Saturday, September 23, 2006

Nearly done with row 131. We’ll have another picture when I finish 138 and turn to the third and final page of the Princess border chart.

Here’s the sweater by the to-remain-unnamed Famous Designer who used the idea from Odham’s Encyclopedia of Knitting (see yesterday) of having a colour sequence which does not coincide with the stitch pattern. It turns out she does it more my way than James Norbury’s: she has four background colours in a 12-row repeat of three rows each; and five pattern colours in a 15-row repeat. So, three rows per colour on each appearance, which is normal. She starts off with one row of the first pattern colour so that thereafter pattern and background change on different rows. That’s normal, too.

09-23-2006 08;26;41AM
The stitch pattern, meanwhile, repeats over 32 rows. I will try to find a photograph of the sweater I once knit using this system and this stitch pattern. I think it was basically green. There weren’t many colour pattern charts to be had in those days; Odham’s Encyclopedia was a treasure-store.

I am still much taken with the idea of doing a sweater James Norbury’s way: a 12-row (or whatever) repeat of the colours, graded and related to each other, on an all-over pattern with a number of rows not divisible by 12. I wonder if Thomas-the-Elder would wear a Fair Isle sweater, now that he has grown to man’s estate? Rachel’s children, including Thomas, spend adolescence in fleeces and things like that; sweaters don’t figure.

(Tamar, I am by now utterly sure that you are right and Norbury was wrong and this idea is not traditional at all.)

Of course I could do Alexander’s forthcoming sweater that way – not a stitch has yet been cast on, let alone knit. But I am enamoured of the idea of having the pattern flow magically down the sleeves and over the shoulder, and I think that effect will work better with a simple pattern worked in colours which coincide with it.

Kitchener Stitch

I heard from Jayne yesterday, with exciting news – a 1918 citation for “Kitchener toe”. Galvanised into action, I wrote to the Canadian and the British Red Crosses, and to Kim Salazar. More on this tomorrow.


This very afternoon five issues I want will be auctioned on eBay. My agent and I had better not get our wires crossed – if we bid against each other, I will wind up actually having to pay out the absurd sum I am going to bid for each one. By now, there has been some bidding, not very much. No 28 (that’s one of Helen’s targets) is up to £9.38. The one I regard as the gem of the lot, no. 10, on which I shall be bidding by my trembling self, is still on one bid, £2.95, the upset price; and 30 and 35 have no bids at all.


Janet, thank you for drawing my attention to the American Ryder Cup sweaters. I might have missed them altogether. I’ve only seen a rather indistinct picture so far, and like them a lot – narrow bands of Fair Isle fairly widely spaced on a gentle brown background. Maybe there’ll more pictures in today’s papers.

When did the association of golf with colourful knits get started? Was it perhaps the previous Prince of Wales himself who launched it?

“In Germany at Easter time they hide coloured eggs about the house and the garden that the children may amuse themselves in hunting after them and finding them. It is to some such game of hide-and-seek that we are invited by that power which planted in us the desire to find out what is concealed, and stored the universe with hidden things that we might delight ourselves in discovering them.” A.E. Housman


  1. Anonymous1:56 PM

    I really enjoy your blog. Have done some lace knitting with jumper weight and with cotton but have not tried something smaller. Have been thinking of ordering a kit from Jamieson and Smith. I am a Canadian living in Mexico and find it difficult to find wool there. On my trips home I stock up on materials and usually take a Fair Isle pack back to Mexico to knit. Thanks for entertainig me. I would so like to learn more about the technique you were describing.

  2. Anonymous3:54 AM

    I'm thinking that the un-named designer has a shop on Kinnerton St in London??? I may have the spelling wrong . Why not name her??