Years ago I enjoyed knitting soft toys - for the boys, when they were small, and then later on for their school fairs in the UK. Since coming to Cyprus I haven't done any knitting. But last October, when we cleared out the rest of our things from our UK house, I came across some booklets of knitting patterns, needles and lots of yarn. Mostly light, so we brought it out. And, in the past couple of weeks, it's come to light in various boxes.
Inspired by our Australian friend's knitting, I brought it all out on Monday, and decided to start kntting soft toys again, perhaps for one of the church fairs later in the year. I began with a simple 'chicken' wearing a hat... notes on the booklet told me I'd previously done this in about three hours. I had plenty of suitable colours so I got started....
Then realised I had nothing to stuff toys with. Nor have I seen kapok or its washable equivalent anywhere in Cyprus, though no doubt it exists. I didn't suppose I would make many, so I only needed a small amount...
On Tuesday morning, I ventured out to our nearby Zako - a popular, albeit fairly small, haberdashery/yarn/lingerie store. Only five minutes' walk from our house, which is convenient.
I couldn't see anything suitable - it's much smaller than the Zako in town - but, as usual, the girl on the till came to ask me if I wanted any help, so I asked if she sold stuffing for soft toys.
She looked at me blankly. Evidently not one of the many bilingual shop assistants, and I don't have the faintest idea what toy stuffing would be in Greek. But she made a good effort to speak English, and eventually with a bit of gesturing and simpler words, I managed to explain what I meant. Her face brightened, and she went into a cupboard to find it. She emerged with this:
I must have looked rather surprised - at the size! - because her face fell, and she said, 'This is what to put inside pillows. Is this what you want?
I agreed that it was indeed what I wanted - or roughly so, anyway. I asked her if it could be washed, and she said it could. Then, a little hesitantly, I asked her what it would cost. I had expected to pay about three or four pounds for something probably a sixth that size. Perhaps I could ask her for a small bagful?
'One pound and twenty-five cents," she said.
'For all that?'
So I paid my £1.25 [note to American readers, this is approximately $2.50 US] and carried it home. It wasn't heavy, but a little awkward.
On Thursday I finished my first creation. Here he is, having made barely a dent in the bag of stuffing:
I should think I could knit a soft toy every week for the next ten years and not finish that bag...!