Meet the Maker: Knitting Experts Anne and Jane Muirhead
The Scottish Women’s Institutes (SWI) is Scotland’s largest women’s organisation and as its members have a fantastic reputation for their crafting know-how where better to find enthusiastic knitters keen to share their passion with others to promote the Big Issue Foundation’s Big Knitathon?
Mother and daughter Anne (73) and Jane (47) Muirhead, SWI members who live near Stirling, are fronting the drive to get people to pick up their knitting needles in support of the seasonal campaign to help deliver winter warmth to Big Issue vendors.
They’re attending Hobbycraft store events and are providing top tips and advice to encourage people to get involved.
Knitting Experts Anne and Jane Muirhead
Why did you get involved in the Big Knitathon?
Anne : This is a great way to use our talents in support of a very worthy cause. I’ve been knitting for so long that I can’t really remember a time that I haven’t knitted and so I don’t really look for an excuse to knit! The SWI, as an organisation, gets behind local and national causes. We’re passionate about making a difference and helping others in need. This is a fantastic cause with very worthy recipients so between our scarves, gloves, blankets and hats, we’ll make sure The Big Issue vendors don’t feel a chill this winter.
Jane : The Big Knitathon is a great way to use a skill to help others and there really is nothing like a knitted garment for comfort and warmth. The effort that has gone into the knitted item will be appreciated by the recipient and it will serve a practical purpose by keeping someone warm during our cold winters.
Are your fellow Scottish Women’s Institutes members following your lead?
Anne : Absolutely! The whole organisation is behind the Big Knitathon. We’ve only launched our appeal in November so have a limited time to get knitting but hopefully as many ladies as possible will do their bit.
Jane : Yes, we have groups all over Scotland with lots of great knitters among our membership and all members have been invited to get knitting – the more support the better!
How can people get involved?
I can’t really remember a time that I haven’t knitted and so I don’t really look for an excuse to knit!
Both : Simply pick up your knitting needles and get going. Knit squares to create a patchwork blanket, or knit socks, scarves, jumpers, hats, gloves or anything else that will keep someone warm over winter.
It’s really easy to join the Big Knitathon. Knitters can submit knitted goods or raised funds to their nearest Hobbycraft store throughout November. You can register for free online and you will be sent a fundraisers pack. Big Knitathon Website.
What do you enjoy about knitting?
Anne : Knitting such a natural pastime that I do it when I’m sitting watching television, in fact I could almost do it with my eyes closed.
Jane : It’s a really relaxing pastime and you can do it almost any time or any place and at the end of your efforts, you have created something lovely to wear.
What tips do you offer?
Anne : Produce items that you find quick and easy to make in order to maximise support during the limited time of the campaign, which comes to an end in December. Also, enjoy taking part by knitting to suit your lifestyle, be it at home, in the company of friends, holding an event or attend one organised by someone else.
Jane : Keep it simple. I’m knitting scarves as they are quick and easy to make. With a big ball of wool, 15 stitches and knitting garter stitch all the way till you cast off, at the other end you’ll have a scarf.
What about people who aren’t confident about knitting?
Both : We’re on hand to offer any support or guidance that we can to help make this year’s Big Knitathon the biggest and best yet. If anyone has any queries, they can get in touch with us through the SWI Facebook page and we’ll be happy to try and offer assistance.
Simply pick up your knitting needles and get going!
How can women get involved in the SWI?
Anne : The SWI is a great place for people who like knitting, sewing, baking and cooking but it’s also a great way to learn a whole lot of other skills and to make friends where you live. With more than 830 Institutes all over Scotland, and new ones popping up in towns and cities, there is sure to be one close to where you live. The easiest way to find your local branch is to go on to our website and use the postcode finder facility, The SWI Website.
Jane : I love attending my local SWI meetings at Gargunnock near Stirling and would thoroughly recommend it! It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and to learn techniques, tips and ideas. As well as a website, we have a Facebook page which gives a flavour of what we do : Scottish Women’s Institute Facebook Page