I like creating things; like baking, cooking, gardening and knitting all of which I learnt from family members. It keeps that link between the past and present. I don’t like to sit and do nothing.
The happiest thing I’ve ever knitted is a blanket for my granddaughter with sheep on it. Another sister showed me the pattern. She’s a mid-wife and goes in a lot of people’s houses so sees all these blankets and hand-knitted garments. It’s amazing what’s out there now.
Making my own patterns and working with unusual fibres is what excites me. I like textural design: being able to make a texture on the fabric as you’re knitting it, using things like tuck and slip; or it might be about hand manipulation or short row shaping to change the shape of the fabric.
The three of us would sit and knit together and you had this clack of needles going constantly. I used to sit at my mum’s or my grandmother’s feet, and they would scratch my back with their knitting needles.
There’s something about the Golden Hands patterns, reading them and thinking of the possibilities. The imagery was incredibly vibrant and it seemed exotic, with everyone having a lovely life.
I like to do things for a purpose, such as getting badges as a Brownie, so I asked to be shown how to knit and I made dishcloths. They’re not straightforward – it is more than knit and purl, you have to drop stitches to make the holes.
My daughter asked me to help her with a science project. I had to knit the digestive system for her. I did an oesophagus, stomach and small and large intestines. She wanted to be able to unravel it to show how long an intestine was.
I had a theme for my foundation show of ‘Miss Havisham’s shed’ as everything I’d dyed looked like old ladies underwear. They all looked frayed and tatty so I stopped knitting carefully and started knitting with abandon.
My first experience was with French knitting on bobbins with nails hammered into the top when I was about five. I used to use them as horses reins galloping around the playground
I’ve not done loads of knitting, but I have tried knitting a cushion cover, though I’ve not finished it yet