BARBARA Mills has been knitting since she was eight years old.
“My mother gave me a pair of needles and said, ‘Dad needs some socks,” Barbara recalls with a chuckle.
It was the beginning of a love affair with yarn which later extended to spinning her own wool and the delicate craft of crochet.
Again, necessity drove the art, when she was looking for moccasins for her young children and nothing would fit.
Her crochet cachet reached a peak this year when one of her creations, a jacket using Bendigo wool, won first prize in the Royal Melbourne Show crochet category.
Mrs Mills said she had been entering crochet in the Bendigo Agricultural Show for “quite a while” and a few entries had won at the regional level, but she never thought she would win the Royal Melbourne.
At this year’s Bendigo show Mrs Mills will again be putting her fancy needle work to the test with two crocheted pieces – a tea cosy of Henrietta the chook sitting on her nest, and a gum leaf scarf; and a knitted 3D garment.
Mrs Mills follows ideas or uses photos to inspire her work. She draws much inspiration from the natural bush surroundings of her Maiden Gully home to create items like the gum leaf scarf.
“I love yarn,” Mrs Mills said.
“I love creating. My husband calls me a yarn-a-holic.”
She taught herself crochet with some books but says she doesn’t crochet “properly” as she holds the crochet hook in the wrong hand.
She also rarely follows a pattern.
“It’s much easier to do it yourself than to follow a pattern,” she said.