Through countless purls and stitches Josephine Erlich – grandmother and nominee of the Herald Sun Community Spirit Medal Award – has created hundreds of knits that have kept lost, abandoned and neglected animals warm during the coldest of days.
With her knitting needles weaved through her fingers and a basket filled with balls of yarn resting at her feet, since 2005 the 75-year-old avid knitter has posted parcels filled with knitted jumpers and blankets to The Lost Dogs’ Home on a monthly basis.
“I always knit and always have at least one on the go,” she said. “Years ago when I was working I used to knit on the bus!”
“It takes me anywhere between a day or two days to knit a jumper for a small dog.”
Josephine has a selfless love for animals and is just happy knowing her knits have gone beyond her craft basket, to be wrapped around deserving animals, even though she will never meet them.
“It gives me immense satisfaction knowing that I’ve helped neglected and lost dogs”
For Josephine, the clinking of the plastic and metal needles and the repetitive motions of purling and weaving helps her to unwind and let herself drift off into quiet contemplation that comes with the hobby.
“While you’re knitting you’re thinking of happy things,” she said. “I just love knitting and I find it so relaxing.”
Family members too have enjoyed Josephine’s creations: “My husband and I have been married for 55-years and I’ve always knitted my husband 12ply and 8ply jumpers,” she said. “Now we’ve got cupboards full of jumpers!”
With her love for knitting beginning when her grandmother first taught her how to cast on, Josephine is keen on imparting the best thing she has learned from knitting with the new generation of emerging knitting enthusiasts.
“Just keep trying!” she said, “My granddaughter tried to knit and she gave it up but I encouraged her to keep trying even if it’s full of holes, drop stitches and out of shape. Eventually you will get the hang of it and you’ll do it properly.”
Sage advice, she conceded can be applied to all areas of life, and not just the craft she has come to love dearly.
“You have to keep trying; it’s no use giving up. Whatever you’re learning…even the computer, my children have taught me to email. They even put me onto Facebook!”
Listen to our interview with Josephine on Pets-A-Loud.
Fancy knitting for our shelter animals?
The Lost Dogs’ Home has a valued close-knit community of knitters. You too can join them by downloading our knitting patterns below and dropping off or posting your creations to 2 Gracie Street, North Melbourne 3051.