Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Naomi Gray-Wallis

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Yesterday, we went to the funeral of an old and dear friend of ours and this shop. Naomi was the most exquisite (to use one of her favourite expressions - emphasis on the "ex") knitter, spinner, crocheter, sewer, hand smocker and painter you could ever wish to meet. I love this photograph of her - taken at one of our knitting events when one of the children had obviously said something which amused her.

When I say that Naomi's knitting looked like it was machine knit, I mean it as a compliment! Her fairisle jackets were legendary, her tension perfect and cutting a steek was second nature to her.

Naomi supported us from the first day we bought the shop and supported the very fledgling Cornish Organic Wool company. She spun at both our knitting events and at our launch event for Cornish Organic Wool when she was quite happy to sit in the middle of a large room, with a cafe across the way and chat to anyone who wondered what on earth she was doing there.

Her support of Cornish Organic Wool went one step further, however, as she is the designer of the - now - famous loopy sheep.

This is the very first "test" pair - christened Charles and Camilla - which Naomi knitted up one weekend. It was very sunny and we had a stall outside the shop for our street festival, Golowan, and Naomi kept popping up and down (she lived just a couple of hundred yards from the shop) with the sheep under construction. By the end of the weekend, the pattern was complete - including horns and scarf for him and a hat for her. I typed up the pattern and the rest, as they say, is history. The sheep were Naomi's gift to our company and she always specified that the pattern mustn't be sold on its own. They were always to be knitted in Cornish Organic Wool!

Over the years we started dyeing the wool so the flock grew:

I have no idea how many of these sheep kits we've sold over the years but it must be into the hundreds now. All of the knitting magazines have, in one form or another featured them (in fact, they are in Simply Knitting at the moment) and the publicity it gave our very small company (and the debt we owe Naomi) is incalculable.

Naomi was diagnosed with cancer about 2 years ago. Throughout all her treatment she remained upbeat, cheerful and positive. One friend went to visit her when her daughter Jane was also there and, on leaving, Naomi cheerfully called out "come on Jane, we've got a funeral to organise". The funeral was beautiful and we all wore our hand-knits - many of which she had knitted.

We at Knit Wits have lost a dear friend. Rest in peace dear Naomi.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to hear about this, and wish I had a chance to meet Naomi. She sounds like a wonderful lady. Now I really feel I ought to get a sheep kit and knit it up- both in her memory and because they are just incredibly fantastic.