As I finish the second version of my new design, I thought I’d let you know I’m very, very pleased with it. I hope you like it too when I finally reveal it in its entirety.
The only thing is – I keep seeing variations that I could knit! I suppose I have to draw the line at some point and just stick to what has decided to come off the needles.
So while you are waiting for the pattern to dry, I thought I’d bore you with the story of how I came to design.
In the 70’s, when I was a child, my parents lived in Malaysia. Back then, my mother decided it was more practical to have the family’s clothes tailor-made. Being of British build, we were much larger framed than the tiny locals, and finding clothing that fit was a real issue (even though my mother was skeletally thin, and we were active, slim children with a Chinese dad).
It was fantastic for me – I’d sketch the designs of what I wanted to wear, and my mother would take me and my crude drawings to the dressmaker, who would then manifest my wishes in beautiful fabrics of cool cotton (and once, a gorgeous forest green silk from a recycled sari we got at a school jumble sale!)
When we moved back to New Zealand, there was a bit of a clash of tastes between by-now highly opinionated teen-aged daughter and mother, and she ended up giving me a small allowance to buy my own clothes, rather than face the trauma of going to town with me. The only thing is… the allowance didn’t quite cover what it cost to buy clothing. Many of you will remember that back then, it was actually cheaper to make your own clothes than buy them. So I took to sewing and knitting for myself and my younger siblings too. I even made my mother a couple of things – she still wears one of the tops, 20 years later!
I decided then that I wanted to be a designer when I “grew up”, and was even offered a job as a seamstress with a local design house after I left school. For many reasons that I won’t go into here (although lack of mentoring, encouragement and confidence to pursue design would have had a large part to play in this) I ended up going on to study in the business field, living in Hong Kong, working in a corporate environment, raising three children, and that was the end of my creating. Or so I thought.
Fast forward nearly 20 years, and I found myself back in New Zealand where, thanks to my sister, I rediscovered a passion for knitting!
I suppose it was inevitable that the “picky” in me would start to want to do my own thing with knitting like I did with clothing all those years ago.
It is fortunate that I have a ‘real’ job to rely on to pay the bills, but it’s nice to have come full circle in a way. I sometimes wonder what life would be like for me now had I stuck to my guns and gone on to design school. Ah well, we cannot regret what has happened in our lives, but at least I can still design, after a fashion.