The West

Clicking knitting needles joined clinking glasses at the Windsor Hotel beer garden yesterday as 35 volunteers made baby blankets for the Country Women's Association WA's Stitch 'n' Bitch.

The three-hour event, organised by CWA Perth Belles, produced enough squares to make five blankets, to be put in take-home packages for struggling new mums at King Edward Memorial Hospital.

Coincidentally, the annual knitting frenzy came after the craft became entangled with politics last week when then-prime minister Julia Gillard was photographed for the Women's Weekly knitting a toy kangaroo for the royal baby.

The image of the feminist republican surrounded by balls of yarn was broadly criticised as a phoney last-ditch attempt to woo female voters before she lost the leadership.

But yesterday's knitters seemed impressed by Ms Gillard's skills and bemused by the fuss. "The CWA is about inspiring women and we were very inspired by our first female prime minister," Perth Belles founder Jo Hawkins said.

President Claire Stevenson said knitting was undergoing a revival in younger generations. Perth Belles has 14 members aged 22 to 53, who aim to support the community and reclaim the skills of their mothers and grandmothers.

"The CWA is much more than jam and scones," the 33-year-old zoologist said. "A lot of people don't realise we have city branches and lots of young women involved."

The West Australian

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