a knitwear love story/words
1. Once, in a crowded cupboard, a super plain crew neck jumper met a V neck button up cardigan. It turned out they had quite a lot in common.
2. Both were said to be classics, which they agreed is a mixed blessing, to be simultaneously indispensible but also kind of invisible. They were the same school jumper referencing grey marl – well, as long as you were squinting in partial light, which the cupboard was. (Strictly, in shade card terms they would have a different number but love is, initially at least, blind.) After some clumsy third party outfit hunt rummaging forced first shy surface contact, they realised they were even made of the same yarn - 85% fine merino wool/ 15% cashmere - albeit in different gauges: Crew was an average weight 12 gauge, Cardigan a warmer chunkier 9 – smaller numbers meaning bigger things in the invert world of knit specification. They were both proud of bearing the markings of being fully-fashioned, of the extra effort and skill it had required on the knit bed of their origin. And both being part cashmere were totally terrified of moths - which drew them closer. Though shared fear can go either way...
3. Despite the long list of similarities, it was their differences that fascinated. At the start let's be honest, Crew was keener. Cardigan just seemed so worldly. It had been freely worn by both men and women, the right over left masculine doing-up thing a detail easily overlooked in the modern world. After all, they are just buttons and holes - how you use them is up to you.
4. So Cardi got around. It was easy going and could be worn with more or less anything. It's comfy pockets relaxed everyone. It frequently accompanied other items on unpredictable climate trips, just in case, getting shared between friends and lovers feeling the cold, and generally saw the world. Plus Crew really liked Cardigan’s sleeve seams - a bit fetishy really and something only a technician would normally notice. You see, whereas Crew's raglan seams were simple diagonals from neck rib to underarm, Cardigan’s saddle sleeve seams shot straight out before dropping steeply mid shoulder. This seemed utterly wild to the sheltered Crew. Such are the minor incidentals, amplified and recalled later as signifiers of fate and fit in the first stages of romance.
5. Crew was a lot less experienced than Cardigan. It tried to remember that super plain is the new totally fancy, but the limited possibilities of it's wear – on or off basically, maybe with something underneath - a collar showing if you were feeling preppy – made unadorned Crew seem more of an ordinary commitment. It knew it could appear dull. Crew was also pretty small and had shrunk even more since first wash, so in fashion terms could only be worn with bigger things, for volume and proportion reasons. In reality Crew had only ever hung out with an A line midi skirt and some oversized trousers, plus very occasionally a short jean – that was it. Maybe Cardigan liked Crew’s innocence.
6. It wasn’t long after this first meeting that they both began to change. They copied each other's mannerisms, and grew so close that they started to kind of mutate. Crew wanted to be more open and adaptable! Cardigan wanted to be snugger, coveted a smaller, rounder neck hole. Or did it just want the possibility of an extra sleeve, shorter for warmer weather, that could also serve as an extra neck hole? They both tried that. But who has 3 arms - does that even work? They both went through a polo neck phase, and got into some experimental contortions trying new things. Stuff got crazy!
7. Of course not everything worked out - there were some style casualties. Parts got cut and scattered. They did a lot of soul searching about the true nature of their identities. Cardigan wondered if it was really ready to give up it's button/holes. Are we trans-seasonal now they asked themselves. Have we gone too far? How will we fit in?
8. Can knitwear have a happy ever after? Does a classic really exist? Does true longevity require stricter boundaries, or the opposite? Is romantic love just an alluring blend of co-dependency and competition? Will pilling and moths, or a final fatal shrink get them? Or will they simply tire of their merging togetherness? But let’s not think too far into the future. For now they are sort of perfect. And remember, even classics don't want to be boring.