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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

A Chinese Tale

Lane's post about her daughter's fashion manifesto plucked a random memory from deep within my brain cells.

I learned to knit at about seven, taught by my great-grandma. At nine I knitted my very first jumper. I remember it was bright orange and I was so proud of it. By the age of 16 I'd progressed to elaborate fair-isle and complicated cabling. With nowhere else to go to find new and interesting knitting challenges I decided to design my own!

A new restaurant 'The Mandarin' had opened in town. Kettering's very first, ever, Chinese restaurant. As I passed by a couple of days after it had opened, there, in front of my eyes, was a brilliant idea for my next knitting project.

I could just picture it - my very own unique fashion statement, complete with state of the art Chinese writing encircling my boobs.

The next day I went back and carefully copied some Chinese writing I'd seen on a colourful poster of a Chinese lady serving food in the window. Later, at home, I designed my jumper on graph paper, colouring in the little squares that represented the Chinese writing. I was really chuffed and couldn't wait to get started. I bought the wool the next day.

Two weeks later I wore my latest creation to college, where I was a full-time student taking my O levels. A lad I didn't know offered to buy it off me for a fiver! Everyone loved it and wanted one too. My teachers oooed and ahhhed - especially my Art teacher. How clever I was to actually design it myself! My head (and ego) expanded.

A couple of weeks later, in the corridor at college, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around. It was a Chinese lad.

'Excuse me', he said, 'why have you got Chicken Chop Suey and Fried Rice on your jumper?'

For a split second I thought I'd spilled something down my front. Then it dawned on me.

My inflated ego shrivelled like a popped balloon. I never wore the jumper again.

(By the way, I still love knitting - nearly as much as writing)


Captain Black said...

I can knit.
I even do perl!
Can only do scarfs with fluctuating thickness though.

KAREN said...

That's so funny, though it probably didn't seem so at the time!
My grandma taught me to knit, and I still get the urge every now and then. My husband's still waiting for a replacement jumper for the one I knitted him seven years ago, which is now past it's best!

Tom Foolery said...

Very funny.I can't knit to save my life it takes me hours just to sew on a new button. I'm not house trained you see, although I'm a dab hand with a mop :)

Lane reckons you will like
the writing is on the wall photo posted Sunday over at my blog for you great words Corporate cover-up culture causes cold castigation, creating cranky colleagues. TFX

motherx said...

Very funny. I cant knit to safe my life!! You always write funny things to make me laugh!

Lane said...

Lol! And you'd forgotten that fashion faux pas??
You've reminded me of when I was at college and I used to paint t-shirts for people (probably in return for beer). I used to use random chinese symbols too. God knows what they said:-)
Can't knit. Not one bit:-)