Thursday, December 01, 2011


-- The Scotsman newspaper said yesterday that our First Minister, Mr. Salmond, is going to China “at the end of this week”. What more natural than that he should drop in on the Beijing St Andrews Night Ball, on Saturday, and have his eye caught by a particularly fine jabot?

Not many of the men will be wearing jabot-and-Montrose-jacket, although it is by no means an eccentric or OTT way to appear. Long, long ago when I was young and going to a ball myself, I was standing at a haberdashery counter in Glasgow buying a yard or so of inch-wide black velvet ribbon to wear around my neck, lacking jewelry as I did. (I  learned something useful at Oberlin.) A young man was there, buying a jabot. (Is this possible? Could they be had over the counter like that, even in the 1950’s?)

And I thought at the time, there is no country in Europe in which a man can turn himself out so well without joining the army. It’s still true.

--  My husband said yesterday that he would like me to knit him a v-neck sleeveless, to replace one I knit long ago. So long ago, that I have no recollection of doing it. It would be as quick and easy to knit as a sock, he said, and is probably right. The prototype appears to be roughly DK, and has lots of holes in it. The biggest and worst is over the right bosom (so to speak) – not moths, in that case, although they appear elsewhere, but the things men carry in an inside jacket pocket.

I had a look at Jimmy Bean this morning. I think there are some madelinetosh colours which could get by the censor – Alizarin, Bark, Moccasin, Twig. What does “Alizarin” mean? The spell-check here in Word surprises me but not being surprised by it.

So I’m thinking about that. And it shows the importance of not buying yarn too far in advance. My Effortless (for which the yarn is here) is receding, although I am confident of finishing it in 2012, if I’m spared.

--  The new Knitter whizzed down from out-there onto my iPad yesterday. It is a seriously good magazine, no doubt. Maybe I'll stop worrying about the fact that I seem to have subscribed in perpetuity when I thought I was buying three months.

 Cotton and Cloud is one of the blogs I follow. Her delight is touching this morning, at being on the cover. And I mean to have a look at the videos she offers. I have been aware, knitting these baubles, that my two-colour, two-hand technique could do with some tweaking.

Actual knitting

I didn’t quite finish the body of the Little Brownstone yesterday. That should happen today. Nor did I do anything about the nearly-finished baubles. I did write a couple of Christmas cards for the USofA. Angel, I note with interest your system of bauble-knitting – and I still want to do one more for Loch Fyne. Could I bear Emily Ocker’s cast-on, fiddliness-wise? I’ve never actually tried it.


  1. Alizarin? it's also called turkey red, a special red dye - which has been used for engl. uniforms, when they were still naturally dyed:)) lovely colour - but would your husband wear it (assuming that it is actually a red with that yarn company!)

  2. Anonymous12:27 PM

    I seem to remember there being a tube of "Alizarin crimson" in a painting set I had once, long ago. I don't particularly remember the color itself, but the sound of the words lodged itself in my memory.

    Jean, I do love reading your blog and may have to try the iPad subscription to the Knitter magazine. In the US we can only get it in a clear plastic package, so you have to take it on faith that it is worth the price: NO PEEKING allowed. I always want to look at the table of contents before buying a magazine, so will have to take your words on faith that it is a good magazine. You've never steered me wrong, and over the years I've followed your lead on several books/patterns/blogs to read! Thanks for all the good advice, too.

    Barbara M.

  3. Anonymous3:35 PM

    Hello Jean, Emily Ocker's cast on is ingenious and worth the fiddliness. I've been making small doll parts beginning this way and am pleased with the effect. Have a go! You'll soon wonder why you did it any other way. Marilyn in Minneapolis

  4. I have seen the Madtosh Alizarin colourway and while it is a goregous, complex colour, it also has shades of pink and yellow, which I fear your husband might consider a little too feminine.

    It's always worth going to Ravelry, clicking on the yarn tab, entering the name of the yarn and then going to "stahed" and searching for the colourway name. You often get much better photos of the colourway than the titchy efforts on vendor's websites.

  5. Grr, that should have been "stashed" of course...

  6. Jean, have you seen Techknitting blog? Be prepared to spend hours at this site. She explains and illustrates very clearly lots of techniques that IMHO should be better known in the knitting world including 3 for casting on from the center. Click on her 'index' link.

    A non-fiddly center cast on (not from TechKnitting) that I like: Say you want to start with 12 sts. Cast on 6 sts on one needle, with waste yarn, held doubled. Knit into every loop with main yarn and join into round=12sts. After knitting a few rnds, pull beg yarn tail thru live sts and remove waste yarn.
    This avoids having to start with a few sts on 3 needles and makes a nice looking gather at the top and...a big plus, it's easy to remember.

    p.s. Your recent comments about brioche knitting prompted me to buy Nancy Marchant's book and I am off on a wonderful tangent with this, thanks!

  7. Emily ocher's cast on reads more fiddly than actually doing it. After one or two tries, you will realize that it is actually quite simple and BRILLIANT!
    Enjoy your knitting!

  8. Donice10:40 PM

    I've knit a tam from Madelinetosh Twig, and it's in my projects on Ravelry - there are plenty of other Twig projects, but the tam is quite accurate for color, at least of my skein, and shows what plain stocking stitch is like in the yarn. I'm Donice on Ravelry. I think it is a good husband color.

    I would love to see a picture of the full regalia with jabot.