PORT AUX BASQUES – Vivian Chaulk has been knitting and sewing most of her life. It’s a skill and art form she developed when she was still a young girl.
“I think we all learned to knit when we were at home – teenagers,” says Vivian. “I usually knit every day but I sew off and on.”
When she does sew, she’s usually at work on a colourful quilt. It’s a process that can take a few months and requires a detailed pattern.
“I took quilting classes for two years from Alice Keeping. She was a really good teacher, and I probably wasn’t too bad a student,” laughs Vivian.
Once she finishes a quilt, Vivian usually gifts it to her family members. She’ll also sell them on occasion, usually for an amount between $300 to $400.
Vivian estimates she’s made about 30 to 35 quilts over the years, if not more.
When she knits it’s usually socks and mitts, including the trigger finger mitts. She’ll gift those too, and sell still more at the craft store in the Codroy Valley.
That didn’t happen this summer thanks to COVID-19.
“They do get a lot of tourists up in the Valley but this COVID has turned everything bottom up,” says Vivian.
That lack of tourists to buy her crafts hasn’t really slowed Vivian down any. She’s sold what she made over the summer to folks around town instead. Her mitts usually sell for $20.
Naturally this close to the holidays she’s working on her own Christmas list.
“Most of my nieces like the homemade wool, or I should say sheep’s wool for socks. They like to wear them around the house,” says Vivian. “I’ve got to make them a pair for Christmas.”
Vivian’s kind of backed up for Christmas orders these days. People keep calling to see if she can whip them up a pair of socks or mitts to hand out as holiday gifts.
“I don’t have that many made because I hadn’t bothered this summer because the craft store wasn’t open,” admits Vivian.
She’s not sure she can fill them all in time.
“I’ll tell them I’ll do what I can.”
When she’s not working on her crafts, Vivian goes out on the bus once a week for a ride down to the United Church hall.
She plays cards with a few others. They like to play 10 games of 120 when they get together and there’s a usually small prize for the winner.
“And no cheating,” Vivian jokes. “We just play for fun, you know?”
She’s been getting a bit more exercise lately too. She’s taken up bowling again, though Vivian admits she doesn’t yet know if she will keep playing.
“Well I am 86 and my back is 86,” laughs Vivian. “I don’t want to admit that but it is and it’s starting to tell on me.”