3270 and still knitting

By Jamie Lowe

Barbara Talbot has ‘jumped’ at the chance to help others since 2008.

The Wakool resident, who previously lived in Moulamein, is making a massive donation of 1600 hand knitted jumpers for children in disadvantaged countries.

Mrs Talbot has knitted more than 3270 jumpers and 660 pairs of booties since she took up knitting 12 years ago.

The 75 year-old has already donated 1600 jumpers to South African children over the years, sending them via a Broken Hill collection depot and Port Pirie Rotary Club.

The next lot of 1600 jumpers will go to East Timor, also through a Rotary project. The link this time is through sisters Jenny Douglas and Laureen Rhodes, who live in Finley and Ballarat respectively.

‘‘I started doing it because I read that they wrapped newborn babies in newspaper, and I couldn’t stand it,’’ Barbara said.

‘‘I was looking for an activity to keep me busy and I tried making teddy bears, quilting and knitted beanies as well.

‘‘I’ve spent 12 years making jumpers and now average making one every day.’’

Barbara grew up in South Australia and she and her late husband Ray initially farmed a 141,600ha station in Queensland for 18 years. 

They also ran sheep in Broken Hill and Cobar, and for the last 16 years Barbara has lived in the Moulamein and Wakool areas with her daughter Brenda Bennett.

‘‘I had such an active life, and coming from a sheep station to retirement was like going from day to night,’’ Barbara said.

‘‘When I first started (knitting) I never planned on making this many jumpers, but now I wish I had done things differently in keeping more accurate records of how many I’ve made.’’

Mrs Talbot has overcome many obstacles with her knitting, including a finger injury she suffered during her farming days.

One day on the farm she was cutting stock feed with a chainsaw, when it slipped and severed most of her finger.

‘‘I wrapped it in a bandage, picked up the kids from school, drove to the hospital and the doctors were able to sew it back on,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s actually an advantage. The wool slides over the wonky part of the finger and helps me quite a bit.

‘‘I don’t plan on stopping when it comes to my jumpers, and I hope I can make thousands more.’’

Brenda said it has been amazing, and sometimes humorous, to watch her mother knit.

‘‘Mum stays very active with her knitting, veggie garden, chooks and her two poodles,’’ she said.

‘‘Her two poodles sit on her lap either side of mum to keep an eye on her wool.

‘‘One time mum accidentally knitted one of their ears into a jumper. It’s quite funny to look back on now.’’