The word “crop-top” was still decennia from being “imported” along with other brand mentality jargon. Perhaps, it did was not even widely around back then. I think, I still came across the word “tank-top” for the scanty, sporty midriff things showing the belly button, which paved way for the crop-top… My Mom unravelled some old sweaters - or one sweater in different colours - production of Sovlegprom (abbreviation for Soviet light industry). Or was it made in Pribaltika? Up there they used to turn out better quality, knitwear among other things - not quite like the dowdry Soviet fashion. So getting your hands on such a garment you could always deem yourself lucky lotted. But even goods from Pribaltica were terminal. And they went out of style and fashion, too. I liked the colours! The yarn would lie around for some time before I gave it a new life.
The thread was broken in many places. When Mom had started unravelling the sweater, she found out that the machine-knitted cardigan front’s each row came to an abrupt end. So she tied the yarn together. The balls were numerous and full of knots yet the yarn itself was fine and soft, and the knots were inconspicuous. Plenty of knots - to be pushed to the seamy side of whatever I was going to make. I don’t even remember how I got the idea. But I knew wanted to crochet it rather than knit. The thread was too delicate for knitting with needles - just perfect for a simple crochet pattern.
Perhaps, it was the case of virtue out of necessity, and they became crop-tops as there was not enough yarn for something longer. But I remember that I wanted it that way. I decided to wear the more open, darker top over polo-necks for cold season. The light one was good for warm weather. I still keep the tops. It is always hard to part with such things, although I threw out almost everything I had sewn or knitted back then – even the classic draped-front pencil skirt and crop-top duo that I liked so much. But the cheap synthetic fabric – what was available to us - stuck to your legs at every step. Even antistatic sprays didn’t help. The idea was gorgeous, though, and now I have a kind of spin-off in my wardrobe - although the original skirt was long, and the top had regular long sleeves and wasn’t furled at the hem. But the front drapery for a pencil skirt has been my love ever since. I actually wore the original a lot despite the clinging synthetics! Even have a snapshot or two left.
The darker crop-top was adorned with openwork around the neck, the hem and at the sides. Looking at the light one, when it was ready, I decided to try a white rim. It looked cute so I left it. Remember getting compliments on both my works. A girl once even asked to borrow the light crop-top from me for a disco. It was someone who had affluent parents and cool clothes from “izza bugra” (from across the border – usually with reference to trendy Western-made goods). So it was a definite recognition, of sorts.
Oddly enough, so much time has passed since then, but you can still hardly find yarn of the same quality. Gosh, the market is glutted! The prices are exorbitant, but 90% of it is trash unless you buy some extra-expensive Italian wool so that a sweater costs half a regular monthly pension save the work because you don’t count it in when you knit it yourself. Add the risk that the thing may not have the intended look, or the fine “Italian wool” may start to clot or get stretched in washing… But the woes of buying knitting yarn here are another story.