Saturday, July 12, 2008

Old woollies

I was chatting to my knitting friend Emily-the-car and mentioned that I still had a shawl that my mother had knitted for me to wear for my 21st birthday party in 1965. Emily encouraged me to wear it, and so on Thursday I swished it around my shoulders on a suitably cold day and wore it to work and to the Tapestry Craft SnB. It's quite large (200cm x 60cm) and made from some probably popular-at-the-time synthetic yarn that is warm, soft, clearly moth-proof and otherwise indestructible. I'm not expert enough to diagnose the stitch pattern, but it drapes beautifully and was a delight to wear. It was originally white, de rigeur for evening wear at the time, but at some stage I dyed it a clear, bright red.

It's reawakened a flood of memories, and the hope that I told my mother from time to time just how much I appreciated the knitting she did for me at various stages of my life and hers. Her knitting was a taken-for-granted part of our relationship.

As a child, all my jumpers, cardigans, winter hats and gloves were knitted - either specifically for me or as hand-me-downs from my cousin. Almost all these articles were knitted from recycled wool (the term 'yarn' was never used) that had often already been previously recycled. This was not unusual for someone growing up in a not too affluent Australian country town in the 50s. I also remember lots of stripes, and garments with contrasting yokes or sleeves, to make the most of the available wool.

Later, as the more affluent 60s arrived and I was a young adult, the knitted articles became more 'special occasion' and the yarn more diverse. I also began to knit for myself, and later my mother and I both knitted for my small children. These are wonderful memories that have been revived. I'm intending to hunt through my stored clothes and photos for evidence of this continuity of knitting in my life and blog about it from time to time.

A wonderful indulgence of memories.

1 comment:

Emily said...

It was lovely to see this at TC.
My grandmother knitted for me, but didn't much enjoy it, I think. I have very clear memories of some grey woollen socks keeping my feet warm when walking in Wales and Scotland.