Monday, February 11, 2013

Knitting Mystery

Photo Credit starshaped
I first heard about Loes Veenstra from AmpuTeeHee
Since 1955, Loes Veenstra has knitted over 550 sweaters and stored them in her home on the 2nd Carnissestraat in Rotterdam. The sweaters have never been worn.
Just take a second to absorb the enormity of that. Loes and her massive collection were discovered, put into a museum collection and a book was made about her work. As a surprise, the guy who put the book together organized a flashmob of people wearing her sweaters.

The video is very happy and joyful, but I couldn't stop wondering why she did it. Why did she knit sweaters and then hoard them? Did she have no desire to wear them herself? Did she have no one to give them to? She people ask her to knit her a sweater, but she refused since she already had a hundred sweaters packed away and she didn't want to break her record? Or was she just a knitwear designer or a test knitter for a pattern company?

I fell into the internet and all I could discover was that she knitted these sweaters to keep busy. And then packed them away for decades. I can't help but think that as exuberant as some of her sweaters look, Loes Veenstra must have lived a pretty sad life. Knitting is warmth. Knitting is love. And she didn't even wear them herself.

This blog post includes some pictures of the exhibit.  And here's a look inside the book about her work that shows more of her sweaters. 

It's the Cosby sweaters that seem saddest to me. They were the height of fashion when she made them, and then she put them in a box instead of showing them off to the world.

Thoughts? Am I just a maudlin killjoy?

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