Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Isn’t it nice how life sometimes works out? Kristieinbc phoned from
And then she sent an email to say that she will be in
Well, here it is. I can’t claim that last percentage point until I have mended two holes -- you can see them, up at the top -- and tied a couple of loose ends. But, essentially, finished. And I’m essentially pleased with it. This is the one where the border decreases are done throughout the rows, at wide intervals between the decrease rows – instead of mitering the corners as is usual. I rather like the effect – less rigid, design-wise. It does mean that there is a slight puckering, or at least bunching, at the internal corners, the corners of the central square. That effect has been much soothed by blocking, but you can see how the colour pools at those points.
My blocking isn't quite straight, either.
And look at this: One of my serious resolutions for ought-12 is to figure out what to do with lace-yarn stash. Do charity knitters want it, is the first question? Can I do anything with it, knitting three strands together, is the second? I tried that once and didn’t like the effect, but I could try again. On a brighter note, I decided I had done enough swatch-cap, threaded it onto waste yarn in case I want to go ahead and make an actual hat of it one day, and measured the gauge. Five stitches to the inch, bang on. I had hoped that, after a little arithmetic, one of Jared’s sizes would give me the dimensions I want for big-Thomas, but it doesn’t work. “L” is too small and “XL” is nearly two inches too big, at five stitches to the inch. Last night, I was tired. I felt it would be impossible to meddle with Jared’s arithmetic, and I would have to plump for one or the other. This morning, I feel stronger. The pattern is essentially pretty simple. I don’t see why I shouldn’t aim for exactly the size I want. I have started with a sleeve, as the pattern requires, completely ignoring the fact that I probably don’t have enough yarn. The Lord will provide. And, gosh, the yarn is wonderful. A rich, saturated red with slight variations in intensity which are going to look marvellous, I think. VK and Woolgathering both turned up yesterday, but will have to wait until tomorrow. I don't know why we've got so much space between paragraphs today. Blogger's fault.
It is the box of Chinese yarn, said-to-be-cashmere but Cathy says not, which she and James gave me for Christmas a few years ago. (I think I’ll give our niece one of the ball bands to amuse her, along with the shawl.) I knit the Amedro lacy cobweb wrap, whatever it’s called, for Greek Helen last year with the dark yarn, and now this. Months of work. One’s heart sinks to see how much remains.
One of my serious resolutions for ought-12 is to figure out what to do with lace-yarn stash. Do charity knitters want it, is the first question? Can I do anything with it, knitting three strands together, is the second? I tried that once and didn’t like the effect, but I could try again.
On a brighter note, I decided I had done enough swatch-cap, threaded it onto waste yarn in case I want to go ahead and make an actual hat of it one day, and measured the gauge. Five stitches to the inch, bang on.
I had hoped that, after a little arithmetic, one of Jared’s sizes would give me the dimensions I want for big-Thomas, but it doesn’t work. “L” is too small and “XL” is nearly two inches too big, at five stitches to the inch.
Last night, I was tired. I felt it would be impossible to meddle with Jared’s arithmetic, and I would have to plump for one or the other. This morning, I feel stronger. The pattern is essentially pretty simple. I don’t see why I shouldn’t aim for exactly the size I want. I have started with a sleeve, as the pattern requires, completely ignoring the fact that I probably don’t have enough yarn. The Lord will provide.
And, gosh, the yarn is wonderful. A rich, saturated red with slight variations in intensity which are going to look marvellous, I think.
VK and Woolgathering both turned up yesterday, but will have to wait until tomorrow.
I don't know why we've got so much space between paragraphs today. Blogger's fault.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Slower work than I expected, this last bit. As so often.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Almost no knitting yesterday, a most aimless day. Still two rows to go on the centre of the Mourning Shawl. I ought to be able to squeeze them in this morning and free the Serious Evening Session for grafting.
Yarnsapart no longer had madelinetosh DK scarlet on their website when I went back yesterday. I wrote, hoping there might be a couple of skeins lying about anyway, and heard back almost at once, despite its being Sunday: no. I flailed wildly about and wound up ordering two skeins from Jimmy Bean in (of all places)
I did a bit more flailing this morning, with no success. The difficulty is that there are quite a few different qualities of madelinetosh yarn, with a vast range of colours within each. There are lots of stockists, but it’s still difficult to find a particular colour in a particular yarn.
