Saturday, July 12, 2008

No Piecework. Maybe today.

I did the ribbing for the front of the dinosaurs. Today I should get through the first of the wretched pattern bands, and maybe introduce some dinosaur feet. Tomorrow I think I’ll take the day off and knit a scarf.

That covers that topic.

I’ve never said anything about my new book, “Vatid, Troid, Vamsad”; more comprehensibly, “Knitted Jackets from West-Estonian Islands”.

It’s a bit of a slim vol for the price. What you get is some truly wonderful photographs. No charts, no patterns. A translation is interleaved. Nancy Bush’s book “Folk Knitting in Estonia” doesn’t go in for jackets – it’s all mittens, gloves, and socks. Could jackets be confined to the islands?

I don’t think – will I be shot down in flames for this? – that Estonia has much to add to the story of Scandinavian knitting, which it strongly resembles. Britt-Marie Christofferson’s “Swedish Sweaters” is perhaps the book I’d put tops: it’s got great historical pictures, with charts of the stitch patterns, as well as good modern designs.

Piecework, when it arrives, will contain a pattern (I think) from a forthcoming book by Nancy Bush about Estonian lace. I’m dubious. Estonian lace involves nupps, and I do not think nupps are ever going to be quite me. But I’m eager to have a look. And nupps, at least, as far as I know, are unique to Estonia. Thank goodness.


A Scotsman recently went to a fund-raising breakfast for Barack Obama in highland dress. Despite police, security guards, bodyguards and metal detectors, he got within stabbing distance of the candidate wearing his sgian dubh in plain sight, tucked into the top of his hose.

I have never understood Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Maybe next week’s Economist can explain. But I know that what has happened this week is terrifying. I suppose what the idiotic Mr Gramm was trying to say was that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Somehow, he didn’t make it sound quite so good.


  1. Very interested in the book you put at the the top on Swedish knitting as we are off to Sweden this summer and I am hoping for some textile interest to counteract the surfeit of Viking stonework. Elsebeth Lavold, of course, took her inspiration from those. We will be visiting the Bohus area where I believe there is a museum, but there isn't much info in the guide books on the area about textiles.

  2. very intresting that SS would get that close. I would think they would be extra careful. btw did Mrs Obama like her scarf? I keep watching for it. Maybe we will see it in the fall.

  3. Anonymous4:51 PM

    Hello, Jean - I also have to say that nupps don't do much for me. (Too much like popcorn sts and bobbles.) The crazy thing about Mr. Gramm commenting on the housing mortgage fiasco is that his political chicanery while in Congress helped pave the way for the entire mess by his catering to the real estate and financial interests who wanted to dismantle the safeguards built into the process in order to create more lucrative profit margins. (Newsweek magazine had an excellent article about it a few weeks ago.) Take care - Joe, in Wyoming

  4. I have the issue of Piecework you're awaiting. The Nancy Bush is very striking but very nuppy, I'm afraid-7 nupp stitches as a matter of a fact. However, I have sneaked and subbed beads for nupps before and the Knitting Police have yet to catch up with me...
    I can't believe that happened at the Obama breakfast. When we met Sen. Obama here at a Town Meeting, my husband got stopped and thoroughly searched by the Secret Service guys because he had a granola bar in it's wrapper stashed in his pants pocket. They even had Secret Service on the bathrooms-first female Secret Service agent I've seen though I knew there must be some.

  5. One wonders if any of the Sikh community have attended any official Obama-present functions. The fellas usually wear a ceremonial knife somewhere, often tucked into their turbans. There's an interesting conundrum for security!

  6. Hi Jean -- seems I'm leaving comments on your posts non-stop as I'm catching up with your blogs.

    I did a quick look at this posting of yours and what caught my eye was your comment about Estonian and Scandinavian knitting patterns. I've just "gotten" into lace shawl knitting myself but do know a few things about Russian Orenburg lace patterns, and I see a lot of similarity to some of the few Estonian pieces I've seen in pattern "ornaments" and shawl border construction. And then in the book Arctic Lace, I also see some pattern similarities with the Russian patterns. Given the geographic history of all these countries it's just interesting to me. I don't know anything about Swedish "lace" and such -- are there Swedish lace patterns do you think?

  7. Just re-read your post and do have to say that as far as I know there are no nupps in the Orenburg shawl patterns, but there are still similar other "designs" (cat's paw and such) in the Estonian and Russian shawls. I want to try the Swallowtail shawl by Evelyn Clark to practice nupps before I try the shawl in the Piecework magazine issues.

    I've had Piecework for YEARS because I also have an interest in textiles and embroidery. I highly recommend it -- the articles are fabulous. Thanks to Nancy Bush and others, there has been a continual stream over the years of nice knitting projects -- some small, some due to research, and I've saved many of them. Nancy Bush is "still around" and is still leading groups to Scandanavia and Russia every couple of years, and has her business The Wooly West which can be found online through Google.