The Connotations of Knitwear

Just a little introspective drabble I wrote when my mum fussed over my dad. My mum isn’t the type to say “I love you” and our family is definitely more the roughshod affectionate type than to play sugar sweet nice to each other. Which is why it’s all the nicer for the small moments.

The Connotations of Knitwear

You knew my mother loved you when she bought a jumper. “This one is high quality,” she’d say, petting the wool gently with her hand as if it were still on the lamb.

She’d start her labour of love on the high street, maybe visiting Harrods for an elicit thrill but inevitably ending up in T. K. Maxx. She’d while away her rare days off pondering over whether if you preferred the crew neck or not, divvy between the corduroy or and leather elbow patches, and eye up – gasp – what percentage the blend was.

The politics of yarn never failed to thrill. The 100% sign of the wools or the angora on label elicited smiles of triumph when she proudly presented the knit to you later, but it was the golden word of cashmere that rang her bells.

“Cashmere,” she’d say in hushed, reverent tones, raising both eyebrows to make you understand the seriousness of it. The purity. Cashmere meant Christmas or that she loved you very much. You were worthy of being encased in its delicate warmth.

For me the ‘tell’ of my mother’s love was the ritual of the jumper fitting. The coy, excited smile – “I bought a jumper for you! Try it on!” – her ensuing fuss of whether it fit well or itched to much or if alterations could be made – that was mothering. And the secret, proud smile at the end: “It’s 100%.”


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