I’m officially an inhabitant of the capital’s most moth ridden borough.
Yep, Hackney is the Mecca for moths according to my most trusted sources. I don’t doubt it, either. The little devils have been causing havoc at no. 60C. They’ve wormed their way into my food cupboard, laying their eggs on every bit of scrumptious food I have. The tighter I wrap up my almonds, muesli and biscuits, the more determined they become on making these foodie delights their nesting ground.
But it’s not so much the food moths that bother me. A bag of almonds can be replaced, I can have toast instead of muesli and and biscuits are bad for me anyway.
It’s the clothes moths that are the real problem. The thought of my precious knits being munched on – Oh, it doesn’t bear thinking of! Take my food, ye moths but spare my clothes! I mean, come on – I bet wool doesn’t even taste nice.
I anxiously anticipate the (inevitable?) day when I open my wardrobe only to discover that my entire collection of wool jackets and silk dresses have suddenly acquired what I’ll call the hole-punch effect. In a desperate bid to waylay this day, I’ve scattered my wardrobe with cedar wood balls, lavender bags and and sticky fly-paper things (which do indeed seem to catch the moths but which also catch any unsuspecting item of clothing that mistakenly brushes against it. And boy, does this stuff stick).
As we inch into that familiar cold wetness of Autumn, I’ve been looking to add to my wardrobe some clothing of the woolen kind. The vintage woolen kind. Something from the 40s or 50s to be precise. But I’ll tell you, it’s been a devil of a job finding anything to fit the bill. Where, oh where did all the knits go?
And herein I shall present you with my highly academic hypothesis: It’s the moths wot dunnit.
That’s right, I portion full blame on those pesky moths for riddling with holes every last peter-pan collared cardigan and puff-sleeved, boat-neck jumper that was to emerge from my favourite two decades. Those beautiful hand-knitted creations, the likes of which Keira and Sienna prance about in in The Edge of Love have been destroyed by the very plainest of the winged creatures, the moth.
There’s simply no other explanation.
You see, even if money was no objet (which I sometimes pretend is the case), I’m just not seeing this kind of vintage knitwear for sale. Sure, the vintage shops of Shoreditch are packed with rails and rails of oversized 70s knitted monstrosities but I’ll be dashed if I can find a dainty woolen top from the 50s or a Land Girl’s sweater from the 40s.
All I want is a cute, cropped knit. Is that really so much to ask?
Now I know such things existed. They did. They absolutely did. And I know this because my quests for such items forever result in vintage knitting patterns – each with a photo of a delightful young lady sporting various interpretations of the woolen jumper. Bobbles, cable-knits, fairisle patterns … all manner of variations can be found from a quick search on Ebay.
As you can imagine, it’s been during these rather unfruitful searches that I’ve wished that I’d learnt to knit. Oh, how I long to be able to whip up some wooly, puff-sleeved delight!
So whilst I’ve the grandest of plans to wear knitwear made from vintage patterns, the stumbling point seems to be on the actual production line. I can get the designs, no problem. I can source the most delightful wools and I can even provide some excellent listening material for the production process (my new job in audio books will see to that). There is just one last question: who’ll be my knitter?