Six sweater siblings by birth order

6 rolled-up sweaters on a mat. In order, 1. grey and scarlet striped 2. grey with coral spots, with grey and scarlet stripes, 4. grey hand knitted tweed, 5. blue and turquoise stripes, 6. mauve and orange.
Six sweaters in order of acquisition: siblings with preordained personalities

After writing about middle children yesterday I considered my family of six sweaters. As siblings, do they have classic birth-order personalities? Of course they do!

No.1. Oldest sister is a responsible overachiever, very classy (Andrea Moore). A perfectionist but a softie (cashmere and merino), hard-working (at work nearly every cold day). Caring for others, or at least just me. And the oldest, purchased yea this many a long year ago. Thoughtful in every way. A peacemaker. All these factors match the traditional personality of the first born child.

An old grey sweater with red spots on the front, one sleeve striped with scarlet, one sleeve plain beige.
The adored oldest sweater: cashmere and merino from Andrea Moore

No.2. Second-born longs unsuccessfully for attention from her owner (me). A gifted mathematician, quite symmetrical. Sometimes feels undervalued and left out. A little unsure of her identity: she was the youngest sweater for a while, then the middle sweater, but now β€” what? The second sweater? Looks a bit like big sister yet is under-appreciated. She feels (correctly) that she is like a spare royal, on the bench for when big sister gets too old and shabby. Bursting with original ideas. Has decided to leave the family home in search of more interesting people.

two sweaters. 1 grey with red spots on the front and tiny grey collar and cuffs. 2. dark blue with asymmetrical collar and border in scarlet and grey stripes both wide and narrow
Neglected sweater No.2 and eccentric sweater No. 3.

No.3. The first of the middle sweaters. A home-made hotch-potch of one cheap boring blue sweater and one shrunken cousin of the glorious No.1 sweater. Merino, of course. Colourful and original if glimpsed in the wild. Confidently struts its stuff in public, but mostly prefers being the observer. Some may consider it bonkers but are too polite to say so. Openly rebels against convention but is friendly, creative, and happy.

No.4. The second middle sweater. A strong, warm, companionable outdoor sweater of homespun wool. Makes many friends. A sociable, hospitable, intelligent sweater, which tickles but does not threaten. Safe, most of the time. Modest about its undoubted creativity. Hint of people pleaser. Hint of rebellion. Yes, all these sweaters so far pass the birth order personality test.

Two woollen sweaters: 1. grey homespun and 2. Blue and turquoise stripes.
Sweaters 4 & 5, comfy and creative

No.5. Another woollen hand-knitted middle sweater, this time with a wild neckline. Brightly coloured, a rapid achiever, versatile and practical. There is no other sweater like this in the entire world. Distinctly odd, a happy genius, has hundreds of admirers. Aesthetically rebellious. Check, check, check.

No.6. The youngest sweater and new favourite. Spoiled and flattered. Adventurous, unexpected, yet non-threatening. Warm and hospitable. Larger than necessary (because of scoring more ice-creams as a child) but carries it off in great style. Colourful, confident, and peripatetic (goes anywhere and everywhere, especially all the fancy places). Has been compared to an eye test for colour blindness.

A mauve and orange merino sweater from Gorman.
The new favourite: orange and mauve merino

The above analysis has demonstrated that this one family of sweaters follows the birth-order personality profiles to a tee.

PS. Believe it or not, this stuff is not actually scientific. I just made it up. I’m an old poet and a middle child: a deadly combination so what did you expect?

PPS. We never called them sweaters. They used to be called jerseys or jumpers, and our mother knitted six new cute and stylish jerseys every winter for me and my true siblings.

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20 thoughts on “Six sweater siblings by birth order

  1. That made me laugh, Rachel… I’m thinking of myself as an undersized colour blindness test… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Except I’m not a knitted jersey either. xx

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      You could have fooled me.

  2. Sadje says:

    Great personality analysis Rachel. πŸ˜€

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Ha ha!

      1. Sadje says:

        To be honest, I don’t fit the middle child profile. More like the first child

  3. judithhb says:

    Wow and wow again. I now have only one sister and probably way more than a dozen sweaters. Maybe I will give each a name, although I can’t attach them to my sister. Or maybe I can, in my mind at least, but would she want all these sweaters?

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      You have set yourself quite a challenge! I know you’ll make it fun.

  4. granny1947 says:

    Six siblings.
    Lucky you!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I know. Wonderful.

  5. Good fun. Not far off 90 years separated the sweaters my Mum knitted for me

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Golly gumdrops. What a mother. Mine spun and knitted for 26 grandchildren and then started all over again.

  6. Cathy Cade says:

    Yes, we called them jumpers. My Nan knitted them for us as children and my favourite had Muffin the Mule on it. Back then it was cheaper to knit them (sometimes from unravelled old jumpers) than it was to buy ready-made. Nowadays, the cost of the wool is a greater deterrent than the time required to knit or crochet (and they always end up the wrong size anyway).

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Very true. The wrong size syndrome means you can sometimes find brand new knitted sweaters in the charity stores. Numbers 4 and 5 are in that category.

  7. That was fun reading. Will they read this post??

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      No but I’ll read it to them at a house concert to night. Number 3 is a little deaf and none of them read well.

  8. Made up?………………..Surely not! They are clearly the life and soul of the party.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      But number 3 can be a bit overwhelmed at parties.

      1. There’s always an introvert!

  9. Ally Bean says:

    Delightful. I see a future for you discussing this on TV shows and podcasts. Because you know this is just wacky enough to be of interest to many people.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Well, I’m considering an advice column for sweaters. Maybe a dating app? O no, they can’t read.

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