people –I’ve been short-sighted, but after my stroke 20 years ago, I lost all my peripheral and a lot more of my distance vision.

It does bring a lot of people together. We’re all different. We all have different stories, different backgrounds. And yet we’re all the same. You share an interest.”

– Susan

“I was lucky enough to find these lovely ladies about five years ago. One day when I wandered into the library and from the get-go, they were ‘come join us!’ We come every week for our mental health.

We talk about all sorts of stuff; the weather, politics, kids. Sometimes we might get our knitting out and put it on the table, and other days we get lots done, but it’s all about community. A lovely bunch of ladies; I’ve been very fortunate to have been befriended by them all.

I’ve been knitting since I was… actually, I was quite late compared to some ladies. I think I was about 14. Some of those ladies were as young as six – their grandmothers taught them.

My mother tried to teach me, but she told me I was horrible. Because I’m dyslexic I had a lot of trouble trying to understand. Then a friend of mine in high school got pregnant and I decided that I was going to knit something for this bloomin’ impending baby. So, I found one of mum’s patterns, found a set of her needles, and got myself some wool and just did it. It just clicked. All those years she’d been trying to teach me I was obviously absorbing something. I just needed something to make the lightbulb go on.
But it doesn’t matter what we’re doing; there’s a lot of charity knitting that gets done, there’s teddy-bears being knitted for the hospital kid’s wards. We all do different things. But everybody’s doing what’s important to them.

I had to stop working just over a year ago, because of my health. I have two days a week that I can get out. It’s so important to me because otherwise I’m stuck at home on a hospital bed all day. And it’s like, because my brain is still there, still working… well, as well as it ever did! But my body’s ‘fucked’. So it’s important for me to come out and know that I’m not alone.

We’re all so different. But we’re all the same. It’s our own little community. But we’re also very open, we’re welcoming to anybody. If you struggle, then we’ll help you if we can. Susan’s legally blind. If Susan loses a stitch she can’t see to pick it up; one of us will pick it up for her. So there’s always somebody that’s helping somebody.

And we’re always here for each other. I ended up in hospital at the end of last year for a couple of weeks with pneumonia. But the ladies were always checking up on me.”

– Karla

Charity registration number: CC57701