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With the end of 2021 upon us, many people will be reflecting on their achievements over the year.
Among one Carradale grandmother’s accomplishments is helping to heal Scotland’s football rivalries by knitting a blanket featuring the jerseys of all Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) teams.
Edna Paterson, 90, began her mammoth knitting project at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and she finished just in time to gift the resulting blanket to her football-mad grandson, Ryan, this Christmas.
A football fan herself, Mrs Paterson, who is originally from Banchory but has lived in Carradale for more than 60 years, was ‘fed up’ knitting plain squares when a newspaper article provided some inspiration.
‘I saw all the Scottish football teams in the paper, with all their colours, and I thought it would be a good idea for a blanket,’ she said.
‘There are 42 teams in the SPFL which meant I had two squares left and I knew Carradale had an amateur team because my late husband Colin and my son William were in it, so I put the team’s home and away colours in the bottom corners.’
The blanket is bordered with white and green, representing the lines and grass of a football pitch, and it features five footballs, one in each corner and one in the middle.
Asked if she has a favourite team, Mrs Paterson said: ‘I have to be very careful because one lot of my family supports Rangers and the other supports Celtic so I go in-between them and say I support Aberdeen.’
Unaware of any other blanket like her own, Mrs Paterson used her decades of knitting experience to come up with the pattern herself.
She has knitted many interesting things over the years, including a clown which was raffled at a village hall sale, clothes and toiletries for a teddy bear which belonged to the village school and blankets for foreign aid charities.
Perhaps surprisingly, however, she has not always been so skilled at knitting.
‘When we did knitting at school, I couldn’t get the hang of doing a purl stitch,’ she said. ‘One day my teacher got so mad at me that she threw my knitting at me and told me not to come back to the class and that she’d make sure I got maths instead – she couldn’t have done a better thing because that was my favourite!’
It was when she was aged about 16, after leaving school, that Mrs Paterson got the knitting bug.
‘I was a nanny and I was sitting with the children’s parents and their mother said to me, “Can you not knit or something to pass the evening?” because she was always knitting,’ said Mrs Paterson.
‘I said, “Oh, I can’t knit,” and she said, “There’s no such a word as ‘can’t’. You’ll go tomorrow and getting knitting pins and wool and I’ll show you how to knit,” and I never looked back.’
Never idle, Mrs Paterson has already moved on to her next project, knitting squares to make blankets for cat and dog homes.
But she insists the football blanket – her biggest project to date – is a one-off.