Daily Photo: Lopi – wool and remembrance 5
Part of the Daily Photo series of photos taken and curated by Jeni Reid especially for WOVEMBER, this next sequence of photos compliments the HARVESTING WOOL phase of WOVEMBER. Although in this story no sheep were sheared, yarn was “harvested” from an old sweater which is another way of using wool thoughtfully and of making the most of the wondrous natural resource that is WOOL.
Julia Laing known in the craft world as Materialised, is one of my oldest friends. Many years have passed since we met as teenagers so is rather fitting that it was a gift from her that made me think about wool and remembrance. Earlier this year Julia was helping a friend who was clearing her late father’s house and when sorting clothes they found an unworn, hand-knitted Lopi jumper. The most likely reason for the lack of wear was the shape of the jumper – the yoke and arms were far too long – but the pattern was beautiful and the yarn too good to waste. Julia kindly gave the jumper to me and the images that follow form the story of what happened next.
Eagle-eyed people will notice that the finished object has some blue yarn not in the original jumper. When I came to choose the pattern it became obvious that I didn’t have exactly the right proportions of yarn to match it. I did have one ball of blue Lopi yarn and it felt like the right thing to do, to add my own piece of remembrance to the new jumper. This single ball, the only Lopi yarn I had in my stash belonged to the late Heather Reid, owner of the Wool Shop in Kirriemuir and the much loved wife of my cousin, Alan.
We talk about wool having ‘memory’ that’s what helps a garment to retain its shape and it’s the reason that unravelled yarn comes out looking like kinky spaghetti. When I was working my way through the process of washing, unravelling, skeining and knitting, I thought about all the people who were linked by the story of these two garments. Of their thoughts and memories held in the fibre. From the first designer, the original knitter, the recipient, his daughter, my good friend, Heather the Wool Shop owner, all the way to myself and my new jumper’s designer – Mary Jane Mucklestone who lives many miles across the ocean in America. Each of us connected by the memory of the wool.
Time passes – the jumper was given to me in springtime, now the autumn leaves have landed on the shed. The coat hanger is another mystery. I have no idea who Isabel is or why we have her hanger.
photo and text © Jeni Reid and used here with kind permission.
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