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Photo: Nick Weekes.

Knitting for change

‘Knitting for Change’ is a concept brought to life in the form of a knitted graffiti wall. The project, which was supported by Hastings Borough Council, is currently on display at Hastings Museum on Bohemia Road. The wall is made from donated wool and recycled knitted garments. The knitted installation was led by a mother/daughter collaboration, as the mother, Linda Moffatt, explains.

Knitting has always been an important part of my life and I’ve turned out a vast array of knitted items in my time, from the lemon cardigan I knitted at the age of 10 (in school, would you believe!) to the baby nest I knitted for my new grandson. In between there have been jumpers, cardigans, cushions, bags and toys, so although I’ve always thought of myself as an amateur, I still felt I had seen it all and done most of it, with regards to knitting.

I couldn’t have been more mistaken!  The daughter in the said partnership is not particularly interested in following other people’s patterns. Her wont is to use knitting in a more individual way and somehow she has managed to encourage her mother to think ‘outside the box’ too.

Photo: Janey Moffatt.

Knitting For Change proved to be an apt title and certainly changed me and my preconceptions. I had always been a ‘lone’ knitter and had never thought about the possibilities of knitting bringing people together. The knitted graffiti wall achieved much more than the bringing together of strangers – it had a profound impact on many who participated. One girl shared her knowledge of the suffragette movement with us and my daughter and I are planning to support her in a related project.

Then there was Bettie and her mother, who later sent an email saying, “Bettie and I just wanted to thank you for the very special time we shared, knitting and sewing alongside you, your mother and Fiona; we both left feeling very calm and happy and have talked about the experience a lot all week! You managed to create a truly lovely feeling – and we really enjoyed being able to participate as equals – Bet wasn’t tagging along with me and I wasn’t going along simply as the supportive mum! Thank you!’

Bettie is now planning on making her own knitted wall for her bedroom.

One of the messages on the wall at the museum simply says ‘Thanx Mum’. This was conceived by a lady who had instinctively come along with some of her deceased mother’s knitting and appreciated being able to talk about her mother and incorporate her knitting into the graffiti wall. There were tears in more than one person’s eyes.

Photo: Janey Moffatt.

Making the wall also provided an opportunity for children to be inspired by knitting.  One boy knitted with needles for the first time and other children learned how to do finger-knitting in a relaxed and informal setting.

I love the finished wall. The messages, in the main, are about uniting people and that’s exactly what the wall did. It provided a wonderful opportunity for people to bond and leave behind a record of their experience.

 

Knitting For Change Knitted graffiti wall at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, John’s Place, Bohemia Road, Hastings, until end October.

Further events are planned, Janey Moffatt tells HOT. On Saturday 31 August the Knitting for Change team will be knitting an 8-foot-square net for Parrabbola Arts on the Stade and also holding a craft and animation drop-in in Alexandra Park – both events are participatory.

In October, with the help of funding from East Sussex County Council, they will be starting a project to roll out craft and animation workshops to adults with mental health conditions across East Sussex.

In December Janey will be going to Afghanistan with peace group Creative Voices for Non Violence to do filming with women, particularly around the area of maternity.
She can be contacted at: janey@toasterproductions.co.uk

Posted 16:07 Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 In: Community Arts

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