Wild knitting

LIKE many Australian women, what I really wanted for Mother’s Day was a plate of paid maternity leave with a side of quality, tax-deductible child care.

Sadly, the Australian Prime Minister and his flunkies are like a gaggle of well-meaning youngsters who promise mum breakfast in bed, then struggle with the harsh realities of the modern kitchen.

A Productivity Commission inquiry is cooking away, but it’s hard to imagine the economic rationalists signing off on something as revenue-sapping as supporting women while they feed new humans with their boobs and provide indulgent one-on-one care. We breeders haven’t given up hope but do suspect that by midday we’ll wander downstairs — still unfed — in our fluffy new slippers to discover the bacon has been scrambled, the eggs have been toasted and once again it’s up to us to deal with the mess.

While we wait to see whether the Government does eventually materialise with our croque-madame and champagne mimosa (though even a boiled egg with a couple of toast soldiers would suffice), I’m thrilled to report that this Mother’s Day I received the next best thing to equitable workplace reform: a rare, first edition copy of Wild Knitting edited by knitphomaniac Angela Jeffs.

Wild Knitting first hit the Mother’s Day catalogues back in 1979 and has developed a cult following on the internet.

It promises to liberate purlsters from the dowdy shackles of old-fashioned patterns and uninviting yarns by introducing a glittering knitting world that is “wilder than your wildest dreams”.

It’s a big call, particularly when you’re talking moss stitch and cables, but Jeffs delivers. Hers may be the only knitting guide in history to feature topless models and a porntastic string swimsuit that was clearly the inspiration for Borat’s lime-green mankini in Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

If you please to make happy-happy sexy time by the seaside, all you need is a small ball of metallic yarn, some thick fuse wire and a bunch of artificial flower stamens.

A couple of rows of garter stitch later and wawaweewa. You’ve completed your very own forget-me-not bikini, guaranteed to disintegrate on contact with water or movement.

Wild Knitting’s risque after-five wear includes a spider cocktail hat spun from black garbage bags and a sparkling top that calls for not one, not two, but 600 sequins that are individually attached for devastating effect. (Also devastating is the effect this may have on knitters’ carpal tunnels.)

Must-have accessories include very large hair, blue eyeliner that looks as if it were applied with a garden trowel during Earth Hour and — I am not making this up — knitted cigarettes and lighters. Chic members of the knitterati are encouraged to display the latter in odd corners to surprise and provide talking points at parties.

Men, meanwhile, can blend in with the landscape in a pastoral pullover that features a three-dimensional rural landscape of rolling hills and valleys complete with a sheep flock, a shepherd and dog, telegraph poles, sheaves of wheat, bushy trees and, the piece of resistance, an opening and closing gate made of pipe cleaners and yet more knitting.

This terrifying garment, which looks like a post-holocaust cockroach whose internal organs have recently become outside wear, is teamed with a blue-sky beanie with white fluffy clouds and a bristling sun pompom.

Wild Knitting’s other offerings for adventurous chicks with sticks include:

  • A saucy, all-knitted stockings and suspender belt set.
  • A poo-brown armadillo wrap that brings out the tactile scaliness of the animal to perfection.
  • A knitted fake-brick patio floor rug paired with an exotic all-knitted indoor trellis sporting knitted clematis, honeybees and insects.
  • A knitted tie in the shape of an opened tin of sardines.

While most modern women don’t have time to whip up Jeffs’ three-piece set of knitted fruit beanbags for the rumpus room, perhaps a revised Wild Knitting edition aimed at Canberra’s powers that be could include a pattern for a new generation of knitted taxpayers. These, of course, will be required when women decide they can no longer afford the time off work to rustle up a replacement population the old-fashioned way.

- originally published in The Australian on 15-5-08

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One Comment on "Wild knitting"

  1. Emma
    Floating Shelves 
    12/10/2010 at 11:30 am Permalink

    knitting is my favorite hobby because it is enjoyable and you are also productive at the same time”*:

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