PAULINE Parkin has turned her love of knitting into a craft.
And she is proving that knitting isn’t just about grandmas making mittens anymore as the popularity of knitted products drives demand for yarn and needles.
Pauline runs a bespoke knitting stall on Brighouse market along with her mum Margaret, best friend Rose and Rose’s sister June.
Together they knit a range of products for newborns to adults, available on request. “I have a variety of things on the stall and then people come and say can you do this for me and can you do that,” she said. “Between us we can pretty much sort anything anyone asks for.”
Pauline has been knitting since she was eight years old, and 52 years on she is now running her own business.
“I started on Brighouse market about April or May last year. But I had to take six months off because I was extremely ill,” she said. “I had a lot of breathing problems and despite having lots of tests, the doctors can’t find out what is causing it. I obviously had to give up work and I started the stall in Brighouse.
“I had heard a lot about Brighouse market and how it was on a downward spiral and I thought maybe it just needed something else in there that might bring a different clientele. Everybody was very welcoming and said it was great and it was something that would bring the younger people in.
“Business has been good. I can’t say I make a great deal but I only work on a Wednesday. I can sell maybe two or three items but get four or five orders to make certain things.”
She said items for newborns and one year olds can take two or three days, if she has nothing else on, and adults can take about two or three weeks.
“I never say definitely how long something will take and take the numbers to call them. I have already started taking orders for Christmas presents,” the 60-year-old said.
“I have found hand knitted garments are coming back into fashion. And the items I produce are one of a kind because people tell me what style they want, the size and how they want it designing.”
Knitting used to be a hobby for Pauline who lives in Mixenden. “I am never sitting down without picking up my needles. It is just something I have always done. I used to knit for my two sons until they got older and for friends,” she said.
“I am currently teaching my grand daughters to knit. There is a lot of people who say ‘my grandma used to knit for me and I’m glad I have found you’. People want knitted products like mittens and bonnets but they have not actually got the skills themselves to do it. Whereas some have got the skills but don’t have the time to use them anymore.”
Pauline said she gets great satisfaction from working on the stall. “There is a couple that had seen a cardigan they liked but they didn’t want the green and asked if I could do it in blue. They loved it when they saw it and they came back a few weeks later asking for a different colour but in a bigger size.
“Some of the mums have waved at me and the children have on the items I have knitted that is a nice feeling to know they appreciated what you had done.”
Pauline is at the market which is situated in Canal Street, near to Briggate, every Wednesday between 9am and around 4pm.