Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I did it – I resumed Princess knitting, and the experience was fully as wonderful as I remembered. Like reading Latin or Henry James. I am currently employed in the early part of row 147 of the border.

Things become even more fun after row 180 when what Sharon Miller calls “sprouting seed” motifs appear on the top of the motifs to the left and right of the central “feather” in this picture. They look a lot like motifs on Paisley shawls. All the “sprouting seeds” must nod towards the central “feather” of the whole border; thus, half of them nod to the left, half to the right. It doesn’t look too difficult to me, but I know some Princess-knitters have found it tough.

The whole border has 220 rows. And that will leave, I fear, most of the shawl still to knit.

The pattern was published in a limited edition, 250 copies I think, and although it will eventually re-appear on the Heirloom Knitting site, for now, that’s all. I am constantly surprised at how many of us are actually knitting it, from so small a base.

I don’t know what to do about interleaving it with little-boy-sweater knitting. Alternating days doesn’t feel right: the Princess is so demanding an intellectual experience that one wants to remain immersed in it. For the moment, I don’t need to worry. The presence of our friends from Boston next week will ensure (I hope) that the little-boy-sweater makes great progress, and the Princess none. Then we’ll see.

Other knitting…

While we were in Strathardle last week, I at last got hold of the schedule of the Home Industries Tent for this year’s Games. The knitting is truly disgusting. The choice is between a “knitted toy” and a “teddy for tragedies” which has to be donated. A pattern is provided for the latter. Talk about choice.

The last time something like this happened, I took refuge in the Handicrafts section, where they asked for a “hat (any craft)”. I knit them a tammy, and won first prize. Which is not to be compared with winning a first in the Knitting section. But this year Handicrafts offers so such escape.

So I’ll have to knit a toy.

There’s a rather nice sheep in the brand new issue of Knitting magazine. The trouble with that is (a) I’d have to buy some fluffy novelty wool to represent the fleece and (b) all the competitors will see Knitting, or have it pointed out by friends.

I’m going to try to repeat this mermaid, which I knit for granddaughter Hellie in 1992 or some such year. She loved it to death, and might be glad of a replacement. I have got plenty of yarn in appropriate colours in stash, some probably left over from the original. And nobody else, I’m willing to wager, is going to knit a mermaid.

In a pretty untidy house, my knitting archives are in rather good condition, you may rightly conclude.


  1. Hi Jean, you could always ask one of your younger grandchildren to draw a "monster" or some thing resembling an uglydoll (see here for examples
    and translate that into something resembling a knitting pattern, thena finished toy. I've seen someone do that with a 3 year old's picture, and translate it into a felt/plush toy for the child to really own and no longer be scared of the monsters she was dreaming of.

    Might make the task slighty more interesting...

  2. Anonymous9:32 AM

    I am not an enthusiastic knitter of toys but the mermaid is very attractive - and whimsical. Much better than a sheep.

    The Princess looks a challenge - a comparison with Henry James or reading Latin. I recently read The Reef by Edith Wharton and rather to my surprise I liked it very much even though it reminded me of Henry James. Maybe I could grow to like Henry James - or even the challenge of Princess type knitting.

  3. do knitters has constantly tidy houses? I know I don't! The competition sounds fun, but quite limited but I do love the idea of the mermaid. Good luck! That shawl took my breath away, I have only knitted one shawl, it was the flower basket shawl from Interweave, and I loved every minute of it but that simple pattern repeat needed full concentration so i can only imagine that your intricate shawl would blow my mind! BOOM!

  4. Anonymous1:40 PM

    Jean - The Princess looks even more lovely than the last time you showed it. My sympathy for you in the competition catagories. I too, have knit toys upon request, but find them tedious. Good luck.

  5. Well, my daughter saw the mermaid, so now I`ve promised her to knit one too. Could have been worse I suppose...she likes unicorns almost as much as mermaids!

    I`m sure you`ll score highly on the originality stakes...and for the knitting, of course. I`m gobsmacked at the Princess....I can barely remember how to do yarn overs at buttonholes.

  6. I gasped when the picture of the princess shawl appeared - it is so delicate and lovely looking - can't wait to see it in all its glory.

  7. Anonymous2:25 AM

    Welcome back, Princess! I love your analogy between knitting the shawl and reading Henry James (sadly I have no point of reference regarding the Latin). So true. I'm having a similar experience with the wedding ring shawl--hard to believe that one row of knitting can be so absorbing for an hour or so at a time.