Over 50 & Thriving Series

Standing in the Sunshine

April 10, 2019
Knitting to Thrive After 50

Are you brave enough to make changes in your life?  My next guest in the Over 50 & Thriving series did just that.  Unfortunately it was a health issue that finally made Linda Cooper from Mainly Cardigans decide what she wanted in life and what she didn’t want.

I’ve only recently discovered Linda’s website and was pleasantly surprised to read about her passion of creating designer handknits.  I love knitting but sometimes it can be associated with a hobby for our grandmothers.  Linda has changed that idea and shows that following your passion brings new found confidence After 50.

You can discover Linda and her creative designs through her website in the link at the end of her post.

Standing in the sunshine

I have been following Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond for a few weeks now and I love it! To me, Sue has created a vision for older women that includes being healthy, fit, vibrant, engaged and loving the skin you are in.

My story is simple. I am a New Zealander who married young, spending my 20s and 30s raising children, working (librarian and children’s bookshop owner) and completing a degree in history. Fast forward to my 40s and I am divorced with one child at home and living in Australia.

Working in the publishing industry, completing a Masters degree, and gaining editing qualifications, during my 40s and 50s led to setting myself up as a freelance developmental editor specialising in historical fiction.

A year ago, however, I made a commitment to myself.

I no longer wanted to spend my time editing book manuscripts. I craved some form of change in my life – I felt a real need to learn more about me, to slow down and enjoy what I had but fear kept me from achieving this.

It took a serious health issue in the form of a cerebral aneurysm in my basilar tip artery to finally allow me to face head-on who I was, what I wanted to do in my post 60 life, what was important and what was most definitely not.

I now spend my days living – walking, spending time with loved ones, being there for grandchildren, enjoying new experiences while continuing to work, not as an editor but as a knitwear designer.

Knitting has always been an old friend. I love the way in which it calms me, slows me down and allows me to create something beautiful using nothing more than two sticks, some yarn and a mix of knit and purl stitches.

Being a designer taps into my creativity, something I had long suppressed, because it didn’t fit in with what others thought I should be doing. Being an editor was worthwhile; being a designer was not.

Oh, how I have changed. I do not care what others think anymore. It is my time.

Knitting is still widely thought of as a domestic craft. By aligning design and knitting to the public world through my work and my blog I am saying knitting and design count.

I am looking forward to 2019. New designs will be published, a book idea is circling in my head and my blog will focus on topics close to my heart: knitting history – not only of stitches, but the craft itself and how it relates to the lives of women past and present, the design and knitting process and growing my stitch library.

On the home front, trips to Ireland in March and back home to New Zealand later in the year are two things to look forward to. For the rest of the time, it is family, friends and good living.

Yes, I am standing in the sunshine – it is such a nice place to stand.

Meet Linda

Standing in the Sunshine
My name is Linda Cooper. I live in a Bayside suburb close to Brisbane, Australia where I combine my love of writing with designing and knitting.

A love of writing stems from my passion for history and literature. In a past life, have been a librarian, a children’s bookshop owner and working in the publishing industry including being a freelance book editor specialising in historical fiction manuscripts.

My aim as a designer is to create knitwear that inspires knitters to explore and express their creativity. The garment I enjoy designing the most is the humble cardigan. It lends itself to so many options – from the casual weekend cardigan over jeans or skirt/shorts to elegant evening or workday wear.

Connect with Linda
Email: linda@lindacooper.com.au
Website: www.lindacooper.com.au

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  • Reply Joanne Tracey April 11, 2019 at 07:51

    First, standing in the sunshine. I love that. Second, standing in the sunshine. I love that. Third… Seriously though, thanks for introducing us to Linda. What a varied & interesting life. I ducked over and had a look at your website too, Linda…some lovely designs and patterns.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 11, 2019 at 09:19

      Isn’t is a lovely title, Jo? I love being in the sunshine and feeling the warmth. I’m glad to introduce Linda and have only just met her but she has certainly shared an inspirational story plus I love her designs and patterns as well. I might even get back into knitting this year!

    • Reply Linda April 11, 2019 at 12:29

      Standing in the sunshine is one of my mantras Joanne. I love it. Thank you for having a peek at my website. I have five cardigan designs to publish on Ravelry in the next couple of months.

  • Reply Retirement Reflections April 11, 2019 at 07:54

    Hi, Linda – It’s such a pleasure to meet you here. Spending your days with loved ones, grandchildren, walking, enjoying new experiences and working in a field that fuels your passions is a wonderful inspiration to others. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Reply Linda April 11, 2019 at 12:31

      Hello, nice to meet you as well. Life is good and I appreciate every minute of it

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit April 11, 2019 at 08:02

    Hi Linda! Great to meet you. Lovely post.
    Speaking of sunshine, can you send some to Canberra. It’s suddenly gotten really cold here and the sunshine isn’t quite doing it’s job to warm us up right now. I’m writing this comment wrapped in my dressing gown, a heat pack on my lap and wearing Uggs because I refuse to turn the heaters on until Anzac Day.
    Not the topic of your post of course … but I got distracted with the whole sunshine thing.

