Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Princess is somewhere in row 84, and here is a picture of her. Admire, of course, but notice that all of the motifs are simple, the beauty lying in the fineness of the yarn (which is strangely easy to deal with) and the skill of the arrangement. The edging isn't simple, though. That was seriously tough, and there's more to come at the end.


The current issue of SlipKnot, the journal of the Knitting and Crochet Guild, has an enthusiastic review of the Yarn Harlot's book “for Women who knit too much”. The reviewer quotes with approval, “’Heirloom’ is knitting code for ‘This pattern is so difficult that you would consider death a relief.’”

The Harlot can be forgiven, perhaps, being Canadian and all. But the KCG is meant to be British and should, I feel, temper its mirth in the certain knowledge that Sharon Miller's “Heirloom Knitting” is the most important knitting book to be published in English for a long, long time.

EZ remarks somewhere that cobweb yarn is – I quote from memory – “almost unknittable with”. There’s no accounting for prejudice, and no doubt that it turns up sometimes where least expected.

Now that I have mastered so much of the 21st century – blogging, eBay, Flickr and Runescape – I feel I would like to add that trick where you draw lines around part of a photograph – to point out, for instance, where the big feathers are beginning in my Princess border – and/or add comments, facetious or otherwise, in rectangular boxes. Does that require an expensive photo-editing program?

Speaking of which, I have never thanked you, Debi, for the URL of the eBay sniping programme. ( I knew that such things existed, but had assumed that you had to pay. I will certainly have a look at this one the next time eBay comes up with a VKB for me. All is quiet at the moment.

Nor have I written yet about my recent acquisitions, in which I delight. If I ever complete the sequence, there will be an essay to be written about the evolution of VKB, which will be the same as the evolution of the knitting magazine. When did the editor start adding a few words at the beginning, for example? A knitting magazine without a few words from the editor is unthinkable now. My pre-war VKB’s launch straight into the patterns. The war-time ones have prefaces. But I need the complete sequence to find the first one.

When did multiple sizing come in? No. 24, spring 1944, has a Shetland twin-set for adolescents in three sizes, but otherwise it’s the old take-it-or-leave it: bust 34, hips 37. There are a few patterns “for the fuller figure” and even they are one size only, bust 38 (for most) or 40 (on one of them).

And when was there first a photograph on the cover, instead of a drawing? That will be one of the immediate post-war issues, but which?

I happened to read the other day that “Woman” and “Women’s Own” – older British readers will know where I’m coming from – weren’t published during the war, to save newsprint. It seems to me very wise of the Ministry of Paper to have known that knitters – who were certainly fully employed knitting socks and helmets for fighting men – deserved and needed their twice-yearly fix of VKB.

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