11 November 2011
I learnt how to finger knit a couple of weeks ago when I volunteered at a Craft Club event at the V&A. It's part of the initiative to promote knitting and other crafts in schools. It's good fun, but quite exhausting - if you turn your back for a minute little fingers seem to knot the yarn in an instant and you have to start all over again. For my part I feel a bit of a fraud though. I'm not much of knitter, though I know the basics, and so I work on the basis that I'm bound to know more than the average infant. I've got away with it so far. Then this week we agreed to teach some finger knitting at a local community centre where my friend Elizabeth occasionally runs little crafting sessions with a group of local Bangladeshi women with me as the sidekick. (By the way, Elizabeth is a great teacher. Her instructions are full of delightful similes and metaphors - "Take the yarn off your hand, hold it in the plam of your hand like it's a baby. place your baby down ..." And she can do that gimlet eye thing too and get instant attention. ) So we turn up and do the finger-knitting thing, and we're having a laugh and so on, and I turn round and one of the women is suddenly doing extra loops round her fingers and making much more elaborate strands than the others. "Oh I love to crochet and knit" she says "I learnt by watching one of the women in my village when I was a child, and I really wanted to learn properly but my mother said if I was going to crochet, then she would take me out of school. So I carried on at school. But I secretly carried on with the crochet too - I just made myself a hook out of a nail"
That's right. A nail.
I was well and truly humbled. And rumbled come to that.