Wednesday, 24 August 2011

"Do you think you could mend this?"

my father asks me. He holds up one of his "gardening/shed" pullovers or jumpers. This one has another hole in it. He has caught it on something again. He claims tree branches and bushes grab him and that workshop machinery sneaks out and gives his garments a tug just for the fun of it.

There are a number of these garments. They were knitted by my mother, made from whatever happened to be left over from other projects and from odd-balls picked up cheaply in Spotlight (a haberdashery etc shop) and at the charity shop. The one he is currently wearing started out with grey cuffs. I re-knitted the cuffs once so they are now brown. There is a large patch in the front and a couple of darns. The blues/brown/red/yellow and grey one he is holding wil have to be patched not darned. The hole is too big to just darn - and the cuffs need re-knitting on that too.

He even has one that has a considerably large pink stripe in it, followed by a small green one and a larger yellow one. The colours clash horribly. My mother would just pick up the next ball of wool and go on knitting. The garments were never planned. The stripes do not match. The yarn does match - up to a point - but the colours do not.

Every one of these garments is now darned, patched, re-knitted in one place or another. They are worn and yet not worn out. The glue and paint and garden stains will not come out. They are a disgrace. I have offered to knit a new one or two, "No, no. These are all right for a while yet."
My father sees these garments as indestructible.

I know why he wants to keep them of course. My mother made them - and that is why I will patch them and re-knit the cuffs. He does not want to give up the part of her he can still hold.

I do wonder however what the people I will be working with today would make of these things. I am about to go to the Showgrounds where the judging for the knitting section will take place today. I wonder what the knitters who are entering would make of these garments my mother made. Quite possibly, like many knitters I know, they would quietly reach for their needles and repair the garments. They would do it because they value something handmade far more than the finest and most elegant of machine made garments.


widdershins said...

'tis the essence of knitting after all.

JO said...

You can always spot a gathering of knitters - they are the ones looking inside people's jumpers just to see what it looks like on the inside! (And yes, that is often me!)

Anonymous said...

Cat - did June get a prize? Ros

catdownunder said...

There was plenty of looking on the inside Jo - and Widdershins there is a section for "recycled yarn"!
Yes Ros - she did and it was well deserved too.

jeanfromcornwall said...

Jumpers along the same lines as "My Grandfather's broom" - the one that has had two new heads and one new handle. Of course they should be repaired: they mean so much to a man. Even more since it is you who will be doing the work.

We knitters understand that there is more to a garment than some carefully entwined yarn.

catdownunder said...

Oh yes Jean! It will be done. The second lot of cuffs will be done too - when I can prise the garment from him!