|Love for Cotati fuels knitter’s downtown contribution
Mead donates cape, crown to accordion fest
It’s no mystery Cotati is a funky, artsy little town full of talent and lately, a new mystery had arisen. It started before Cotati Kids’ Day when a lone bike rack sitting in front of Sandalady Baseball Glove Repair and Friar Tucks Pub had a bike rack “cozy” added to it. Knitted by hand, the cozy covers the rack in knitted flowers on one side and polka dots on the other with a knitted strip that says, “I (heart) Cotati.”
“I think it’s absolutely extraordinary,” said Sandalady owner, Fran Fleet. “It’s a great piece of art and a wonderful addition to Cotati. I was blown away when I first saw it - I just love it.”
Cheryl Nixon, owner of Friar Tucks agrees. “It’s just wonderful. Everybody loves it and I get comments on it all the time.”
But who is this mad-knitter? Well…the mystery’s been solved.
Gale Mead of Sonoma is Cotati’s knitting bandit and has also knitted a cozy for the bike rack in front of Gravenstone’s, the bike lane sign by Oliver’s market, and coming from south of Cotati, the 25 mph sign going into town.
“There are people all over the world doing this,” said Mead. “It’s whimsical and it’s fun. My grandma taught me how to knit when I was a little girl, but I’ve only been heavily knitting for about 2-1/2 years.”
She says she first saw a knitted pole outside a bookstore in Sonoma and though she thought nothing of it afterwards, “as time went on, I began to knit more and thought, ‘hey I could knit something like that.’”
Mead comes to Cotati quite often to visit her boyfriend, which is what brought her art to the quaint town. “For some reason, the ones in Cotati stay up longer than in any other place I put them.” And she’s been around.
“Whenever I travel, I try to leave something everywhere I go, but I mostly keep it close to home so I can drive by and see them. I like to be able to see them so if they get weathered or damaged, I can fix it.”
Her first yarn art was left on her trip to the Galapogos Islands and since, Mead has left her touch in Alaska, an airport in Detroit, and recently on a trip to Pennsylvania.
At last weekend’s Cotati Accordion Festival, Jim Boggio’s statue seemingly sported an even bigger smile as he donned a golden knitted crown with knitted jewels and a big knitted red cape that flowed down to his ankles. The cape was spectacular and chalk full of detail with “King of the Stomach Steinway” knitted right across the back.
“When I saw that statue, I really wanted to do something, but knew it’d be up a short time before someone took it down so I spoke to the organizers of the Accordion Festival ahead of time to be sure it would stay up at least for a little while.”
She ended up giving it to the organizers in hopes Boggio can be King again next year. “Maybe next year I can add to it.”
She notes she doesn’t usually ever touch statues.
“Statues are other people’s art and don’t need embellishment, but signs are something I can make more interesting.”
Whatever her reason, one thing’s for sure, she’s brought some smiles to the little town, helping to keep Cotati weird.