I know. It isn’t the most gripping of titles and – for me – not the most usual of subjects, but hear me out.
Little know fact: I love knitting. I’m not very good at it (left hander who learned right handed) or very fast, but there is something gloriously zen-like in the way a couple of sticks and a long length of yarn can, tiny stitch by tiny stitch, create flowing garments, huggable toys and much warmth and comfort.
In a moment of whimsy, my mind went back to an odd little animation series my children used to watch in the 70s and 80s. Something about an eccentric couple called Noah and Nellie who sailed (or flew maybe, my memory of the details is sketchy) in an ark full of animals, encountering various characters who had intractable problems to solve. Every episode Nellie would listen to the problem, begin knitting and produce something wonderful which provided the ideal solution.
Ah, if only it were that easy…
Well as I said, I love knitting, so whenever I’ve found myself without a project to work on, I’ve used my oddments to make scarves and hats which were then handed out to the homeless and others going through hard times in the local community.
This year though, another thought came to me. Here in the UK, our gas supplies come in pipes from and through countries far to the East. For various reasons, the price has soared this year and heating costs have risen massively. Add to that the need to lower our energy consumption in order to cut CO2 emissions and we have two very good reasons to turn down the central heating by a few degrees.
The downside is that our homes will be colder this year and that – particularly for older people who are less active and staying at home all day – is a challenge.
In true Nellie style, I wondered how I could knit my way out of the problem. It didn’t take long to invent Kneckers – kind of muffler/ cowl/ neck warmers things that are very easy and quick to knit and (I’m wearing mine as I write this) really warm and cosy to wear around the house or under a coat collar when going out.
I asked our local community volunteer coordinator to put the word out for volunteer knitters, persuaded the owner of the lovely needlecrafts store in town to hand out free patterns and collect finished garments to be distributed to those who would benefit, and started knitting in earnest.
Happy to say we’ve now done several drops to local churches and volunteer groups who are able to reach those who need a bit of extra warmth this year. People are busy making fingerless gloves, hats, scarves and, of course, kneckers all over town and I’m super happy!
If you’d like to knit some for yourself and anyone who needs warming up in your local community, here’s a link to the pattern: Kneckers Pattern .
All I ask is that if you download and print it, you either make at least one to give away to someone who needs help keeping warm this winter, or you turn your own central heating down by half a degree to help care for the planet (or both!).