Knitted knockers offer comfort for women

I nearly dropped a portion of lasagna on the floor instead of on my friend’s plate when she asked: “Have you heard about Knitted Knockers?”

“Well”, I said cautiously. “Do you mean, what I think you mean? Knockers….as in English slang for boobs?”

She told me that her craft club had recently introduced members to Knitted Knockers – hand-knitted breast prostheses for women who have undergone mastectomies. Volunteers all over the world are knitting them and the movement has spread to South Africa.

Dinner over, she produced photos of these colourful contoured knockers which are said to be softer and lighter than any other prosthesis. As the knitted fabric “breathes” it prevents heat rash and discomfort experienced by many women wearing the silicone ones.

Last year Claudia Barbo from Washington created the original pattern which has been revised by Jennifer Taylor so there are three different methods of making the knockers. You can use double pointed needles, straight needles to produce a flat piece of knitting which has to be seamed or crocheted with a fine yarn.

One look at the pattern with its multiple abbreviations filled me with awe.

It’s clearly not the kind of knitting you can do with one eye while watching TV replays of Olympic antics. To create the curved shape with two needles you have to increase the number of stitches in an orderly fashion and then decrease to reduce again. A neat star-shaped pattern will emerge which is filled with soft Merino raw wool.

Fortunately on their website – knittedknockers.co.za – you’ll find tutorials for all three methods. And you will be able to read glowing testimonials from those who’ve received these knitted prosthesis.

The latest was posted from a woman who had gone swimming with her grandchildren for the first time since her mastectomy. “My Aqua knocker was a perfect fit which stayed put enabling me to enjoy this rare treat. Long may you carry on giving this same joy to others. God bless you and all.”

Stay safe

If you are under the impression that your handbag, briefcase or laptop is safe inside the boot of your locked car, wake up. If some opportunistic thief has been watching your movements from a nearby parked car, you could be in for a shock when you find that the side window has been smashed, the back seat moved forward and your precious possessions have been whipped away.

This happened to a runner last week when she lost cash, all her cards, driver’s licence and worst of all, her ID book when her handbag was stolen from her car.

Lessons we can all take from her unpleasant experience is to be aware of those around us when we put valuables in the boot and either take the items with us or move the car somewhere safer. Another tip is never to carry your ID. Your driver’s licence will suffice for identification purposes or you can carry a certified copy of your ID and leave the original safely at home.

Class act

I was over the moon last week to have two close encounters with my favourite singer: Cecilia Sophia Anna Maria Kalageropolou-Meneghini, otherwise known as Maria Callas. She was one of the sopranos featured by Johann Gerber on his Fine Music Radio programme “Great Interpreters”. A day later I saw actress Bernie Jacobs bring Callas to life in a masterly and very moving performance of Terrence McNally’s play Master Class at the Masque.

Astounded by how accurately Bernie had recreated the hair style, eye make-up, hand movements and body language of Callas, I asked director Richard Higgs how she had achieved this. He told me that over a six week period – which was all the time they had to put the play together – Bernie had watched video recordings of Callas giving Master Classes in 1971-2 at the Juilliard to professional young singers. Two good TV interviews had also been helpful.
While Bernie had studied the voice, accent and mannerisms of the diva, he had been forced to do the same.

It was in effect a master class for both of them.

Callas’s life was extraordinarily heartbreaking, a mixture of success, struggle and controversy. What the play brings out through her teaching of three students was her uncompromising passion for the arts and how she lived both her love life and her musical career based on a famous line from the opera Medea – Ho dato tutto a te. I gave everything for you.

A trip up the West Coast

If you can steal a weekday away from work, do get up to the West Coast to see the flowers. The winter rains have not been that plentiful but they have come at regular intervals to ensure that the veld is now looking beautiful.

To avoid the nine sets of traffic lights on the R27 at Milnerton, Blouberg and the new suburbs beyond, we now start our journey to Langebaan on the N1, turning on to the N7 and off at Melkbos where we join the R27. The scenery along that stretch is stunning. Bright yellow canola fields on one side, ribbons of yellow sorrel on the other and green expanses of wheat all around.

The 4.5km Bak-Oord Trail within the West Coast National Park offers a lovely show of spring flowers. True, there’s not the plentiful game of Postberg but we did walk up to the Seeberg hut under the watchful eyes of five huge eland. And that was very
special.

fionachisholm@iafrica.com