I’ve been making a vest for the lad, in the manner of Sooz, as we say in the art history trade. Mine is red, and not as neat, and I keep making mistakes in what is actually a very simple pattern. Every time I look at the mistakes I imagine my high school Textiles teacher. She was a woman who worked tirelessly to cure us of ever sewing, cooking or knitting for pleasure. Periodically I feel inclined to send her note letting her know she failed.

Dear Mrs Omond,

I’m still not very good at knitting, but I’m very grateful that there were women who liked knitting, and me, enough to share the pleasure of it. It’s a shame you weren’t one of them.



P.S. Given that you didn’t seem to like teenage girls very much, why on earth did you become a teacher in a girls secondary college?

P.P.S. My brother did my rug-making assignment for me so I wouldn’t fail, I couldn’t get the hook thing to work and I was too scared to ask again for help. It’s not a skill I’ve regretted not knowing.

She was the sort of woman who didn’t notice when four girls from one family submitted the same knitted doll (originally knitted by their mother) for the year 7 knitting assessment task. They all got different marks. Two of the girls were twins, but as they were in different classes, they submitted the doll in different semesters.

One of my other friends submitted a doll she’d bought at a church fete. She got a B.