Things have been moving fast this month. I kicked off the new year by teaching an X-Factor celebrity and 130 Dubliners to knit. Then, just as I was recovering from the lovely response to my pattern releases, I was asked to follow the Vodafone promotions events and teach knitting. This was scheduled on Monday, I was awaiting my chariot at 7:30 AM on Tuesday and gone till Thursday evening.
My chariot is an ad-wrapped jeep:
Climbing into this thing and meeting my driver, John, was the first of many surreal experiences for the week. I also cast on for a special, travel-only sock while I waited.
We drove straight to Dundalk IT and started setting up. We’d been offered the student’s common room, which ended up being kind of small and crowded, but we made the most of it. We met some of the Vodafone marketing higher-ups, and discussed the campaign, the day, and possibilities for the next few days of promotions in Sligo and Athlone. I also taught a few people to knit. The most important thing we learned was that no matter how much Vodafone wants people to come and knit at their displays, even people who can knit will usually refuse to do so when it is a corporate sponsorship thing. I can understand this. I wouldn’t have done it in college either.
I learned that the original idea for the campaign came from a couple guys in the marketing department who read something about urban knitting. If you’re not in Ireland, you might not know: Vodafone, one of the larger mobile service providers, has knitted graffiti as the centrepiece of their new campaign. Their TV ads show young, trendy people learning to knit so they can cover trees and fenceposts with knitting, as a way to cheer up their surroundings. I learned the central idea of the original pitch was how the craft could empower individuals to transform their environments.
This interested me because when I think about the transformative power of knitting, I think about the power of the knitter to turn string into a three-dimensional object, often with usefulness and warmth. It was almost as if someone had read something a knitter wrote and took it in a different direction.
After Dundalk, we packed up and headed off to Sligo, travelling as directly as we could across the country. The best path took us through Northern Ireland, and it was the first time I’d ever been over the border. (Which is a little disgraceful; I should have been to Belfast before now.) Once we found our B&B up a mountain just outside Sligo, I met up with a friend (Mary!) for late coffee. The next morning came way, way too soon.