Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I keep an electronic knitting diary in a copy of Lotus Organizer. Now that I’ve got a blog and Ravelry as well, it is not particularly well kept up. (Neither is my Ravelry page.) The Organizer starts with a Wips section. The entry for the Princess now reads:

“Sharon Miller's "Princess" shawl, started May '05. Edging finished 17/9/5. Laid aside early November, '05, in favour of RWPM's First Holy Communion veil. Resumed 1/2/6. Laid aside 18/2/6 for Nudibranch. Laid aside again 18/3/6 (after border row 66) for HLS' shawl. Resumed 15/8/6. Interrupted 27/9 in middle of row 144 of border, when I broke my arm. Resumed 20/3/7. Border finished 18/5/7, laid aside in favour of Sam the Ram. Resumed 24/7/7. Laid aside 9/7 with insertion done and centre well started. Resumed 9/9/8. Next laying-aside unrecorded, autumn '08 somewhere for Ketki's Calcutta Cup sweater?, resumed 5/2/9 at row 16 of 10th centre repeat. Finished centre, began top edging 27/4/9.”

It was that unexplained year-long break between late ’07 and late ’08 that produced the moth holes.

Anyway, much of yesterday’s knitting time was occupied with getting the centre stitches threaded onto waste yarn. I decided to go ahead – prepared to frog – with instructions as given in the pattern. I picked up the stitches I had left behind when I finished the original edging on 17/9/5. I struggled with a problem and solved it. I think I am much less meticulous than most Princess-knitters. The temptation here was to bash ahead somehow, and I am proud of myself for taking enough time to work it out.

The chart back at the beginning seemed to show 28 stitches for the last row of the edging. I picked up 28 stitches. Why, then, did Sharon say 29? The answer is that one of the squares on the chart indicated a k1, p1 into the same stitch. I was one stitch short because a YO had slipped off. I remedied that, and I’m off.

I am nearly half-way through the first repeat – too soon to have any idea either of the corner or of how neatly I am joining the new edging to the main body. I see, slightly to my surprise, that I have done a chained edging along the border (slip the 1st stitch of every row) – I am picking up both loops of each link in the chain.

Maureen (hi!) – I’m delighted to hear that you’re going to tackle the Princess. It’s an experience like no other. But I can assure you that there is no need whatsoever for decisions to be made shortly (except about yarn). First, knit 85 repeats of that edging….

It’s as difficult as ever it was. I have a dim sense of having been here before, a feeling that maybe it’ll be easier to memorise this time. But that’s all. Every row is a struggle, just as at the beginning.

Miscellaneous including non-knit

Dawn, no, I hadn't heard of the Skye Bridge knitting project. I'll watch for it.

James-the-elder, Chinese James, rang up last night – from Streatham. He is here doing some programs for the BBC World Service connected with the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Sq unrest. He was there. He was the BBC’s Peking correspondent in those days. Rachel says he’s looking well, and is not impressed with England – “He says that we are the only country in the world where you can't talk on your mobile underground. I thought that was the way God made things but he says simple technology would sort it out.”


  1. Very interesting to read your blog and hear about your son James's travels and reporting. I feel as if I know him. Somewhat the same feeling when I hear Colin Blane on the BBC. But that feeling is more real - I have actually met Colin Blane and knew his mother very well when we were in Kenya.

  2. Small consolation, but the Toronto transit doesn't support cell phones yet either. Still plenty noisy though.

    I am enjoying the Princess photos!

  3. Come to the US where there are great stretches of open road in developed areas where you can't get any cell service. Most impressed with your record keeping on Princess. I suppose such a huge undertaking warrants it.

  4. Maureen in Fargo9:00 PM

    Hi Jean!

    One of the things I am considering for Princess is not starting with the edging but knitting the border first. I would start the border with a provisional cast on. Once I get some rows done on the border I could start the edging and I wouldn't have to do it all at once, I could work on it while I'm working further up on the border and the center, for variety you know! This way I could start the edging some stitches short of the end of the border in order to facilitate turning the corner...or I could start it on the edge of the border and turn a corner right away so I'll know how it looks. This idea grew out of the Ravelry discussion on turning the corners when some of us decided we didn't care about historical accuracy in her construction if it would make a better looking shawl.

    I think I'm zeroing in on the yarn I'll use...

  5. I meant to add that I will try to listen for the BBC broadcasts. I would really like to hear the coverage.
    However I will be in China the last few weeks of May, and the BBC may be turned off there if wind of the programming reaches certain bureaucrats' offices ...

  6. =Tamar5:48 AM

    Back in September 2007 you had other things on your mind. Finishing Ketki's gansey, a few other ganseys to knit, your husband's hospital stay, etc. The Princess took too much attention and you'd reached a reasonable stopping place.