Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Here we are, with Repeat No. Six finished. There will be 13.7 repeats altogether. I’m not anything like half-way there, knitting-wise, because there are still literally hundreds of stitches waiting to be added to the centre one by one. But I think I have progressed nearly half-way along the border. Although I’m using a very long needle, pretty soon it won’t be possible to smooth the whole thing flat for photographic purposes.

I’m still suffering from that dog-leg in the column of faggoting, although I still have great hopes for the blocking process. My current theory is that knitting like this, with tens of thousands of stitches in all, can put up with a mistake here and there whereas those cosy, elegant shawls in heavier yarn have to be near-perfect.

Shan, (Ruby is winsome indeed, and) your idea of basing a sweater on Vermeer’s Milkmaid (comment yesterday) is so good I’ll go with it for Ketki, unless something leaps off the wall at me, so to speak, while we’re in London. We’re going tomorrow, blogging to resume in the middle of next week.

Mel, it’s hard to explain about the two-colour restriction. As I said, I didn’t figure it out myself until I was half-way to the armpits of Alexander’s sweater, pictured yesterday.

The idea is to take advantage of the tendency of Fair Isle knitting to pull the stitches in so that they become little squares instead of rectangles. That should allow one to pick up stitches for the sleeves (drop-shoulder), one per row of the body knitting, rotate the pattern so that rows become stitches, and knit down the sleeve creating the effect of a single piece of fabric. Meg does it in a fairly recent Woolgathering.

In any one row of Fair Isle, only two colours are employed. If the body knitting has more than two, it might be theoretically possible to perform the trick anyway but the sleeve knitting would be so complicated as to boggle the mind.


Don’t miss Franklin in the latest issue of Knitty. I had expected no more than to be astonished with delight as at each of his blog entries, but what he has done for Knitty is to decipher and re-create a gentleman’s night cap from a knitting book of 1840. The man is a genius.

I sent my application for an absentee ballot to the County Clerk of Monmouth County, NJ, yesterday. I had almost decided not to bother – dreadful confession. Previous attempts to find out exactly what to do had got bogged down in confusion.

But yesterday I stumbled upon a wonderful website called the Overseas Vote Foundation. I told them my name and some things such as my last address in NJ – 54 years ago! – and my Social Security number, they provided me with a wonderfully American-looking form to print, all filled out. I just had to sign it and send it to Monmouth County: they provided the address. So it’s done.

Here is the bear, in that box in that carrier bag, ready to get on the train.


  1. I shall have to go back and look through my Woolgatherings, then. The most recent one just arrived today, but I was so tired I promptly forgot to open the envelope. I can certainly understand how the multiple colours would become quite challenging, at the very least.

    And agreed, of course, about Franklin. That he's also a dear, sweet person makes his genius all the more wonderful.

  2. The Russian Prime Sweater in Meg Swansen's knitting also uses the rotated pattern construction for the sleeves. In that case, I found it better to knit the same row twice, as the pick-up row got pulled into the body. But that was probably the yarn I used.

  3. Anonymous10:47 AM

    You're an inspiration. The jog in the faggotting isn't noticeable; in fact, I can't see anything wrong at all.

    If you want to know what percentage of the top border you have completed, there is an easy math formula, you REALLY want to know how much more there is to knit? Princess is a project to be savored, row by oh so long row.

    I'm only on row 30 of the bottom border. That's better than last week, when I was on the edging, but it' still a LONG way to go.

    The bear is adorable, and the wig makes the outfit. I sure he will be loved.


  4. I do love that picture of the PofW -- my Irish born great-aunt once confessed that she had a crush on him and kept photos she'd clipped out of the paper in a box under her bed. Perhaps this was one of them. I'm a Jersey girl - now in mn. Fun to see you'll be voting in Monmouth County. Have a safe trip and I hope the bearrister is appreciated.

  5. I adore the bearrister, Jean, and know he will give pleasure to some lucky person!

    My state is one of eleven that began early voting on Monday of this week. I went and cast my ballot then, and according to the newspapers, many in our state are already crowding into the polls. I haven't read any speculation as to what it all means to the ultimate outcome.

  6. Oh, you're going to do it! How exciting! I've added a Milkmaid sweater to my queue, but as yet I don't have anything like the yarn colours I'd need, so it will be a "someday" project. I had trouble sleeping last night - I kept mentally planning my Vermeer sweater.
    : )

  7. the milk maid and the girl with the earring are both amazing pictures and i have never been so inspired colourwise as when i saw the actual milkmaid in rijksmuseum. the colours... oh. i suppose there are a few rembrandts that would do nicely for fair isle as well.
    i am in awe of your princess. i also end up forgetting a yarn over or two when knitting lace. this is supreme focus.

  8. Anonymous2:16 AM

    I am listening to the Obama-McCain debate as I read your post. Thank you so much for voting! Never has it been so necessary to step up and make your voice heard. I appreciate you making the effort.

    I love the knitting too.

    Susan P.

  9. Jean -- your shawl is totally "awesome." Unbelievable work.

    So glad to know that you are "registered" to vote -- I'm not sure we have resolved what will happen with people who want to vote whose homes have been foreclosed.

    Your bear -- something for the elections? I have succumbed to the "Cold of the century" and amidst my tissues I'm still thinking about your Fair Isle issues. There must be some sort of "punting" that went on as so many of these sweaters and vests were knitted up.

  10. Hi Jean love the bear, hope he arrives safely.

    Hope you don't mind but I have tagged you on my blog.

    Cheers >^..^<

  11. Beautiful shawl! Beautiful knitting.
    Maria in WA