Last weekend I went to the Unravel, Festival of Knitting in Farnham in Surrey. I’m an occasional crocheter (I used to do a lot more before I started writing novels) and am just about competent with a pair of knitting needles. I saw some amazing hand-crafted garments, beautiful wool and yarn in every possible shade and came home with lots of lovely ideas.
As you can tell it’s not actually a jumper at all but a community knitting project. Knitters are invited to join in and knit as much or as little as they like. There’s only two rules, you must use blue yarn and you have to knit directly onto the piece.
While I was adding my few rows there were a group of about six ladies doing the same. When we’d finished Sarah Filmer took our names so that she’s got a record of everyone who’s been involved and gave us a blue badge. So far over 700 people have knitted part of the Blue Jumper and it’s been to art exhibitions, festivals, care homes and community centres.
Sarah’s put together a little book about the project which includes copies of notes that knitters have written after they’ve worked on the jumper. Some of them are hugely moving as people tell how it got them knitting again after a bereavement or helped them make friends in a new area.
I was involved in a community knitting project last summer when I helped knit a bike (yes,really) to celebrate the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire. As the whole county went cycling mad it was fabulous to be involved in a small way in the celebrations and to help create something special that was displayed in one of the parks in York.
As we all know writing can be a lonely business. The Blue Jumper made me remember how important it is to do other creative things. So I’ve made a resolution to get out from behind my laptop and meet other people to chat about yarn and life. And who knows what incredible stories might come out of that?