In January, when four of us were planning our trip to Central Australia, I offered to make them all beanies, as it was going to be winter when we went, and, well, any excuse to crochet something for people I love, I suppose. Then I found out another two friends were coming, and suddenly I was making six beanies. I bought some Malabrigo, had a few patterns lined up...
And the next thing I knew I'd made five almost-identical beanies, but all in different colours. I started my own on the way back from Kings Canyon, and finished it as we all gathered in the dining room at Ross River the next night. Then our friend Colleen walked into the room. I hadn't realised she was coming until the last minute, so I offered to make her a beanie from the leftover yarn I'd brought along for running repairs.
I started it in bed that night and had it finished by breakfast. I even had a spare button. This pattern made a very fast beanie - they only took me 90 minutes each.
So with seven of us wearing almost-identical beanies for the nest few days, we were christened "The Beanie Ladies" by the others. It became like a secret handshake, and we were very easy to identify when down the river, or at the gorge. We were joined together not just with yarn, but with our friendship and our love of singing, and we experienced things together in Central Australia that are sometimes hard to put into words.
This week one of our Beanie Ladies is in town, so we had dinner tonight at my house, all six of us, missing the seventh beanie lady who is still at home in Melbourne. We shared photos, and spoke of what we felt and how much we loved our time at Ross River. It was good to be together again.
Hopefully over summer when our seventh beanie lady is up here, we'll be able to get together again.
First and third photos are by Colleen Kelly.