Knitting teddies

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Grey nomads knit teddy bears
If you down to the van today ...

Annette, 57, lives on the road with husband Robin, 59, … and a van full of teddy bears!

Where’s your base?
We are originally from New Zealand and have no fixed ad­dress, although we have sons in Brisbane and Melbourne. We work when we need funds to travel, we sometimes hous­esit, and the rest of the time we explore the country.

Where do you like to camp?
Mainly free camps / caravan parks. We plan to use national parks this year now that we have the right rig set-up.

How has travel changed you?
We don’t stress the small stuff now. We just try to live a healthy, fun, and well-balanced life … and give back where we can.

On-the-road hobbies?
Reading and knitting teddies. I am a Rotarian on the road and we have a project to knit teddy bears, which are then sent to children in disaster zones all over the world. It is something so small and simple but gives the children something to cuddle and to look after dur­ing times of stress.

Is it a lot of work?
I can finish knitting a teddy in half a day. Sewing it together, giving it a face, and stuffing it takes another hour. I normally knit at night just to relax.

How do you store them all?
The teddies are only approxi­mately 250cm long and are very lightweight. They lie flat in a box under the bed until we stop somewhere for a while, and then I give them a face and stuff them ready to hand on. I pick up my wool from Op shops during my travels or from people I talk to along the way, who give me bags of wool that have been sitting in their wardrobes for many years.

Are you space aware?
We are constantly getting rid of stuff that we thought we needed but have dragged around each trip and not used. What we thought we needed has changed so much in 2½ years. You just learn to make do – and make things have two or three uses.

Is knitting good for nomads?
It’s something you can put down / leave and pick up at anytime. There is nothing to break and the only things you need are two needles, the wool, and the pattern. We have other club members who are grey nomads and who are looking for things to keep themselves busy while on the road.

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