My knitting skills are pretty basic but sufficient to make some reasonably presentable treats for new arrivals. While I was contemplating yet another pair of bootees for a pregnant friend, I suddenly thought that I’d never actually knitted anything for me. The closest I’ve ever come was a jumper for my Sindy doll. As I recall, it was a little pale blue, long-sleeved number, which took me most of a school Christmas holiday and a lot of interventions from my ever-patient mum. As it turned out Sindy didn’t even have the grace to look good in the finished article, so the poor jumper languished unloved in the bottom of her bright pink carry case/wardrobe. Perhaps this early trauma has made me avoid creating garments for myself.
I’m now attempting to put this to rights by knitting something just for me. It’s an apron. If the thought of a knitted apron freaks you out, I must confess it did the same to me at first. I’ve developed a bit of a thing for aprons. I think they’re the closest you can get to an acceptable adult security blanket. It’s a really pleasing feeling to come home, change out of my work clothes and head to the kitchen to pop on a pinny. I have three favourites that hang on a wooden peg in the kitchen. There’s something very comforting about the ritual of putting the band over my head, taking a pleat in the fabric around my waist and wrapping the ties to the back and bringing them around to the front to tie a bow. (I have to be held back if I visit Anthropologie; they boast the most delicious selection of aprons ever. I could very easily swell my collection to the point where it requires its own wardrobe!)
When I come out of the kitchen, the apron stays on and makes me feel cosy for the whole evening. Come the winter, what could be better than turning up the cosy dial with a knitted apron? I think I will need to adopt the 1950s housewife idea of an apron for different occasions – something practical and washable for the kitchen, then the pristine flouncy number for playing the perfect hostess. (I’m sure I glimpsed Mad Men’s Betty Draper in a chiffon apron.) Don’t worry, I don’t intend to play hostess in a knitted apron, just to keep it out of the kitchen, as spilled food and wool are just not a dream combination.
The whole idea of a knitted apron came with the purchase of Jane Brocket’s The Gentle Art of Knitting. Her view on what she calls ‘gentle knitting’ really appeals to me as I’m content with a bit of stocking stitch and comfortable with the fact I will never reach the giddy heights of lace or cables. There it was 0n page 52, a linen-knit apron with a choice of two simple patterns. The book lay open at that page on the sofa for a couple of days, then I could resist no longer and I headed off to buy supplies from Wool. I stuck with Jane’s suggestion of an oyster-coloured background but swapped her red stripe for a duck-egg blue. I cast on the necessary 143 stitches with the thought that I could be wearing my new security blanket by autumn but here we are, almost November, and I have only enough of an apron to cover my knees. A single row takes over five minutes, so I may be some while yet. Maybe that’s another reason why I’ve never knitted anything for myself before. I promise to persevere.