Saturday, March 10, 2007

What a day for pleasant surprises.

Our eldest grandson, Thomas-the-Elder, is here, on his way to Murrayfield to watch Scotland, almost certainly, lose to Ireland at rugby. He’ll be out carousing with friends this evening, but spent yesterday evening with his aged grandparents, by whom his company was much enjoyed.

Marcella has written to me with the name of a plant that repels rabbits!

Natalie of The Yarn Yard has written to say that the yarn she dyed for me specially, to knit a sweater for a small grandson, is on its way and should arrive today.


I bought VKB No. 29 on eBay yesterday, for a stiff but not quite black-tulip price. A few minutes later, the same seller sold No. 31 for one-third of what I had just paid. It’s a funny business. It was a highly significant purchase for me, in that I now have all the post-war VKB’s.

I also have a couple of tattered American ones, which I got a fair while ago in a swap with Judy Sumner of Knitlist fame. I looked at them yesterday, and discovered that “Vogue’s Knitting Book, 6th Edition” is copyright 1945. That’s a significant discovery. By 1945, the VKB was well into its second decade. Autumn, 1945, was VKB no. 27. That surely means that the British VKB was the original.

We spent the academic year 1960-61 in Northampton, MA. As I remember it, I didn’t knit at all that year – this was in the days before Webs. But I have a memory, it’s funny how trivial memories sometimes adhere, of picking up Vogue’s Knitting Book in a supermarket and flicking through it and not buying it because I already had the current VKB back home in Glasgow, and the patterns were largely the same.

So what I now need to do is seek out the American eBay and buy a date-able Vogue Knitting from the 50’s or early 60’s, and compare patterns to see if memory is accurate. Maybe if I’m lucky, the American magazine will have easy-to-find dates. Anything will do, and lacking-a-cover is fine, so it shouldn’t cost too much.

My friend Helen delivered Nos. 2 and 5 yesterday, purchased on Super Sunday. They’re good. For now, I will just mention that No. 2 has a baby jacket which, for just about the first time in all this book-collecting, makes me want to throw everything aside and knit it.

There is a technique called “double knitting” which I have read about but never tried, where you knit with two balls of yarn at once and by means of slipping stitches, and slipping whole rows back to the beginning of a dp needle, wind up with two conjoined pieces of fabric. The jacket in Vogue is perfectly simple, practically Vibeke Lind: you cast on at the lower back, knit straight up, add more stitches for the sleeves, divide at the neck and knit the fronts downward. And at the end you have a simple baby jacket – lined.

The cast-on and cast-off edges would automatically be joined. Would the selvedges? Vogue just says to finish the edges with “twisted cord”.


I should mention that I’m now doing the neck of the Calcutta Cup sweater. It’s almost certainly too big, but I might as well finish and see for sure. More tomorrow.

And that I mean to pursue the subject of Jane Waller and her books. Thanks, commenters.


  1. Anonymous9:06 AM

    You can do two socks at once, which is rather mind boggling. There's an article on about the technique, with good photos.

    Looking forward to seeing the CC... do you knit when the rugby is actually on? My son "met" the Irish squad on Princes Street yesterday.... of couse it could have been fifteen Irishmen who were over to watch the game, but he was delighted anyway!

  2. Norland nannies, that's right. Thanks, Vivienne :)

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  4. Anonymous8:01 PM

    There's a yahoo group about double knitting, where you can ask questions of people who are actually doing it. My guess is that you could easily make the selvedges attached, just by how you turn the work. Also, depending on your dexterity and choice, you can knit both sides at once, though I think that makes the stitches looser. Double knitting does make a much looser tension so always swatch.

    Alas, I see the comment spammers have found your blog.

  5. About VKB: have you seen this post?

  6. Your description of double knitting reminded me of an article in for a baby blanket Eleanor Roosevelt seemed to have popularised during the war. Does this seem to be the same technique to you?