A few of our favourite things

Doreen's pullover

Corinne Ball's picture

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.  Volunteer Corinne takes Doreen's pullover out of its storage box

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. 


how inspirational would be very trendy now too. whome ever patents it please do xl and xxl seizes too.
How wonderful!
How wonderful!
How great to have found the original knitter and to hear the story of this piece. I wonder why this wasn't recorded when the piece was first donated.
Thanks all for the comments, we're rather smitten with the pullover ourselves (some keen knitters on staff and some plans in the wings for a possible project).Dot I believe when the pullover was donated there were a large number of objects being accessioned all at once, and only the basic information on the pullover was taken from the donor, though other aspects of her story were recorded. We're very fortunate to have fantastic volunteers like Corinne to delve deeper into the stories of some of our collection.

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