Handmade stories

I’m interested in the social, material and political connections of textiles made by amateur makers. I also like storytelling. Below is a collection of tales from friends and family about knitted objects in their lives.

Lucy’s New School Cardigan

At first I thought the cardigan was dead good. It was made especially for me, by my aunty, for my first day at school September 1993. But then I got to school. Everyone had shop-bought cardigans with the school badge sewn on. I didn’t want to wear it anymore then. But it was a lovely cardigan and it had bright shiny buttons. I wish my aunty would knit me a cardi now! I don’t think she does it anymore but she knitted all-sorts. She did also knit me a bolero once. I thought I looked like a ballerina because my mum told me that’s what they wore. She took me to ballet classes once but I cried, we came straight home.

Emma’s Baby Booties

These are little booties my mum’s friend knitted for my baby, due next February. They’re one of the first gifts we’ve received. In cream as we’re not finding out the sex of the baby. It will be a surprise, and it’s all the more exciting for it.

Becky’s Bear

Before my nephew Henry was born, my parents and I met up with my brother, his fiancé Emma and her parents. We all went out for a meal at ‘The Golden Rice Bowl’. Emma’s mum had made a knitted bear for baby Henry. I thought the teddy was gorgeous, and couldn’t help but gush how much I liked! Three months later, on my birthday, I opened my presents to find my own bear! Emma’s mum (who I had only met that once) was touched I loved the original bear so much that she made one especially for me.

Rachel, her Nan and her cardigans through the years.

My Nan’s been knitting my cardigans for as long as I can remember. Up until I was about 7, when I decided I was too old for handmade clothes. But with the trend for chunky winter knits a few years ago I found a pattern that was almost exactly the same as the high street knits. With this pattern, lots of wool and productivity, Nan produced this in just a few weeks. I love it so much, I’ve got a new one in the pipeline too!

Jenny’s Birthday Socks.

My Mum, Anne, has always knitted a lot. Mostly baby clothes. She used to knit jumpers for my Dad too. Now she mostly knits socks and scarves. I lived in Peru for twelve months last year, and for my birthday in November, Mum sent me these in the post. They kept me warm in the cold mountain villages, and they made it back home to the UK – I’m wearing them today, actually!

Anne and The Rescue Jumper

My Mum used to knit jumpers for my kids all the time, really hideous ones that we didn’t actually like. I used to keep them though; they were cosy and warm and came in useful for family holidays. One family holiday, we were visiting caves; it was a bit damp and cold so I gave my son Joseph one of the jumpers to put on. Underneath the cave was an old paper mill. Every now and again the old paper mill would be turned on and churn up its contents. Whilst we were visiting the caves the paper mill was turned on. Joseph, three at the time, ran over the see the source of the noise. Going full speed, I could see he was going to speed past and under the protective fence. I screamed. One of the tour guides saw Joseph and grabbed him by the cuff of his jumper. He was saved! Ever since we referred to the sweater as ‘Rescue Jumper’.

Bernie’s Nurse

My friend Pam knitted me dolly this when I left nursing; I was really upset to have left. My friend made it so I’d always be reminded I’m a nurse – so I kept Dolly on my desk to remind me of who I am. I’m going back to nursing now so I’ve cleared my desk and I’ve bought her home.

Please get in contact if you have a story you’re happy to share!

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