No-one can tell the Thusk™ story better than the woman who heads the group of Thusk™ community knitters in South Africa, Hazel Adams. From how Thusk™ came about to the knitters, the products, and knitting in general, we chatted to her about this extraordinary group of crafts-women and the work they do in creating Thusk™ garments.
Tell us the Thusk™ story.
Our four sons have grown up seeing my grandmother, my mother, and me busy with either a knitting or sewing project in our hands. Our second son, who is always looking for ways to make our lives fun and interesting, came up with the idea of knitting a brand, Thusk™.
As I approach working retirement age, knitting could become a mutual benefit project to add a bit to my interest in keeping involved in a project a bit bigger than sitting at home, but still at home in my own time.
How has it grown from conception to production?
The project is still relatively new. One of the ideas is to involve other grandmothers in a similar helping to “make ends meet” situation in their homes. The Midlands of KZN has a high percentage of elderly people across the spectrum of income groups. The first thing was to find a small group of women who would find the project interesting and had the time, inclination, and skill to knit quality pieces.
Why is this project special?
My mother’s knitting days were ended earlier than she would have wished, with a health issue that left her left arm and leg paralysed and her vision impaired. She made a few valiant attempts at ‘one-hand knitting’ with my father as “chief of dropped stitches” until a truce was called and the role of family knitter was passed on to me. The other silver lining over many years was their Zulu carer, Ethel Dlamini, who lives close by in a small township in Howick. Ethel really became more of a friend and “sister” to me over the years and so, when the Thusk™ idea was being born, I approached her. She belongs to a small group of women through their church. They are friends, meet regularly for prayer meetings, and live in the same area and are all grandmothers at home. The leader of the group knits really beautifully and was prepared to mentor the other members in the patterns we chose.