Taz is a familiar face at Red Café on High Street where she waitresses and at the store she runs on the ground floor, In The Loop.Taz has made money from working part time all her life, she also writes, barters and makes pottery.
“You have to do everything you can and in the end it adds up. I’ve never starved, at least not yet. Women have always been ones to make money from this and that; it has just never been lauded” .
But opening the yarn store has been the expression of a real passion. Taz had been fumbling her way through the knitting world all her life when one day a thought stopped her in the middle of the street, it was, “I bet they have knitting tutorials on YouTube”.
And so began an immediate absorption into the digital knitting community. No customer walks into her small shop ‘In the Loop’ under Red Café on High Street without getting a slip of paper with ‘Ravelry.com’ written on it.
“I should make cards,” Taz said with all seriousness. Ravelry is a pattern sharing site and forum for all things wool and yarn.
“I’ve learned more these past few years than in my whole life,” said Taz. “It’s fantastic the internet has completely reinvigorated the craft, which before was a considered bit grannyish – and now it’s moved into the 21st century”.
Knitting is being used to demonstrate mathematical concepts, and crotchet to create to scale hyperbolic coral reefs and playgrounds. Taz was even a member of the Harry Potter Knit & Crochet House Cup, a competition for knitters who role play, “a proud Huffle-claw, because, I could never decide which house,” she said.
It’s a very considerate online community she adds, welcoming to “nubes”, and even with its share of male knitters. Taz says she is a process rather than a product knitter.
“I have trouble with anxiety, so it’s like my therapy. I find that even if your life is a mess if you can just do something, knit a couple of rows then you don’t feel like a complete failure as a human being”.
South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. This August, GAP is publishing a micro-profile a day on women working in Grahamstown in 2015.
About the photographer: Jane Berg is a photojournalist working in Grahamstown and finishing her Bachelor of Journalism Degree at Rhodes University. She is the Media Officer for The Gender Action Project. You can see more of her work at www.janebergphotography.tumblr.com and on her Facebook page.