Thursday, February 10, 2011

A strenuous and unsuccessful day yesterday. I got the glasses to the oculist in time, they came back – but my husband says he couldn’t see much of anything through the new ones. They were able to restore the old ones on the spot, fortunately, and he’ll go back on Monday.

Today’s excitement – it is an event-packed week – is that some people are bringing a picture for him to look at which is probably not by his artist. They hope it is a preliminary sketch for one of his famous pictures, the National Gallery thinks it is more likely a copy but interesting enough that my husband should see it. And the owners are happy to consult him as the Court of Final Appeal.

Meanwhile, I am past the half-way point of boring sleeve knitting. The second half of anything always seems to go more briskly (including life itself), so I should be only two or three sessions away from the fun part.

Franklin is brilliant today on the subject of multiple WIP-ery. When is he ever less than brilliant on any topic? And I feel I must have some Blackthorn needles. How could I be unfaithful to my beloved KnitPics? But Franklin’s recommendation is powerful, and blackthorn-the-bush is a big feature of Strathardle life, both as a pernicious near-weed and as an object of great beauty in the spring.

Janet, I don’t entirely approve of book fasts, although I am fairly restrained myself these days due to lack of space. I’m glad you’re making an exception for the Cornish Knit Frocks – that’s another work of serious scholarship, like Lady Gainford’s kilt hose. And it’s small. What I try not to buy these days are books-of-patterns, unless the author’s name is Fassett or Zimmermann or Swansen. But I was tempted yesterday by “What Would Madame Defarge Knit?”, the pre-publication announcement timed to coincide with Dickens’ 199th birthday.

I’ll think about it.

Another thing I am thinking about is a shawl or stole of some sort for our niece as knitterly comfort when her mother dies. Much thought and conversation is going on in Morningside amongst mother and daughters about the funeral, the wake, the grave. Too much, for my taste. C. was depressive enough when in robust health, and shouldn't be encouraged in morbidity now. But I feel that my thinking ahead to a shawl is not excessively morbid, by comparison.

I got the XRX books out last night and started looking: The Best of Knitters’ Shawls and Scarves, A Gathering of Lace, Victorian Lace Today. I wish I could pin down what it is about Mr. X’s photography that so annoys me. Something to do with the models he likes and the way he poses them. His people-less pictures are fine.

The trouble with a proper shawl-shawl is that not everybody wears them; and with a stole, that it gets scrumpled up and used as a scarf. I think maybe I’ve chosen a smallish semi-circular number from Victorian Lace Today.


  1. I'm with you on supporting the more scholarly knitting books. They need our help.

  2. Gerri in St Paul2:46 PM

    Just a polite disagree on the topic of mothers and daughters, or any family/relational unit, discussing funeral,etc, plans. I've dealt with three close deaths in the past 12 mos. For two, there was no planning and it was much more difficult. Energy that was needed for emotional issues had to go to scrambling on operational ones. One situation resulted in a purchase of a grave when the deceased, who everyone knew was terminal, had bought one 8 yrs ago, telling no one. It was discovered 4 mos later. I, for one, can't urge people strongly enough to talk about end-of-life issues--now.

    A polite and strong agree on the purchase of pattern books! Hard to resist the eye candy, however.

  3. Anonymous3:15 PM

    My favourite shawls to knit and give away are square ones like the one in Knitting Almanac's February chapter. I make them as big as a queen size bed and put in a lace pattern at times or just some yoK2tog rows. Shetland wool is my favourite medium. Unlike the lacey triangular shawls, I notice these being used as shawls or blankets. One friend has asked for another since hers is always being used by her husband.
    Ron in Mexico

  4. I checked out the Blackthorn website and the needles sound interesting. Unfortunately I use 2.25mm needles to knit socks and they don't have that size yet. As for Madame Defarge I wonder what she really would have knit? I am thinking what would have been in fashion during the French Revolution might not make it big in today's fashion world.

  5. Anonymous4:03 PM

    I'm knitting the Brooklyn Tweed Bridgewater shawl at the moment and it is turning out beautifully In Jamieson & Smith's Shetland supreme 2 ply. I think it will be used a lot and agree with Ron that square shawls really are the most useful for those who are potential non-wearers.

  6. Anonymous5:57 PM

    Mme Defarge could certainly have been knitting shawls - they're so very late-18th-century (the triangular type tied around the neck or bosom, not the rectangular type swung over the shoulder).

    Prompted by your second mention of it, I ordered Lady Gainford's kilthose book yesterday. What if I had dallied until they were all gone? But like you, I now seldom buy pattern (as opposed to technique or history) books. At any rate I try to borrow them from the library first to decide whether they're "must-have" quality.
    -- Gretchen

    ps: thank you, Ron, for the idea of the afghan- or bedspread-sized shawl, which can be appreciated by many non-shawly types.

  7. I'm of the opinion that pre-need discussions of funeral wishes is good. I, in fact, have written out what I want done at my funeral and have a copy posted (in an envelope) on my bulletin board and a copy given to my pastor. Since my sister would most likely be the one to make decisions ans we often have differing opinions, I have made my wishes known and, hopefully, will get the kind of funeral I want ... not that I'll know if I do or not. I did suggest to my pastor that have a funeral rehearsal might be good because I've very curious about what will be said about me. Both of us had a good laugh at the idea of a rehearsal.

  8. Donice10:40 PM

    I am writing this away from home, spending time with my sister who is in palliative care, but not quite ready for the discussions of which you speak. But I loved that my mother, an excellent musician, left a list of music she did NOT want played or sung at her service. Her wishes were honored.

  9. I must agree, and am heartened to read, that someone else thinks X's photography is annoying!

    Do you think too much frizzy hair? The awful polyester floral dresses? The presence of horrid shoes?

    I don't know either, but I agree with you.