Madelinetosh doesn’t have dye lots, but the extra stuff from
Ah! what about provisional cast-ons for sleeve and body so that the ribbing (as well as the ribbed collar) can be done in the “wrong” yarn if need be? That’s a thought. I’m assuming I’ll be ready to cast on before the yarn arrives from
I do like this pattern. I have been reading it through to see what happens – it’s very straightforward, and meticulously written. I am glad to see that there are two short-row passages in the back. Seeing Joe in the Grandson Sweater on Games Day, I wished I had put in some short rows for him. I thought only EZ and Meg did that, and it’s wonderful to discover Jared paying attention.
This one is from a review in the FT in May, ’09, of a show of conceptual Russian art at a
In this case, we don't know whether Leonid or old Mrs Tishkov actually designed the suit. It is meant to “bring to mind the balls of thread leading the heroes of Russian fairy tales.”
Sunday, September 11, 2011
...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
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.
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.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Twelve rows to go. But today’s excitement is that I am going for a walk with our niece, so there will be no opportunity to nip in and knock off a row or two between domestic chores. Indeed, since she is the Intended Recipient, I’ll have to bundle the whole operation out of sight before she comes – we’re starting from here and planning to walk along the water of
Our route from here to the nearest Water-of-Leith access point takes us past the little post office to which my Package should have been delivered by now. We’ll stop by and see if it’s there. If it is, I doubt if I will be able to resist carrying it about all day. The Post Office will be shut when we get back in the afternoon. The premises are also a shop, and they’re nice people – maybe they could put it under the counter for me. More likely, I won’t be able to part with it.
”Inverallan is one of the last remaining few original hand knit companies left in the Aran district of Scotland. originally set up by a consortium of Fisherman's wives who made purely for there husbands. the brand has continued in its cottage industry fashion, hence the knitters signature on each garment. the company has however called it a day so this may be the last chance to ever own an piece of history.”
The sweaters retail for £200, so the knitter gets 10% if things haven’t changed since 2003. I have a couple more observations to make on the subject, but right now I’d better get on with sourcing some sandwiches for my husband’s lunch.
Friday, September 09, 2011
Three more evenings (or less) should polish off the knitting. Then there’s the top edge of the centre to be grafted to the fourth border – I love grafting. Tightening and tidying – there are two safety pins embedded in the fabric, holding stitches that tried to get away, and some other points, I fear, that may benefit from cosmetic attention.
A miniscule bit of sewing – the ends of the edging need to be attached to each other, and I knit an inch or so of the borders back and forth before embarking on the Fleegle system.
I always feel sorry for people who don’t know what they’re going to do next. They used to crop up on the Knitlist from time to time. For me, a major part of the pleasure of these last few days consists of looking forward to the next one, laying out the yarn, whatever. And I think the yarn from Amsterdam is here – when I got back from the supermarket yesterday, there on the mat was one of those dread cards from the Post Office – “While you were out…” My husband had been in the house, but didn’t hear the bell.
Usually, dread. This time, I let out a small exclamation of joy.
In the fairly recent good-old-days, the sorting office to which undelivered packages were returned was within walking distance of here. Then they moved it to the other side of town, no doubt informing me in a letter which explained that this was being done for my greater convenience. I have arranged for this particular package to be delivered to a relatively-local post office. It should be there tomorrow. It had bloody better.
Jared’s Brownstone pattern – for which the scarlet madelinetosh is intended – is done in the round, starting with a sleeve. If the suggested gauge on the label attached to the yarn is anywhere near Jared’s, I’m inclined to think I’ll just plunge in. I think Meg says somewhere that that’s what she does (doesn’t swatch, starts with a sleeve).
A lot of the items in the file are clippings of news and feature articles relating to knitting – not really oddities at all. Or pictures of people wearing sweaters I happened to admire. A theme that keeps reappearing is the question of payment for handknitters – I have a long article that appeared in Scotland on Sunday in 2003 about a firm called Inverallan which was brought to book by the Inland Revenue for paying knitters (much) less than the minimum wage. The knitters, of course, were all having a lovely time, happy to help, £20 per garment will do nicely.
I can’t look up “Inverallan” at the moment because I am in the process of updating my browser. The article says that they now get their knitting done in Ireland and India.
I wonder how much the dress Cate Blanchett was wearing in yesterday’s illustration cost, and how much the crochet-er got. I am pulled both ways on this issue.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
148 rows done. Charting those final letters has now become rather urgent. I asked our niece yesterday what her name was, and a good thing I did – there were no unexpected names, but the ones I already knew appear in an unexpected order. She, like her mother, travels under the second of her given names.
