Fabric of Memory, Lee Mingwei, 2006

Aran sweater made by My grandmother and mother, 1980

Submitted by John Rivett, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Memories and Associations
This is my Aran sweater knitted by both my maternal grandmother and my mother in the early 1980s. My mother knitted the body and my grandmother the arms. Both always claimed that they could keep the same tension with the wool and so could share the tasks. When I was growing up I remember them always having a project on the go be it knitting or dressmaking. They knitted many jumpers through my childhood that are now worn-out and lost, this is the last that has remained hidden in the back of a wardrobe.

When I was very young I tried to get then to teach me to knit. I was going to make a long long scarf like Tom Baker in Dr Who; in the end I gave up having only produced a six line and three inch long knitted patch that became a 'tie' for my Teddy Bear.

I remember teasing my grandmother who would stick out her tong when she knitted. I would complaining that my mother would click the needles too loudly and distract me from the telly. My grandmother has passed and my mother now no longer knits. I guess that we never encouraged her preferring the latest shop bought goods by the time that we went to collage. She now says that it makes no sense to knit when buying the wool alone costs more than buying the finished article in the shops. Fortunately traveling has introduced her to the quitting traditions of other countries and she now creates these fabrics for the newer family generations to treasure.

I want to thank Mingwei for giving me a fresh view of a article of clothing that I was not consciously keeping and that I have not even looked at in many years.
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