Speaking of Hubby tying bows in Mum’s yarn as she knitted makes me remember just how many jumpers, cardigans and matinée sets for babies she must have knitted over the years.
If anyone was expecting a baby, be it family or friend, Mum would get her patterns out, purchase the latest colours in baby wool and set to.
For school jumpers or plain knitting, Mum had a manual Passap knitting machine, and I was a little sod as I kept playing with the row counter, a little gizmo that attached to the back of the machine. It was a miracle that anything matched or lined up as I would ‘clock up’ rows that didn’t exist and Mum must have checked and rechecked her pattern to find out why!
In later years, machines progressed to using electricity and included plug in sheets for designs. I don’t know what happened to Mum’s machine. It’s probably up in my sister’s roof unless it was discarded years ago.
In the ’70s and ’80s, picture knits were all the rage.
Mum did all hers by hand, and the first she knitted for me was an alsation’s head.
The main colour was dark purple and I was thrilled with it, as was she for a first attempt.
She’d knitted jumpers for all of us in the past, be it for school or best, some with pretty yokes in different colours and some cable knits.
She knitted the cardy Dad’s wearing here, which is the one I wore thin and badly repaired the elbow. I still have it, wrapped in tissue paper and sealed under the bed. I have another of his which she finished shortly before he died. When I moved to Bath in 1981, Danger Mouse and Super Ted were popular children’s programmes, and Mum knitted a Super Ted jumper for the youngest boy in the family. He wouldn’t take it off so washing it was a major event. Their Nan was also a knitter, she would unpick old jumpers and reknit them up several times, so the boys always had warm woollies for the winter months.
Mum knitted ducks and monkeys, tigers, dolphins and flowers, and I admired a desert island with palm tree she’d knitted for my cousin, so she knitted one for me too. I had to laugh when she’d forgotten to sew one seam so I asked her if there was any reason why it had an extra hole in it. She was mortified and told me to return it so that she could correct it. When I told her it was just a seam, she sent me up some of the wool to sew it up.
You may remember reference to my sparkly snowflake jumper which I always wore at Christmas as it made me feel like Mrs Santa. Sadly it suffered one wash and tumble dry too many, losing shape and going like string, when we were on the boat.
Mum knitted me a patchwork jumper in various shades of blues and greens. From a distance it looked like several squares sewn together at different angles, but when you got really close, you could see that it was all one piece of artwork. It must have taken her hours. I don’t quite know what happened, but Mum seemed to think I’d shrunk six inches as it just touched my waist, not the usual bum warmer she knew I liked. Rather than have her unpick it or add to the bottom, I asked if she’d mind if I gave it to my mother-in-law, a teapot of a woman, who was never satisfied with shop bought woollies and had admired it.
And as for bum warmers, she knitted me a fabulous tangerine cable knit jumper that was a real ‘sloppy joe’ which I absolutely loved, even if it was a bit bright for a pre-teenager!
As Mum’s arthritis got worse, she couldn’t knit as much, as big, or for as long as she’d like, so she turned to tapestry. She gave us three, all of which were framed and hung in our lounge in the bungalow and then the back corridor in the cottage after we moved.
When we got the boat, we took them out of the frames and sewed them on to black cushion covers.
Mum did one of The Cutty Sark for OB when he first got his holiday narrow boat, and she was working on a badger for years, but I don’t know if she ever finished it.