'My son stopped hugging me so I knitted a new one'
MY 12-year-old son Rover moodily put his earphones in and stared at his iPod.
"We're bored!" my eldest son Bor, 13, groaned.
Looking out the window, I let out a sigh. My husband, Arjen, and I had taken the boys on holiday to a cabin in the country. While I relished the peace and quiet, no electricity, no wi-fi and no television meant by teenagers were in their own personal hell!
Rover and Bor had always been loving kids, never forgetting to give their mum a kiss before bed or when they left the house. Lately though, now they were going through puberty, I was the big bad wolf that made them come on family holidays and took away the wi-fi.
"They never said raising teenagers would be this hard," I joked to Arjen.
As we lounged around the cabin, I realised I was a little bored too. A textile designer and knitter, I often made unusual creations such as food and body parts out of wool, so I'd brought my needles.
Sitting down next to Rover and Bor, I looked at them with a sly grin.
"I might knit myself a new son," I announced, watching for their reactions.
They both just scoffed.
"Go on then," Rover egged me on.
I had spools of wool in almost every colour - so I got straight to work. Using Rover as my muse, I started knitting a woollen skin-suit. I started with the face - measuring Rover's to make sure it would fit.
By the time I'd finished the head, my boys thought it was hilarious. I then worked my fingers to the bone knitting a full-scale teenage boy, using 35 balls of wool!
Back home after our trip, I carried on with my creation. I gave him a blue cap, a sweatshirt with the words 'Punk's Not Dead', trousers and some sneakers.
After two months, my handiwork was complete. He looked like a mix of both my boys - but made of wool! Dragging my new knitted son suit into the living room, I showed him off.
"Say hello to your new brother," I told Rover and Bor. Used to my wacky knitting inventions, they both just rolled their eyes.
"Because you don't cuddle me anymore, I'll cuddle him!" I laughed.
As the suit fit Rover perfectly, I convinced him to try it on so we could do a little photo shoot. When he walked out, I laughed hysterically.
"I can't see!" he said in a muffled voice.
Taking him by the hand, I guided him out the front of our house. I had him pose on a skateboard, listen to an iPod, eat junk food and even pick his nose.
When I looked through the pictures after, I just knew I had to share them. Posting them online, I wrote a little spiel about my teenage sons.
"We used to cuddle all the time, but those days are becoming scarce. I am a good mother, so of course I accept this and I am happy he is a healthy kid," I wrote. "We laugh a lot about the stretching gap between his needs and mine. Him needing more of his own space and my needs to keep on smothering him with maternal love. So I suggested I make a cuddly version of him!"
Incredibly, thousands of people were fascinated with my knitted son. Lots of cruel people called me creepy and weird - but they just didn't get the joke. Some even asked me to knit full-size versions of their children - but I had to say no.
After my knitted son became a viral sensation, I did start making other real-life crocheted suits.
I was commissioned to knit a woollen version of the famous comedian Jimmy Carr and I put my skills to the test by knitting Donald Trump. I chose him because I wanted to create a woollen version of the deadly sin 'greed'!
My woollen son still comes out to play sometimes when we fancy a laugh, but the rest of the time he sits on a mannequin in my design studio. He has spent some time at a textiles exhibition too.
Two years on, Rover, 14, is now two-heads taller than his knitted twin. And he and Bor, 15, both cuddle me more than ever. It seems like my little plan worked!
Knitting and family are both my passions. I just combined them!