As I child, all I wanted for christmas, birthdays, and other special occasions was a new sweater knit by my grandmother Stephanie. I had one favorite, very colorful striped sweater that I refused to stop wearing, so each time it had gotten too small, she had to add another color block to the body and sleeves. It never occurred to me to start knitting myself though because life back then was all about fast fashion and nobody saw the need to knit since it was easier and cheaper to just buy from a store. Almost 20 years later, I got into knitting and have never felt more connected to my ancestors, especially my grandmother, who grew up producing garments and other knitted items from sheep to finished object on their small family farm in lower Austria.
Born in 1926, my grandmother lived through one of the most difficult periods in Austrian history — the inter-war period, as well as the second world war — but has always focused on the positive things in her life, including her family producing their own food and making their own clothing at a time when most people were extremely poor. Even though the passion for crafting skipped a generation in my family — probably because my mother grew up in a “ready-to-wear world” — I keep wondering if my roots have perhaps instilled in me an innate desire to grow and create things. It gives me so much joy to work with sustainable yarn, especially when I know which sheep or farm the wool comes from, and create a beautiful garment that keeps me warm and cozy. The rythmic motion of knitting, as well as the smell of wool, make me feel calm and connected to our planet, and for that I am truly thankful.
(as published in TRAVEL: A Book for Makers, Adventurers and Sustainablists in June 2018)