Bill’s sweater and Ros’ sweater, original sweaters and wool darning, 2017.
Photographs by Michele Panzeri
Bill, retired GP, 94 Bill was our family GP when I was a child. Bill’s wife Ursie was a painter. She painted pictures of women, children, families and couples. I met Bill at his house to look at his sweater. I sat on a chair and Bill sat on the edge of the bed the sweater between us. Ursie had knit it for him. He had chosen the colour and she had made it. He said Ursie was a very good knitter, and told me a story about how once they’d been to Greece and she’d seen a very complicated knit hat that she liked. She examined it and when they got home she knit it from memory. Bill wasn’t sure but thought the sweater was about 30 years old. We sat like this for a while talking about Ursie and knitting. Later we had a cup of tea in the garden and caught up on people we knew. It was a lovely afternoon.
Ros, Intensive Care Nurse, 32 Ros and I studied nursing together and she is a lover of textiles. We met at my house and as soon as Ros arrived we looked at her sweater. We were both excited as she had told me it was in need of some serious mending. Ros said the sweater belonged to her Mum. Later she showed me some pictures of her Mum wearing it, Ros is around 3 years old in the photos. Ros’ Grandma had bought the sweater for Ros’ Mum in Oxford in the 1970s. Ros didn’t know who’d made it and there’s no label to give any clues. Somewhere down the road it became Ros’ sweater and it is one of her favourites, especially if she wants to feel cosy. Ros showed me where her Mum had already mended the cuffs a couple of times. Her Mum’s mending is very neat and almost invisible. We looked at the sweater some more and my notes recorded the holes as: elbow R, armpit L, cuffs small L+R, diamond on elbow L loose. This made us laugh because written down it didn’t feel like there were so many holes.
Part of Where Holes Happen a series of Mending Sessions mapping, inviting visitors to bring an item to be mended and their holes cut into a tracksuit, mapping out holes of Britain, Woman’s Hour Craft Prize, V&A Museum and touring.