I opened last year’s attempt at this challenge. I lasted three days, but this write-up about how I started was just right.
Repeating that story does not do justice to anyone. Besides, there is so much more to starting a project without a plan, without funds, without any idea about how to make and sell.
This project began with this deep burning desire. The desire to spread and pass on the love of good, perfect knitting. I had watched people dismiss knitting as “something which old women do, while sitting in the sun and eating oranges in the winter sun”. I have heard people dismiss hand-knits as ” something which my mother/aunt/grandmother knit me, but its too bulky/ ill fitting/scratchy/old fashioned to wear anywhere”. I still smile at the memory of a young girl who sat down beside me on the Metro, tapped my knitting shoulder and said, “Aunty, do you know that you can buy sweaters at shops? There is a company, Monte Carlo, which makes things just like your knitting.”
In the hills too, where knitting is a routine activity, there was no concept of good craft work. Thick knots, mistakes aplenty, uneven seams–I could only see these things when so called ” good knitters” would show me their knitted garments. It was a universal perception–hand knitted sweaters are cheaper than the machine knitted ones in the shops, since there was nothing to pay for, except the yarn.
When a journalist came to Ranikhet to meet the knitters, their first reactions to meeting me made interesting reading..
“Srikanth was a divorcee, retired doctor, ex-military, single mother of two daughters – and wore jeans. In this northern Indian community, all of this was unfathomable. “
6 years to the day, and I am quite satisfied with what I started. Its not much, but there are 14 knitters who share my love for perfection in their knitting.
Here they are, checking each other’s work, ripping out the mistakes, laughing over gauge issues, and drinking perfect tea.