Well, the cupboard is tidy, the New Yorker clippings have been found somewhere else entirely, two VKB’s not in my collection have turned up on eBay, and I am making progress towards finding good homes for my oddballs. I am going to count every single one of them as they leave the house, and give myself credit on my yarn-in/yarn-out spreadsheet. This’ll be the best year ever.
eBay is sort of scary for a novice. The end of the auction is next Saturday, when we’ll be back here after our sojourn in London. I gather one sits at one’s keyboard with one’s finger poised as the seconds tick down. Or something. I have entered a bid which is about half of a reasonable price (judging from Abebooks) and perhaps one-third of what I would be willing to pay.
I discovered just now that the Yarn Harlot is about to launch herself into the knitting of a gansey without thorough preparation. I will have to follow her progress. Up to now she has been only an occasional read for me.
Brown-Reinsel recommends charting every single stitch before you start. Bugger that, thought I, but I’m now far enough along that I see what she means. I put a lot of effort into getting the spine-stitch of one of those trees dead-centre on the front. What I didn’t do, was think hard enough about where I would be in the pattern when I hit the neckline. I am now afraid that I might have to cut off a tree in the middle, if the sweater is not to be too short or too long. I am thinking again about having a shoulder section perhaps of moss stitch which could begin after the last complete tree.
I have a pattern which I think I bought in the Kirkcaldy Art Museum, of something called the Buckhaven Gansey, pretty plain but with a shoulder treatment as I describe.
I’m not all that far off the point where I’ll have to start the underarm gusset – and from there, I have pretty well committed myself to the overall length.
I made a big swatch for this one, remember. But the trouble with swatching, I have always found, is the element of uncertainty which remains. I think often of the “strangely dishevelled” Major Erskine in Evelyn Waugh’s “Men at Arms” – “His uniform was correct and clean but it never seemed to fit him, not through any fault of the tailor’s, but rather because the major seemed to change shape from time to time during the day. One moment his tunic seemed too long, the next, too short…”
Meanwhile the knitting of the shrug proceeds here in the metropolis. Granddaughter Hellie, for whom it is ultimately destined, is coming to see us today, from Newcastle where she is at university.
I ask myself how I got into this. By buying the yarn and pattern over-hastily is the answer. I will soon come to an instruction which reads, “Increase and work into pattern one stitch at beginning of next row and 23 following alternate rows and at the same time increase one stitch at end of next row and 7 following 8th rows.” I haven’t done that sort of thing for years. I thought it went out with the VKB of late ’48.
Ted, you’re not far wrong about the eggbox. It was for chitting potatoes in.