The following was used for a column by Martin Shapp in early 2005.
Carolyn Pugh has been involved in fibers and fiber arts since early childhood She learned to knit on the playgrounds of an Australian school ground and continued on with formal studies of textiles and fibers throughout her high school and college days.
Ask Carolyn about Auntie Kate and that question will immediately bring a smile to her face. Auntie Kate was her mother’s aunt. Carolyn and Auntie Kate first met when Carolyn’s family moved from Oakland to Geelong, Australia. Carolyn was 10 and Auntie Kate was 60 something. She had flowing white hair which was always captured into a bun at the nape of her neck during the day.
For Carolyn the move to Australia was truly an adventure…..meeting her grandfather’s brothers and sisters, making new friends and learning the art of knitting. The family lived on Townsend Raod, Whittington, Geelong for 2 years. The home was set behind the cluster of the Pinder Clan: Uncle Chas and Auntie Kate, Uncle Frank and Aunt Madge and cousin Margaret; cousins – Merle and Charlie, and cousins – Dot and Frankie.
It was during this time that Auntie Kate influenced her American niece in the arts. She loved children as she had none of her own, and Carolyn spent many hours with her learning to knit, darn, ball yarn from a skein to a ball. The knitting time together often included breakfast of poached eggs, tea, toast and sometimes, scones. The adventure of getting to Auntie Kate’s included a walk through the Pinder pastures and through Uncle Chas’s back yard of geese. This walk often found Carolyn knitting like shepherds of the past – the needles flying as she walked.
After the family returned to Oakland, Auntie Kate and Carolyn continued their wonderful relationship
via the mail….they were in touch for 25 years until Auntie Kate’s death. “Forever, a presence in my memory….dear Auntie Kate…..my own nieces and nephews know about Auntie Kate.”