Shown the knit and purl stitches as a youngster by her grandfather using four-inch nails and string, Maree Davey can’t remember knitting not being a part of her life since then, with several projects on the needles at any time. Her grandfather had taught her mother the same way years before, but using bicycle spokes and fine yarn.
In 1995, Maree opened The Wool Shop at Moonah, Tasmania, in a much smaller store to begin with. “Moonah was once an area with an older population and that made up a fair part of my customer base, but these days, so much has changed within Moonah, which has had an influx of younger families and also so many new, younger knitters. The enthusiasm and ‘can-do’ attitude of the new generation of knitters is such fun,” she relates.
Maree used to love knitting on her mother’s old tortoiseshell needles, but these have now taken a back seat to the interchangeable circulars — “a beautiful laminated birch that makes me want to knit. These are the choice of many of the younger knitters, which is very interesting as they are using the circular needles as opposed to the more conventional straights. This should prolong their knitting life, as circular knitting is far more ergonomic, relieving weight on elbows and shoulders,” she observes.
Maree admits, “After 17 years in one business, even if it is your hobby, enthusiasm can wane, but not for long, mainly because of the Tuesday- and Friday-afternoon knitting girls who come in and sit at our big table.” It’s a time of chatter, laughter and knitting, with the more experienced ones passing on advice to beginners. “It really is a great business to be in, because everyone who walks in the door wants to be there. They know it is not going to be a chore like the supermarket,” she says.
Maree likes to knit garments in preference to toys, cushions or blankets and names her favourite technique as Fair Isle. She also admits to a developing love affair with spinning, which she finds very relaxing.