Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today is New York's day.

I’ve got my yarn:

...and I carried it on our walk, as you suspected. It wasn’t very heavy. (Thinks: have I bought enough?) They’re jokers down there at the Warriston post office. The card said I would need identification, so I had taken an old, cancelled passport. The man – who knows me well enough, as post offices know customers – looked through it as if he were an immigration official, and then said, “I’m afraid this won’t do. We’ll need…” They are Pakistani down there, and probably have some experience of immigration officials.

The yarn is wonderful, ca va sans dire. It is lighter than Jared’s specification – 5 sts to the inch, according to the label, as contrasted with the pattern’s 4 ½. (Thinks again: have I bought enough?) I got out the “Knitter’s Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements” – Helen C.K.S. gave it to me as a First Foot present one year – and ran the figures past it. 5 sts to the inch, 46” finished chest circumference (as required by the sweater Thomas sent up for me to measure): sure enough, I don’t have enough.

I’ve got enough according to Jared, if the gauge turns out to be 4 ½ sts to the inch, and of course I haven’t swatched yet. But I’ll order more today. I simply couldn’t stand the months of anxiety.

We know by now that colours, especially red ones, can’t be trusted camera-to-computer – not, at least, until I finally succeed in going to one of Franklin’s classes. But the new yarn is really rather remarkably similar to the shawl yarn which my husband calls “electric”. Thomas must, surreptitiously – gosh! I got that past the spell-checker! – have been reading the blog, although he didn’t say so, when he asked for an “electric red sweater”. So I feel confident that I have fulfilled his requirement, whether or not it’s a good colour. And whatever “electric red” means.

In fact, the picture at the top today of the yarn in its box, taken on the doorstep, is not half bad, colour-wise.

The shawl: four rows to go. Today, barring disaster, should see me embarked on the grafting of top-of-centre to fourth-border. I’ll have to look up garter-stitch grafting again, but I did it superbly, if I do say so myself, for the Round-the-Bend jacket, so I know it can be done. I have left myself rather a generous allowance of percentage points in the sidebar for the finishing process. Better than over-shooting.

Contract knitting

I am sure you are right, anonymous-not-Ron, when you say that minimum wages could never be applied to hand-knitting. And I have a lot of sympathy for the exploited knitters who say they want to knit for next-to-nothing. Apart from other considerations, I know there are housebound, handicapped knitters who are delighted to exercise their considerable skills and earn a little something. It’s a good deal better than addressing envelopes.

I feel sorry for skilled knitters who don’t have grandsons who ask them for sweaters. On the other hand, people who knit faster than I do, and more skilfully, and who prefer thicker yarns, will find the practice soon becomes rather expensive and may rejoice in being given good yarns and set to knitting and actually paid for the result.


  1. the red is gorgeous - great that you can knit for someone male, who doesn't only want to wear grey, dark blue, black and maybe (outrageous:)) burgundy! about the knitting for money: every time I hear about the "wages" for hand knitters, I am glad anew that I can tell people, who ask me how much I'd take for a handmade sweater that I won't knit for less than half the official minimum wage per hour and that the average sweater takes at least 60 plus hours - which makes them vanish like puffs of smoke:)) I much rather spend a lot of time handspinning my own yarns to give away to friends and family!

  2. grannypurple1:10 AM

    I'm with Woolly Bits--if people want to buy, the price is astronomical, but giving to appreciative friends and family is infinitely rewarding.

  3. I'm with Woolly Bits and Granny Purple - I knit some socks recently for a friend of a close relative - said friend liked the socks and casually mentioned that she now owed me some eggs. How does one say "I feel vaguely insulted." I think I'll pass on the eggs to my close relative.