Knit happens

Lesley Cully agrees it’s not cool, but she’s addicted to knitting


Er, knitting? Really?
I know! Everyone laughs. Just the other day, I was at a singing group with my daughters and they were using knitted finger puppets. My mum friends were saying ‘There’s a project for you’, before bursting out laughing.

Well, you have to admit, it is kind of funny…
There is a preconception. I joined Twitter and when I got to the bit where you talk about yourself I was having a real debate about whether to put ‘knitter’ or not. It says so much about you… ‘Oh! Blue rinse, knit one pearl one, have you got cats?’ But it is becoming quite trendy, you know.

Is it?
Yes! You have the ‘urban knitters’ – people who go round knitting huge covers for ugly statues in parks etc, then you’ve got these ‘Stitch ‘n’ Bitch’ groups springing up all over the place. They were started by this trendy New Yorker who wanted to get knitting out to a young audience, then she started evening sessions where ‘chicks with sticks’ could go along and have a chat.

Is there a Dubai branch?
We don’t have a name, but we do have a hardcore Wednesday night knitting group that meets at Central Perk in Umm Suqeim. We get a lot of people – mainly Emirati men, funnily enough – coming up to us and saying things like ‘Ah, my grandmother used to do that’. We’re a curiousity!

But what on earth are you knitting? Swimsuits?!
We all knit different things. One lady is a brilliant crocheter, and she creates these beautiful Vogue-esque tops. Another has five kids, so she’s always knitting for her grandchildren, and I’ve just finished a jacket for my sister for Christmas. It was actually for last Christmas but it took a bit longer than expected. It’s a very trendy, chunky jacket with big buttons and it’s a bit small, but I’m hoping she can stretch it to fit. She put it on and said ‘Oooh, lovely!’ but she’ll probably never wear it again.

So what’s the attraction?
When I fell pregnant I wanted to make something for my baby. I bought a knit-your-own baby blanket kit and had a go. It was horrible – full of holes and loads of mistakes – but I was so proud. Now, I just find it relaxing. It’s tactile, I like the rhythm, it clears my mind and calms me down. And I love knocking up a pair of bootees for friends who’ve just had babies. They look at them and say, ‘Aaah, lovely’, then there’s a pause and they say, ‘Did you make these? Wow!’ They’re thrilled and that makes me happy. I don’t care if they think I’m a nerd. Open your mind, I say!

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