He’s wearing a pullover. My Dad. He’s wearing a knitted pullover on his wedding day. When asked about it he denies it: “Of course I didn’t wear a jumper to my wedding..I wore a suit”. But the evidence is here. A wedding photograph. My parents, in love, looking young, hopeful and innocent outside Wendling Church. Yes, Dad is wearing a suit but he also appears to be wearing a hand knitted jumper.
Hand knitted jumpers have been significant throughout my life. My Mum is a gifted and prolific knitter. Possibly my most treasured knitted jumper was a Blue Peter one. A scratchy polo neck. Somewhere there is a photo of me wearing it while holidaying in Mundesley. Sporting pigtails and sucking on a favoured wooden toy pipe, I wear it with pride. I was mighty proud of that jumper. I was proud of all jumpers handcrafted for me by my Mum. I remember the visits to the tiny shack-like knitting shop up in the village. I would carefully select the most fashionable and covetable pattern and wool then try to take an interest in the conversations about tension, sizing and other knitting technicalities. I never really learned to knit myself though – apart from an oversized grey mohair monstrosity I produced during my first year at university.
My university years were the absolute pinnacle of my hand knitted jumper sporting days. The early 80s, a time of punk poky hair, ra ra skirts and itchy fluffy acid toned hand knits. Jumpers would arrive in my pigeon hole in my hall of residence – soft brown paper packages. Carefully wrapped inside I would find a jumper wound protectively around an egg carton full of Cadbury Creme Eggs.
What days – scurrying back to my burrow-like study in halls at Swansea to don my jumper and scoff my eggs…