I remember the tragicomic moment when a woollen hood ended up in the tumble dryer .
Why use a tumble dryer, I hear you ask? And with good reason. But let me tell you that in a house (make that a small house) in the London suburbs, getting something dry is a futile project! And so the tumble dryer prevails.
(And lovers of wool and natural fibres that we are, this is a topic that deserves attention and consideration because it very much impacts on industry’s choice in using man-made fibres, and the decline of traditional activities based on natural fibres!)
When I had recovered from the misfortune of barely recognising the hood (it could only be used for a gnome), I quickly decided to wait some time before trying again.
Of course, as an incurable knitting lover, I had to try again, planning garments `to grow into’ * – in other words, keeping in mind that one day the grandchildren would reach an age where they would care about what they wear, and perhaps only wear certain items for certain occasions. Complicit in this is the school uniform, which solves the problem of `what shall I wear’, `my school friend has this or that, I want one too,’ and so on.
And so came about the little dresses for my granddaughters and the jumper for my grandson. The starting point is always 100% pure local wool, coloured vegetable dyes. Of course, I let the children choose the colours; they may be small but they certainly have strong opinions!
The little boy in particular chose a beautiful mustard yellow obtained from maple leaves.
The choice of stitch was almost a given; a plaited design seemed to me the obvious choice.
As you can see, the jumper was made so that he had plenty of room to grow into it, but he can happily wear it now with the little trick of rolling up the sleeves.
But the loveliest thing about thing about this story is the photo that I was sent via WhatsApp the other morning, of him wearing the jumper as he was getting ready to set off for school.
The day before, as a one-off, the teachers told the children to wear an item of clothing that made them feel like a ‘superhero’.
My grandson had not hesitated in his choice of the ‘to grow into’ jumper that I knitted him.
Much to grandma’s satisfaction!
* This is another complex issue, which has become almost unfashionable with industrially produced garments lasting the amount of time they do (perhaps one season?) which are then replaced when the sales begin – at best they may be given to less fortunate children. Once upon a time (at least until the sixties, and even later for me – from what I can remember, I used the same clothes for both my daughters, even though they had different builds and were born in different seasons, which made it more difficult to reuse many items).