Tag Archives: knitting

Czech mums are Supermums: another weekend with The Village People

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Meet Babovka, a traditional Czech sponge cake

In Czechland, doctors often send their patients to a spa to recuperate. I opted to go to stay with the Village People (aka Czechman’s parents) instead. Why? Because I knew I would get plenty of sympathy after my recent adventures in hospital, especially from Czechman’s mum.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Czech mothers all seem to possess a surplus of caring genes. Either that or they all attend some special training camp where they learn all the skills necessary to be supermums.

Highlights of the weekend included:

–  learning how to make babovka (a traditional Czech sponge cake) with Czechman’s mum. The results were excellent but the real test is whether I can manage to make it as well without expert supervision

–  an 80’s fashion show starring Czechman and his collection of ancient tepláky (jogging bottoms) as he decided what from his teenage wardrobe should finally be thrown away

– hunting through Czechman mum’s collection of vintage knitting and crochet patterns: fascinating stuff for a craftaholic like me

– admiring Czechman’s dad at work in his království (kingdom) – the workshop at the bottom of grandma’s garden – where he has transformed the bits of wooden worktop into leaf-shaped chopping boards, including a minature one for Czechman’s niece – šikovny!

– daily trips to the grandmas to discuss important topics like the latest episode of Prostřeno! and how well the hens are laying: very well indeed as we now have thirty organic eggs in our fridge. Better get started on that babovka…

I may be wrong, but my impression is family is more important here in the Czech Republic than in England. In my early days in Czechland I’d grumble a bit about how often we are expected to put in an appearance at Czechman’s parents (once a month minimum) and the fact that my presence is required too (but they’re your parents) but now that I finally understand most of what’s going on, I really look forward to it.

You see, Czechland is home now and it’s starting to feel like his family are my family too.

“You seem really comfy here,” Czechman observed this weekend. And I am.

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Guerilla Knitting Czech Style: Girl in Czechland goes stitching and bitching

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These women are taking part in an act of guerilla knitting outside the National Theatre in Prague.  I spotted them as I was on my way home on the 22 tram this afternoon. Overwhelmed with curiosity, I decided to jump off and find out exactly what was going on.

Those of you living in the States or the UK – especially uber-hip New York or arty East London – will not failed to have noticed that knitting is the new black. It’s not unusual to see young women pull out their circular needles on the Tube and start clacking away.  When I attempted this in the company of Czechman, his reaction was one not merely of embarrassment but of horror.  As far as he was concerned, knitting was for old folks only – and they did it in the privacy of their own homes.

Here in Czechland though I believed these attitudes towards knitting remained: that it was the preserve of grannies, desperately uncool and to be undertaken only indoors.  I was therefore delighted to make the acquaintance of the Guerilla Knitters, who don’t make sweaters, but art.  The group had spent the day knitting and crocheting a cover for the globe which sits in the centre of the diamond above the entrance to Nova Scena.  Here’s a picture of some ladies adding the finishing touches:

If you look really closely, there’s a very small knitted flourescent pink square there which is my own handiwork.  Somewhere.  Watch out for it the next time you pass on the tram.

Knitting brings people together.  This little artistic happening may seem silly and pointless to some but it put smiles on the faces of hundreds of passing tourists.  A few passers-by (like myself) even stopped to join in.   I had an excuse to show off my crafty skills and practice my rubbish Czech on a semi-captive audience.   I now know the words for ‘knit’, ‘purl’ and ‘stocking stitch’ which will serve me well in day-to-day life I’m sure.

Should the group grow in size, who knows which Prague monument will end up covered in knitted graffiti next?  Petrin Tower?  Charles Bridge?  Even Prague Castle itself?  Should the Guerilla Girls knit over all the doors, at least it would keep the odious Vaclav Klaus hidden from sight for a while…

P.S  Just in case you don’t believe me that urban knitting is taking over the Western world, check out these beautiful tree cosies.

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