Some repair commissions are so much more than mending a hole or two. I recently completed a very special commission, which I would like to share with you. Bernadette sent me an email with a repair commission request, and as she has put her conundrum in such concise and clear words, I will quote the relevant parts here:
I have a pullover that my mother knitted me in the 1980s. It was cream coloured natural wool — I’ve since dyed it grey. It’s a typically big and baggy eighties style from a pattern by Edina Ronay. It didn’t really suit me, the undyed colour was a kind of dirty cream and the neckline is wrong.
There’s a lot of my mother’s work in this garment. I don’t want to get rid of it – it’s about 25 years old and it’s been at the back of a cupboard for a long time. So I had an idea to make it wearable by dyeing it grey. This wasn’t wholly successful. The colour is a bit patchy but on the whole I prefer it to the cream. It still looked massive on me. I had another idea to turn it into a cushion – it’s got nice (I think Guernsey) textured patterns all over it and the body would be big enough to make a substantial cushion cover. So I cut off one of the sleeves, with a view to hacking the thing to bits to make a cushion. As soon as I’d cut off the sleeve I regretted it.
There’s a small hole in one sleeve too. The pullover means a lot to me, especially since my mother died a couple of years ago. We didn’t have much in common and knitting is one of my only true connections to her.
Bernadette’s jumper, you can see the cut off sleeve with ragged seams. In this picture I already unpicked the top of the sleeve and picked up the stitches
We exchanged a few emails so I could get a feel of what she wanted and come up with a repair strategy before meeting up.
Thank you for your kind reply. I’m so glad you understand about the jumper – and about mothers! I’m sure my own mother would think I was completely mad to be trying to fix up this old jumper she made.As you can see – not only did I cut off a sleeve, I also cut open the seam of the sleeve. Why – I couldn’t really say at this point. The wool is a bit felted through age, so nothing has come unravelled at all.Re the neckline – it used to be a lot wider. I think maybe the jumper has shrunk a little bit because the neckline doesn’t seem so wide as I remember it. I guess it’s okay how it is.
It really does mean a lot that I still have the jumper. My mum always tried to make me the jumpers that I chose patterns for. Unfortunately I had such bad taste back in the 80s that they were mostly horrible, but it wasn’t my Mum’s fault.
When I was older my Mum made my children quite a few little things, but none of the garments have been hardy enough to survive. There was one pink fair isle twinset she made my daughter that I really hoped to keep but a moth ate holes in it and it made me feel sad to look at it, and I eventually got rid of it.
So this jumper that you are rescuing is the one surviving garment (apart from an astonishing array of teddy trousers and dresses in acrylic!).