Champa Devi Tuladhar loves knitting socks so much that at 76, she wakes up at four in the morning and gets to work. Having learned the skill from her sister at age 8, she has knitted consistently throughout her life. Tuladhar’s hands are never idle, as she knits away to prepare her grandchildren for the coming winter.
Lorina and Irina Sthapit grew up wearing those socks. And since they were always close to their grandmother, the sisters understood their grandmother’s love for knitting and wanted to share her socks with the world.
They founded Aji’s (grandmother in Newari) where six elderly makers are hard at work, creating a range of hand-made products from traditional pouches, to replicas of famous temples, bracelets and puja sets.
“We were inspired by our grandmother to start with, but realised that everyone from her generation has some unique skill to offer, which is backed up by years of experience.” Lorina Sthapit said. With six makers and five more ready to start, Aji’s seeks to expand and involve more grans (there is one grandfather so far).
Gyani Laxmi Manadhar, 91 is the latest addition to Aji’s team, and is the most elderly member. She makes traditional Newari pouches called mheechas. She is jovial and energetic, and imaginative.
“I cannot move around much, but by closing my eyes, I can get to anywhere in the world,” she says with a beaming smile.