THE lost art of knitting, crocheting and felting has found new life in the Southern Highlands.
And a Bowral shop is leading the way in the creative resurgence nationally and internationally.
In fact Wool Addiction, in the Penders Building in Wingecarribee Street has customers from across Australia and even the United States seeking support, ideas and supplies for the age-old crafts.
Store owner, Jill Dawson said she opened her Bowral business about five years ago – first in a cottage in Bundaroo Street and more recently in the Penders building – after recognising a growing need.
It was a move prompted by her own search to find supplies for her renewed interest in knitting and other wool crafts.
“My mother taught me to knit when I was about eight or nine years old,” she said.
“I continued to knit until I was about 17 then my life became busy with other things.
“I started up again a few years later and I have been knitting ever since.”
Ms Dawson said she noticed in more recent times that it had become increasingly difficult to find supplies such as yarn.
“I used to live in Sydney and I found it hard to source supplies for knitting, but it became obvious to me that there was a demand,” she said
“There was only one specialist wool shop in the Sydney and she was about to close the doors and retire.
“I decided I wanted to open a store and I loved the Bowral area, so I took the plunge and opened Wool Addiction.
“I started with two rooms in a cottage in Bundaroo Street, Bowral, and the business has boomed.”
Ms Dawson said she believed the drop in available supplies came about because of a drop in interest for knitting.
She said fewer people passed the skill onto their children and it started to become a lost art over the past two generations.
Ms Dawson said the memory of “itchy, scratchy” home knits had gone forever with a range of beautiful soft yarns now available.
“There are now so many more fibres to choose from and designers have become so clever with their knitted creations,” she said.
“Yarns come from all over the world and include a mix of blends such as silks, kid mohair, camel and possum fibre, alpaca blends and cashmere, not forgetting that Australia is renowned for producing the best wool in the world.
“There is a huge resurgence in fine knitting such as lace and other heirloom knitting.
“Kids are learning to knit at school, this is a fun way to improve their maths without the children realising that it is maths that they are learning and at the same time learning to knit.
“Tudor House teaches Year 5 students every year and boys being mechanically minded pick up knitting quickly.
The relocation of Ms Dawson’s business to larger premises in the Penders has allowed for a tearoom in the store and a host of regular workshops where people can learn new skills, brush up on their existing skills and share ideas with others.
Three experienced knitters on the Wool Addiction staff, Ms Dawson, Emma Palmer and Pia Lambert, are on hand to offer support and advice.
Ms Dawson said the more recent availability of complete ready to go kits also enabled a person to easily create a knitted item.
Details and orders: http://www.wooldaddiction.com.au/_ or 4862 4799.
Workshops give handle on wool
Wool Addiction conducts regular workshops to encourage and support a growing interest in the crafts of knitting, crocheting and felting.
Workshops cover such topics as socks, knitted felting and classes for beginners.
Children’s knitting classes are also offered on occasions.
The next workshop on August 12 and 13 focuses on ‘Really Wild Tea Cosies’.
Guest author and creative knitter at the workshop will be ‘Wild Tea Cosie’ specialist Loani Prior.
The course conducted over two days is $250, which includes a brunch and afternoon tea on both days.
Details and bookings essential: 4862 4799 or firstname.lastname@example.org.