the sweater

what if we expected our clothing to be a relationship for life?

the sweater i’ve been living in (you may have noticed it playing a supporting role in a couple of minute-films of late) took me a year of small work, stolen between tasks, usually at the end of long days, while traveling to see my folks or visiting with friends. it was so worth it.

now it keeps me cosy in all the sweater-weather that I love to go outside in, all the cold and damp of island life, riding my bicycle, walking the goats, working in the winter orchard.

i look to so many elders, all the grandmothers and great-aunts who taught me to knit and to my mother who could sew a whole wedding party’s-worth of clothes, for keeping a thread of clothing production at home, in our own hands.

this is the sunday sweater pattern from mette @petiteknit, who designs reliable classics. i know many of you are knitters, this one was astonishingly easy (especially compared to the delicately cabled hat i am struggling through) i’m just a slow knitter these days.

we love the work of london urban textile collective @londonurbantc and most especially their bicycle-powered sewing machine Sweat Shop, where you can jump on a sewing-bike at an event and they’ll sew you up a sweat-shirt on the spot, playing with all kinds of revelations around what it takes to make our clothing. productive performance art-activism is my favourite.

a wink and a nod to the national film board @onf_nfb because i will always adore “The Sweater”, staple of a canadian childhood and original source of my first love for the short film.

and a shout! out! to local knitting, weaving and spinning groups who educate and support each other to keep these practices alive for a future we want to see. the island i live on is particularly rich for this humble work — and this is ecological and economic activism. this is the small work.

— in other news, i shall not be wearing my sweater today as i have very mucky work to do — we are planning to build a hotbed! have you worked with one of these? this one in particular will be for seed-starting, all being well. wish us luck!

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