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Granny McFlitter the Champion Knitter

Notable Book!


Granny McFlitter the Champion Knitter has received a Storylines Notable Book Award for 2019.

Picture Book Finalist!


I am very happy to report that Granny McFlitter the Champion Knitter was a finalist in the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults!

How Granny came to be


In 2011, a container ship, the MV Rena, ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef in the Bay of Plenty. A large oil slick from the wreck engulfed a wide area. Many birds, including Little Blue Penguins, were affected by the slick. Locals flew into action, cleaning up the oil and rescuing the penguins and other birdlife.

A call was made for people to knit little jumpers to keep the penguins warm through the cleaning process. (In the end the jumpers weren't used for this as the process would have been too stressful for the penguins, but the jumpers were put on soft toy penguins and sold to raise money for penguin conservation. Find out more here.)

At that time I was not a proficient knitter. But, with the plight of the penguins on my mind, I bought yarn and knitting needles and cast on some stitches. My knitting was painfully slow.

When I dropped a stitch (this happened often) I jumped over the back fence to my neighbour, a fast and furious knitter. She unravelled rows and rows of my knitting, found the lost stitches, and re-knitted the  rows in two seconds flat.


Hopping back over the fence, the idea for Granny McFlitter, a prolific knitter, was born.

The story was shortlisted in the 2011 Storylines Joy Cowley Award.

It was used as the text for the 2017 Storylines Gavin Bishop Award.

The winner of the Gavin Bishop Award was Lael Chisholm. Over the course of several months, Lael produced the illustrations for the book. She brought Granny McFlitter and her penguins to life beautifully.

Penguin Random House New Zealand published Granny McFlitter the Champion Knitter in March 2018.

My talented niece made a Granny McFlitter cake for the book launch, Lael's sister made a perfect Granny McFlitter doll, and I knitted jumpers for little soft toy penguins - it was a real family affair.

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