Credit: Mamie et Moi

The non-profit organisation Mamie et Moi (Grandma and Me) has announced it will celebrate its tenth anniversary on Sunday 30 June 2024, in the gardens of Villa Vauban, in Luxembourg-Ville from 13:00 to 17:00.

Mamie et Moi started its activity in 2013 with the sale of hand-knitted clothes by “grandmas” from the Greater Region. Around a year later, the focus shifted to the transmission of seniors’ knitting skills via free workshops open for all. Over the years, the organisation organised multiple intergenerational meetings at various Luxembourg museums, notably an “afterwork-knitting” at the Rotondes, “giant-knitting workshops” at the MUDAM, “Solidarity Knitting Café” workshops in Red Cross safe homes and more. The first two museums the organisation collaborated with were the Villa Vauban and Lëtzebuerg City Museum.

Various discovery workshops and outdoor activities will be offered to the public on the occasion of the association's anniversary: arm knitting workshops, yoga, friendship bracelet workshops, activities for children, adults and seniors to do together. Sweet and savoury cakes, prepared by volunteer grandmas, will be available for sale, to support the non-profit organisation (visitors should bring change for this). Picnic mats will be available to be borrowed on-site.  Participation will be free and open to all, subject to space availability.

On this occasion, the non-profit organisation will also reveal its new project, Collectif au Cœur, a new local initiative following the success of Collectif au Carré in 2020. The group aims to create a giant heart in the colours of Luxembourg’s flag, which will be presented to the general public in a central place in the capital. Mamie at Moi noted this is their way to show the strength of the collective and their desire for integration in Luxembourg. The non-profit organisation has collected red, white or blue 5x5 cm squares (crocheted or knitted) over the past two years, which will then be sewn into a 4.5m x 3m heart (more than 3000 squares), a process expected to take dozens of hours of sewing. During the event on 30 June, attendants will be able to add their personal touch, by writing their name and a wish on strips of fabric which will then be sewn around the heart.

Ahead of this anniversary, had the opportunity to speak to Camille Gouiffes-Alexandre, the association’s co-manager.  She shared the story of the non-profit organisation’s inception and inspiration explaining :“At the origin of Mamie and Me, we were two friends, French and Italian, who arrived in Luxembourg a few years ago and were each pregnant with our first child. My grandmother, whom I adored, had unfortunately passed away, but had the wonderful idea of crocheting a blanket and entrusting it to my aunt with a little letter, wishing the baby a long and beautiful life. Cristina, for her part, had carefully kept the blanket that a grandmother from her village in Italy had knitted for her birth.”

These meaningful blankets, intended for their future children were intergenerational “stories of love” Camille Gouiffes-Alexandre explained, adding that she and her friend started looking for a grandmother in Luxembourg who might be able to help complete the babies’ trousseau with slippers, cardigans and hats. This is how they met Renée Z, their first “Grandma”. Once their children were born, in 2012, the two friends created Mamie et Moi. At the start, this was a solidarity initiative selling essential pieces for a baby's wardrobe, hand-knitted by dedicated local grandmas, at a fair price. At the same time, they started organising knitting workshops, led by grannies from the Mamie et Moi network. Over time, the aspect of transmission between generations emerged as the most important aspect and more and more young people contacted the two association co-organisers to to learn to knit with a grandmother. “In 2014, Mamie et Moi became the non-profit organisation as it is today and whose goal is to create links between generations, thanks to knitting meetings, free and open to all. We quickly got in touch with the museums of the city of Luxembourg, to add a cultural aspect to our meetings, conducive to facilitating the integration of new arrivals: when we begin to discover the culture of the country in which we are settling, we get attached to it and we understand it better!” Camille Gouiffes-Alexandre said.

Discussing the group’s activities, Gouiffes-Alexandre reminisced on the 2015 Lëtzebuerg City Museum invitation to organise a “happening” during museum night. They transformed the elevator into a cosy knitting lounge with a coffee table, armchairs and sofa, where visitors could sit with the non-profit organisation’s grandmas and knit a few rows. Since then, they had several more similar events with local actors from the public and private sectors. One such occasion was during the COVID-19 pandemic when they were supported by Luxembourg’s Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region for the "Collectif au Carré" project – Luxembourg’s population was invited to knit thousands of little squares, which would then be assembled into an impressionist painting. “It was a real success, crowned with a travelling exhibition in the Grand Duchy,” Camille Gouiffes-Alexandre enthused.

The complete, detailed programme for the tenth-anniversary celebration will be revealed in May.