What does the act of knitting do for you? What do you get from it?
I began knitting when I was 15. I think I wanted to make a scarf for my boyfriend or something, but then I discovered that I really liked having my hands busy. It was therapeutic to have my hands moving, knowing what they were doing without having to think about it. I love knitting any time I’m sitting in front of the TV, waiting for something, or when I just need to calm and centre. It’s like my chamomile tea.
There seems to be a resurgence happening of this crafting culture.
Yeah, I think it was probably bound to happen. [Dan re-enters]
I’ve been thinking about it a bit lately because my mother was amazing with all this craft stuff but she never passed on that knowledge to me. I think it was because she was taught from a very young age by her mother and it was an obligation – she had to learn how to clothe her children.
Dan’s mother is an incredible knitter. This is what you did, it wasn’t really a special talent. Everybody knitted and you knew how to make things at a very young age. She’s my machine though. She gets excited and is like, “What else do you want me to make?” She gets creative, she’ll make argyles on there or she’ll put letters on there. She’s gone to Paris with me, she has gone to New York with me, she is one of the Knittas, ‘Granny Squared’.
[To Dan] Are you the male Knitta?
DAN: No. [laughs]
He’s becoming one. He used to like to keep it separate, but he’s really becoming the installer.
DAN: If it’s over a metre or two up the ladder I’m the one up there.
Really I don’t know how I could have done the bus in Mexico without him. I brought a bunch of material and I was there and I was like, “I don’t know how to make this happen.”
How long did it take you?
Four days, with a big group of people. About four to six adults helped us throughout the process. That was a really good project. Now it just seems like a fond memory, but it’s just one of the really great pieces. I became intimately involved with that piece, I wanted to take it home, it felt like another child. It was really sad to leave. I think everyone felt really connected to it.
Will you go back to Mexico City to visit it?
I was thinking about it … It’s been there a year now.
It’s surprising how well the pieces handle the weather. Where I live people have started to do guerrilla knitting and they’ve been there for a while. I thought that the weather would be far harsher on them, but they’ve held up really well.
Well, maybe Australia is more temperate. Honestly there’s something even interesting to me about a piece that is very vibrant that you see slowly fading into what it’s covering. It turns sort of grey … There are pieces that have completely disappeared off poles in New York because of the pollution or what not, the exhaust in the air. I’m really curious about the Mexico City piece because it’s been there for a year now and that city is very polluted. That city gets so much crap but I think it’s amazing. I think I could live there for a while. I want to go back. It should be a yearly thing, especially living so close to it.
When did you decide to do away with the anonymity of it, or was that just for fun?
The anonymity served a purpose. It was sort of like, we’re a little nervous about what we’re doing, we are doing it graffiti style, we don’t really know what people would think of it and there were people in the group who didn’t want to get in trouble so we embraced it. We decided to have a good time with it and so we came up with names over a bottle of wine so they got better and better; PolyCotN, Akrylik, Perl Necklace, Granny Squared, P. Knitty, Masculiknitty.
They all came under our gang Knitta Please and it all just kind of perfectly fitted together. It did make sense for at least a year to stay like that and then it just got awkward and silly to keep on trying with it, especially when there were things happening like TV crews from Sweden being flown down for interviews with us. We clearly got the idea that it was no longer necessary. If we were fearing that people didn’t like us? Well, okay they did. That was covered. If we were fearing we were going to get in trouble? Well, so far we hadn’t. Then people wanted to see us, there was more and more coverage. BBC did the same thing. We were flown to Paris.