I absolutely love when, in the course of an otherwise unremarkable day, an object can completely lift your mood and not just bring a smile to your lips but fill your heart with an overwhelming wave of happiness and love. Today, on a freezing cold morning when I was really just looking for another layer to pull on, that’s exactly what this dress has done for me.
This Aran weight pure wool dress was hand knitted by my mum, the inspirational Mrs Trotman, way back before I was born. My Mum (along with my Dad) was part of the generation that answered the call for labour at the end of the 1950’s and came to the UK from a tiny island in the West Indies. Having left sunny Barbados and settled in London they raised four children and each held down a full time job, Dad working nights and Mum working days, first as a ticket collector for London Underground then as a State Enrolled Nurse (SEN) for the NHS. As so many women did back then and do today, she juggled a lot and cooked, cleaned, sewed and knitted to keep her family fed, happy and warm.
I remember this dress from my childhood, let’s face it you couldn’t exactly forget the colour, but I also remember being fascinated by feeling all those textures beneath my fingers. Now as an adult I understand what goes into creating those perfectly formed columns of cables, Blackberry stitch and woven basket textures. As a designer of mainly accessories I’m used to small scale projects so what I find truly remarkable about this dress is that my Mum found the time to knit at all. I can’t imagine where she found the time to be creative but it was truly a labour of love and given the quality of the yarn she used, it wasn’t a cheap knit. Mum no longer knits and she’ll no doubt have forgotten that I rescued this dress years ago when she was going to throw it out. At a time when many hands are busy making last minute gifts for Christmas it reminds me just how much more is invested in something so lovingly hand crafted than just ‘lots of stitches and rows’.
Enjoy your gift knitting, I’m off to so some of my own