Thursday, March 31, 2011

I was afraid the Mourning Shawl would produce even-more-then-ordinarily boring blog posts, and I was right. There are fewer pauses now to undo stitches, and I’m moving along nicely. Here’s where we are, six scallops along the third edge:

The newspaper on the front step is because things are a bit damp out there this morning. The drought of March is being pierced to the root, just as the poet says. March was unusually dry this year. The colour would appear to be the most faithful I have yet achieved. Because of the newspaper? Live and learn.

I was glad to read in yesterday's comments of the enthusiasm for EZ’s New Zealand sweater. I’ve ordered the Spin-Out (and the books about Estonian socks and mittens,to make the postage worthwhile) and await it keenly.

Meanwhile I learned from Jared yesterday – because I’m on his mailing list – of his new pattern, Brownstone. Very nice, although I’m not sure about the toggles. It occurred to me that I could knit Thomas-the-Elder an electric red sweater even if England don’t win the Rugby World Cup.

Jared’s “Shelter” yarn, which I’d love to have an excuse for trying, doesn’t seem to come in electric red. That set me looking about – it’s not going to be quite as easy as I hoped to find such yarn. But several pure wool Rowan qualities have a shade called “Kiss” which might fill the bill – I think this may be a case for actual looking, as distinct from on-line ordering.

Miscellaneous non-knit

Stash haus, I love the line you quote from Garrison Keillor in yesterday’s comment. I’m a big fan, but I didn’t know that one, and will treasure it. I like what you say about your father-in-law’s donation of his body to medical research, too.

We went once on Open Doors day to the normally private little museum at the Department of Anatomy here in Edinburgh (and learned what a scourge rickets once was). Burke’s skeleton is there, or maybe it was Hare’s – part of the death sentence, in that case, was to be denied Christian burial. Several exhibits were covered. I asked the medical man who was supervising the proceedings whether that was because they were too ghastly for lay eyes. No, he said: they were body parts from people who had donated themselves for medical research, not for public exhibition. As with your story, Stash haus, the respect for human remains was both touching and pleasing.

My morning practice is to compose in Microsoft Word, save the result, and then copy and paste it into Blogger. The last few days, Blogger has taken to removing hyperlinks and stripping my efforts of hard returns so that it all comes out as one big Joycean paragraph. I couldn’t be the only blog writer affected – but maybe everybody else composes directly on-line. It’s a nuisance.

It has happened again today. The tedious solution is to click the "Edit HTML" button and restore everything. Tomorrow I'll try composing in HTML while I'm still in Microsoft Word, but I don't like being pushed around.


  1. Anonymous12:41 PM

    The Estonian mitten book is glorious, Jean. I was amazed at the way patterns were purchased, attributed and catalogued starting back in the late 1800's (by the national museum, not by individuals who happened to be interested, as you have collected the VKs. )

    I wish more countries had made a concerted effort to preserve their knitting heritage. I think you'll find this a delightful purchase!

    Barbara M.

  2. Anonymous1:16 PM

    What is black and white and red all over?

    Jean's mourning shawl sitting for its morning portrait!

    My dad had a sweater very similar to Jared's new one, machine knit though. It was lovely to wear. I agree about the toggles though - completely unnecessary.

    Beverly in NJ

  3. Do you have access to Dale of Norway yarns? They have a lovely palette including the red you are looking for.

    It may be you will have to compose your blogposts in Notepad as a .txt instead of in Word. How annoying though to have written everything out then have to fiddle with it later. I've found the browser that Blogger is in is also a factor. I can compose with fewer annoyances in IE (especially repositioning pictures) than in Chrome, my default browser.

  4. Anonymous5:20 PM

    Black and white and red all over - evidently Beverly and I think alike this morning.

    Reds must definitely be chosen by viewing in person, rather than from photos online. And in natural light too, not just artificial.

    -- Gretchen

  5. Oh the Brownstone sweater is so lovely. Its really classic and just gorgeous. I'm not sure about the toggles either but the shawl collar neckline is super nice... with some waist and bust shaping it could make a nice woman's sweater too...

  6. That Brownstone sweater is quite handsome. I don't think he has designed a pattern yet that I haven't liked! I don't know if you have ever knit anything by him, but if you haven't I would say you are missing out on a real treat. He has a gift for instructions as well as design, which is a bonus for "blind follower" knitters like me.

    I have to say that I was not impressed with his Shelter yarn though. It is very rustic. I generally like rustic yarn, but this was over the top. It is quite rough, and evidence of its barnyard origins was deposited throughout my skeins. I was glad I had only ordered enough to knit a hat. I really don't like running down a product, and maybe he has improved on the quality with the next batch. People on Ravelry have sung its praises, so perhaps I just got a bad couple of skeins.

  7. Thank you for the Brownstone tip, that is a classic comfy-looking sweater. I have not made my husband a sweater yet, and this might just be the one.

  8. Re: the Thomas-the-Elder's request for "electric red," it may well be from reading your blog. It may also be that "electric" colors are very of-the-moment in fashion. Sunday's NY Times style section featured a blurb on the renewed popularity of brights, including neons, and the photo featured a RED jacket. So, Jean, you have anticipated a major fashion trend!

  9. The edge of that shawl is looking very pretty and that red is beautiful.