recording history

16 Aug

I once blogged about the scarcity of photographs reflecting my handiwork (sorry, I’d link to it but it’s among the lost posts). Recently, however, I’ve had cause to review that notion. Perhaps my handiwork is so much a part of everyday life that I forget it’s there. We have tablecloths and table napkins that are in use on a daily basis and whose appearance in photos is as unobtrusive as they are; but they’re there, utilitarian objects quietly doing what they’re intended to do. Lavender bags are everywhere, if fewer of them in photos. Sewn and knitted garments are often seen on folk and my recent Very Large Photo-scanning project, which saw me trawling through thousands of hard copy photos, made me realise anew that when you wear your own handknits, you just wear them and get on with life.

Perennial favourite jumper

Quite early in the morning. I’m wearing my perennial favourite jumper and Dr B a matching beret. My Dad and younger sister had been adventuring with us on our (very steep) property. We were then still living in a caravan!

It turns out that I have photos of myself in most of the jumpers I’ve ever knitted (I can’t explain the missing two, except to think that perhaps I might have been camera-less around that time). The one above appears in many photos. I started knitting it before I left for Italy, put it away so I could knit a thick jumper for each of us, then hauled it out and finished it while I was in Italy. If you look carefully, you’ll see that Dr B is wearing a little beret made from some of the leftover yarn. I knitted a pair of socks and a beret for myself, too.

There’s no photographic record of the large, warm jacket I knitted and wore for years, at least not in my photos. Someone else might have one. I even have photos of myself in clothes that I’ve made, just incidental to everyday life. There are photos of my nieces wearing the christening gown I knitted. I know there’s a photo of Eldest Niece wearing the little angel top I knitted, though that’s not in my own collection. I know there are photos of her wearing the boatneck jumper I knitted as well as the stripy cardigan, because I have a recollection of seeing such things in other people’s photo albums. (And, by golly, that boatneck jumper was gorgeous!)

So, as I struggle with a backlog of WISPs – let’s call them, rather than the UFOs they’re rapidly becoming – it’s heartening to know that, yeah, I do finish things and people do wear them and they look all right (we might except the abovementioned stripy cardigan which, although a lovely garment, was rather large for its recipient; but, you know, she grew into it and it looked fine then and all the other kids would have worn it, too). One jumper I knitted for Dr B even made it onto national TV. Now that’s fame for you! There are any number of shots of us wearing my handknits among the photos recording our life in Italy. Those thick, warm jumpers were just the thing for those snowy winters. There are photos to prove it.


Posted by on August 16, 2013 in Knitting, Photography, Sewing


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2 responses to “recording history

  1. Calico Stretch

    August 16, 2013 at 18:35

    And, as it happens, I find also a happy sense of quiet pride when I see folk wearing or using the things I have made for them. I know the feeling.

    The things that have made it into the photos are things that are quietly worn and appreciated. The ones that didn’t probably weren’t. My stuff is like that too, though I haven’t been a stitcher for as long as you nor as often or prolific.

    • Felicity from Down Under

      August 17, 2013 at 09:34

      Thank you. I’m not sure about prolific – once, perhaps! – but I’ve often said I come from a long line of women who knitted or sewed because that’s what you did (not always of necessity, though there were doubtless those drivers in tougher economic climes) and just got on with it. And it’s great to see a jumper becoming pilled and worn with constant wear. You care for it, but nothing says “love this” like the slight, unremovable patina that comes from use.

      During that recent photographic trawl, I also encountered photos of everyone wearing handknits from the needles of the elders of the family and, wow, some of them were works of art as well as heart.


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