It's Business Time

Styling by Glen Proebstel. Photography by Sharyn Cairns.

After many imaginings, many learnings and quite a few tears,  Little Dandelion has finally arrived. It's time for business!

In late October 2009, my Mother was in the end stages of a terminal lung disease. As I flew north to say my goodbyes, my Husband took my middle child for a long walk, taking in the beautiful artworks of Sculptures by The Sea. My Little Fella found a little dandelion and, as we always do in my family, picked it up and made a wish. He looked up at his Dad and asked, "Will my wish come true?". My Hubby answered, "if it is a heartfelt wish, it will come true.". "Oh good," said my Little Fella happily, "because I've just wished for Nan to get new lungs". "Oh bugger", quietly thought my Hubby.

Many hours later at Prince Charles Hospital and in the precious care of some awe-inspiring physicians (special mention on my part to the dreamy Dr Dan Chambers), surgeons, ICU nurses and the Transplant Team, my Mother received a double lung transplant. Thanks to a generous and loving donor and their dear family, my Little Fella's wish came true and my Mother was given a second chance at life.

In the days and weeks that followed, I was overwhelmed with gratitude to be given more time with my Mother. It was my Mother who taught me to knit. Mum can whip up anything with a pattern and a set of knitting kneedles. I'm more of a free form knitter. I don't like the pressure of a pattern. I'm not big on feeling constrained by the need for things to be a certain way. Even though I have been knitting since childhood, I had never committed the process of casting on and off to memory. That was always Mum's job. Silly I know, but I just took it for granted that she'd always be around to cast on and off at my leisure.

That fateful weekend in October changed all that for me. I had been searching for something to turn my mind and hands to for sometime before then. After a law degree, some seriously hard work in my Hubby's business over many years, three children and 8 house moves, I desperately wanted something to do for myself and I wanted it to be creative. I needed to nourish my soul and to find a "room of one's own".

When life started to get back on a more even keel, I had this overwhelming urge to knit blankets. Not the kind that your Nanna would make, as in delicate, perfect and insanely complicated creations; I wanted to knit chunky and highly textural pieces that took on a life of their own. I wanted to create rebellious and crazy blankets that would make people stop and look.

So, post transplant, I got my Mother on the phone and would not let her off until I had committed the cast on/off process to memory. Turns out I got it completely wrong and laboured under the misapprehension for weeks until my Mother, on an interstate visit, politely pointed out that I had invented a new method for casting on/off. Oops!

The idea of "Little Dandelion" teetered on the edge for quite sometime until one afternoon, over a cup of tea, a dear friend said to me, "Jacqui, so many people have "good ideas" but unless you actually do something to get your idea from A to B it will always remain just a "good idea". My Friend's advice really resonated with me and it has sustained me through some considerable curve balls thrown in Little Dandelion's path.

Fast forward two years, an interstate move and back, 3 school changes, much experimentation, some very good advice and many many hours of knitting and here we are. We are good to go people. Thanks to all my loved ones for your support and a special thank you to my Little Fella and a very precious little dandelion who gave me back my Mother.