Monday, January 18, 2010

Not much, today.

Tamar, that is an interesting comment (as always, from you) about how ribbing flips upwards. I don’t remember being troubled with this before. But then, one usually increases the stitch count by about 10% at that point – here, there was no increase, just a larger needle. I’ll try extending the ribs as you suggest if I ever find myself here again.

I had a second comment yesterday, from “Avril”, whose intentions were saucy, or perhaps worse, judging from her illustrations, and who wrote in Chinese. That’s a first, for me.

I’ve now done about 15” of Grandson Sweater, out of 23". I will certainly finish that ball of yarn today.

(A well-known British gardener named John Cushnie died suddenly at the New Year. A decade younger than I am, tall and fit-looking. Much missed. The Telegraph for Jan 2 had a full-page article by him – he’d already been dead for a couple of days, but perhaps there was no one about during the holiday even to add a mournful preface to the page. The article was standard holiday-page-filling stuff about all the things he was going to do this year – not sow too many lettuces at a time, grow unusual vegetables, remember where the daffodils are. Any of us could have written it. But John Cushnie won’t do any of those things. It makes one more than usually afraid to use the future tense in any sentence involving a first-person pronoun.)

“The Knitter’s Book of Wool” turned up on Saturday. The fascinating first third of it is about wool. Sheep are discussed breed by breed. (But it’s an American book, and so doesn’t tell me why merino sheep won’t “do” in Britain, where so many other breeds thrive. What don’t they like? Or am I wrong about that? They seem to live in hot places – Spain, originally; Australia; now America. Maybe that’s it.)

The patterns, in the remaining 2/3rds of the book, are on the dull side, to my eye. Take the text from this book, and the patterns from “A Fine Fleece”, and you’ve got a single, wonderful book.

We’ll see what Helen C.K.S. has to say about it – she promises a discussion soon.


  1. I believe merinos don't "do" in the UK because all their skin folds become problematic in the damp - quite a good breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, I'd imagine. Or maybe they're more susceptible to footrot (also fungal).

  2. Dawn in NL1:12 PM


    I can understand that John C's death added poignancy to the plans he wrote about, but surely that is the best way to go, full of ideas for the future. It would be very sad to be afraid to plan just in case it did not come to be.

    Regarding the flipping rib (if you will pardon the phrase), I thought it might be an idea to knit downwards and create a folded hem.

    All the best,

  3. We do have small breeding flocks of merinos in the UK, but they just don't suit our weather as well as some other breeds. They felt too readily for a start, there is the skin fold problem and it all gets just a bit too difficult to get top class fleeces in big flocks. Much better left to countries with drier climates.

  4. Thanks for the comment on the "Book of Wool." I felt that way about the "book of yarn" too- the info was nice, but the patterns-- some were great, but a lot were eh.

    I haven't really been buying too many knitting books lately.... I did however recently (although have not received it yet) order a book on how to knit socks on a round knitting loom. I also ordered a fine-gauge sock look.... (DA looms- they make them to order.) mainly because I am intrigued- I mean, obviously I can knit socks, and knit them quickly if I wish, but the loom seemed kinda neat.. (my mom taught herself how to loom knit on those big plastic ones you get at the craft store. She made a mess of thick beanies that my brother's motorcycle-riding friends coveted one Christmas.) Anyway, the whole idea of making fine-gauge-loomed socks is intriguing... rather random, I know.

  5. Re John Cushnie's death:My friend's uncle knew his death was imminent but spent some of his final days stringing his onion crop and distributing parts of it to neighbours. I've always felt that was a good end.

  6. I'm with Angel that I felt the same way about the 'Book of Yarn' - i wished i could get the front part of the book by itself. After reading your comments, I will probably get 'Book of Wool' from the library, where I have 'A Fine Fleece' waiting for me thanks to your recommendation.