I made a small design decision yesterday, too. The thing is: assume the central portion is going to come out square. In one corner, the lower right, are the initials of my husband’s sister who died in March: MCRM. In the middle is the year: 2011. I had planned to put our niece’s initials, ECR as I now know, in the upper left-hand corner, turned the other way. Now I think not: that would be all right without the date in the middle, but as things are it will be better to orientate them in the same direction as the other two panels.
So I don’t need Rorem’s upside-down alphabet after all, this time.
We have now entered what I think might be called the time-frame for the arrival of my new madelinetosh scarlet yarn from Amsterdam. (I ordered it last Saturday.) There’s only about a week of shawl-knitting left, so it had better turn up soon.
Thanks for the link to Windy Valley, anonymous. The colours look promising, all right – but all of the qiviut yarn seems to be lace-weight (understandably, given the price). That’s how I remember things from my own qiviut phase. I knit my mother an Amedro stole in it.
But I was struck yesterday with the fact that Caryll Designs offers the hand-painted colours in fingering weight – the naturals come in sport-weight as well. That still doesn’t achieve the worsted-weight you mention, anonymous, but it makes it possible to think of knitting my husband an extravagantly expensive and beautiful vest. With the price of heating fuel these days, it might even pay for itself.
The brain was knitted by Dr. Karen Norberg, and was on display at the Boston Museum of Science when I cut this item out two and a half years ago. The picture of Cate Blanchett was exactly two years ago, September, 2009. To my mind, fully worthy of the late lamented blogspot You Knit What?
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Considerably more cheerful.
I bought Interweave’s 2011 “Knitting Traditions” yesterday to cheer myself up, knowing I wouldn’t like it much, but at least with the iPad I’m not left with a great expensive can’t-throw-it-away-but-don’t-really-want-it to add to all the knitting stuff here.
What I discovered in it is MOCO yarns, meaning Musk Ox Company, meaning qivuit, from Caryll Designs. If qivuit could be said to have a fault, it’s colour. The fibre starts pretty dark, when still attached to the musk ox, and never gets lighter. But it looks, even so, as if there are better colours than there were during my qivuit phase many years ago.
There’s no room for temptation (quite apart from the prohibitive cost) because of my new rule – I mustn’t buy it until I can knit it. And that won’t be for a while, with the Japanese shirt stretching ahead in Strathardle and Thomas-the-Elder’s electric red sweater soon to be cast on here.
Silk, wool, cotton – you can’t beat ‘em.
I’ve reached row 133. No new problems yesterday. At this clip, I’ll reach the row (161) where I plan to start the final panel of lettering, our niece’s initials, in two or three days. I’d better start charting.
Hinke Osinga at the
And then how about this:
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
I had a moment of sharp gloom last night when I felt there were too many small and medium mistakes, some to be ignored, some to be clumsily repaired at the finishing stage. Maybe I can’t do this any more? I feel only marginally more cheerful this morning. Maybe it's time to start taking vitamin D, even though the time change must be more than a month away.
The centre pattern is printed on two pages, and when you finish them, you go back almost to the beginning and do it again. That’s where I am now, nearly half-way up the first page for the second time.
But otherwise, there’s nothing to say until my madelinetosh yarn turns up from the Netherlands, or “Knit, Swirl” from Amazon. The latter is now promised for later this month.
So, as suggested yesterday, here are two items from my Knitting Oddities file. The first is a poem from the FT Magazine, undated. The second, from something called “Trace” – it must be a publication devoted to stolen works of art – appeared in June, 1995.
Monday, September 05, 2011
Little to report. I’ve done 94 rows of the Mourning Shawl centre – one short of half-way. The remaining-stitch count is perfect on the right. On the left there are three extra stitches, a legacy somehow I feel sure of the stitches I dropped some inches ago and my feeble efforts to get back on track. I’ll slip in some extra double-decreases. I’ve started the digits for “2011”.
Thank you for the comments on “entreknits”. I was glad to have my impression confirmed – that it can’t be had on an iPad – by younger and sharper minds. Wren, I tried clicking on your name, as I often do with comments, and got only to a screen that said your profile had been withheld.
I spent an entertaining few moments Googling “wren blog knitting”. Are you jenwren? Blogduwren? Littlejennywren? