This intriguing and ingenious pullover was donated to the Museum in 1991, and features three different panels, each with buttons or buttonholes at shoulder and side, enabling the wearer to switch fronts and backs to create new looks. Until recently not much was known about it other than the name of the donor, and in fact, given its subdued colours, it was assumed by staff to have been knitted for a male. A little detective work later and contact was made with the donor, who was also the knitter, and a wonderful story emerged.
Doreen was born in England in 1928, and when she knitted this pullover for herself in Kent in 1946 she was just 18 years old. Knitting was an important part of everyday life, and at that time wool was only available through coupons, so the interchangeable panels of the design was useful.
Doreen adapted the moss-stitch pattern to incorporate motifs she found interesting, often copying them from cross-stitch patterns, or plotting them herself on graph paper. At the time she was very involved in the Conservative party in Gravesend, Kent. She worked as a secretary for the political agent, so she incorporated heraldic devices associated with the Conservative party into the design.
In 1968 Doreen migrated to South Australia. She brought the pullover with her as a useful, versatile and favourite item of clothing. A lifelong and accomplished knitter, Doreen is still creating these pullovers now, and has carefully stored her old patterns. I was absolutely delighted to speak to Doreen on the phone and in person, and to see the amazingly creative yarn work she does.