RUSTY Weise finds peace of mind sitting by Galway’s Long Walk while knitting a jumper set to become his fishing jumper. Photo: Mary Ryan

Solving problems through knitting

From Oregan to Galway, Rusty stands out from the crowd

ONE Sunday morning some months ago, lacemakers gathered in St George’s Square in Headford. They were putting the final stitches to the heart-shaped iron and lace Matrix which is now a permanent feature of the town. It recalls the 18th century tradition of local women who made lace to supplement the family income. Bobbin lace is one of the oldest of Irish laces.

While the makers make it look simple, bobbin lace, which is sometimes called bone or pillow lace because of the bone used to make it, is far from that. You need a cushion on which the bobbins rest, a pattern, and the bobbins themselves which are the holders for the threads.

You start by putting pins at the top of the pattern and this is where you hang your pairs of bobbins. You could have a multitude of bobbins. They can be mesmerising as hands ‘dance’ back and forth on the cushion creating beautiful patterns of crosses, twists, animals and flowers.

On that Sunday morning in Headford, standing out from the women and two children on the platform, was one man who had remarkable stature and shoulder-length red hair. Rusty Weise started crocheting as a child when his aunt taught him. His birthname is Thomas Russell Weise …

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