    • Reply Linda April 11, 2019 at 12:37

      Hello Leanne, great to meet you too. In sunny Brisbane I am still in shorts and tee-shirt. Sometimes I think it would be lovely to be all rugged up…that is the kiwi coming out in me I think.

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle April 11, 2019 at 08:42

    Hello Linda – so lovely to ‘virtually’ meet you. Firstly, I am so glad you are ok after your health scare and you are proof that lessons arise from adversities. I loved reading your post. I love what you do now! I’m an avid crocheter. I can knit also but tend to favour crochet. I completely understand the joy you get from design and creation. How wonderful that you’re doing what you love and enjoy. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us and thank you Sue for the introduction to Linda! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 11, 2019 at 09:04

      Hi Min, it was lovely to connect with Linda and I love knitting so I’m inspired to create something this Winter!

      • Reply linda April 11, 2019 at 13:10

        You do know I am going to ‘hold’ this to you don’t you Sue 🙂

        • Reply Sue Loncaric April 12, 2019 at 13:45

          I would love that Linda, can you give me a project to work on? 🙂

          • linda April 15, 2019 at 09:39

            Of course I can Sue xx

    • Reply linda April 11, 2019 at 13:09

      Hi Min, Lovely to meet you too. I do think I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones. Both my nana and great-nana on my mum’s side both died of aneurysms…definitely a genetic marker. One thing I cannot do is crochet. I have tried but I just get tied up in knots. Knitting on the other hand….easy peasy.

  • Reply Natalie April 11, 2019 at 09:42

    Hi Linda – Very nice meeting you here. Standing in the sunshine and doing what you love sound perfect! I used to knit but have stopped for a long while. Thank you Sue for introducing Linda. #LovinLifeLinky

    • Reply linda April 11, 2019 at 13:11

      Hello Natalie, Standing in the sunshine is something we all should do. Maybe you should get the needles out and enjoy.

  • Reply Janet Mary Cobb April 12, 2019 at 14:47

    Thank you for sharing your story. Good for you for making the switch!

    • Reply linda April 15, 2019 at 09:40

      Thank you Janet. I am very happy with my life now xx

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 12, 2019 at 15:35

    Hi Linda! Lovely to meet you and I’m heading over to your blog after this to check it out. I am so admiring of creative and crafty people (not my strongest traits) and to have undertaken such a turn around in your life at the stage you did is fantastic. A lot of people allow a medical event to define them – you’ve used yours as a catalyst to grow and prioritize what has meaning for you – what a perfect outcome.

    • Reply linda April 15, 2019 at 09:41

      Lovely to meet you too Leanne and thank you for your kind words. My aneurysm was definitely the catalyst for me to grow and prioritise – and 18 months later, I have not stopped!

  • Reply Debbie April 12, 2019 at 17:26

    Hi Linda, I really enjoyed this and the standing in the sunshine captured my attention! I have tried knitting but have moved on to other pursuits like cross-stitch. What a great way to reconnect with something you enjoyed and such a change for you! Lovely to meet you here at Sue’s. #Lovin’LifeLinky

    • Reply linda April 15, 2019 at 09:44

      I am so happy to hear you enjoyed my post Debbie. Like you, I love the phrase standing in the sunshine. To me, it signifies all sorts of things including allowing your real you to shine.

  • Reply Patrick Weseman April 13, 2019 at 03:28

    So very nice. Love your words. #lifelovinlinky

    • Reply linda April 15, 2019 at 09:44

      Hello Patrick, Thank you for your kind comment.

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan April 14, 2019 at 10:51

    From where Linda is standing in the sunshine she casts a big shadow. Wow! What an inspirational gal. Love the ideas she has for a new book. Glad she is making this time of life her own. Trying to follow her good lead…if my family will cooperate!!

    • Reply linda April 15, 2019 at 09:46

      ‘Blush’. Thank you Leslie. If I can inspire just one person to begin living the life they are meant to live, then I have succeeded. Good luck in your journey xxx

  • Reply Jean | Delightful Repast April 15, 2019 at 09:58

    Sue and Linda, love this post! Glad to meet you, Linda. Of course I’m sorry you had that medical emergency, but it makes me so happy when someone turns it into a catalyst for change. As I conveyed in my own guest post here last week, I’m all about making the best of our condition at any age. Looking forward to checking out your website, as I seem to toy with the idea of taking up knitting about once every year or two. At some point, I’m bound to find the inspiration! Learned the basics from a neighbor when I was 10 or 11, but by the time I had finished one slipper, I was onto something else!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 16, 2019 at 09:06

      I love all the women who have been my guest, Jean. All of you teach me so much and show that Over 50 Women are a force to be reckoned with. Have a great day xx

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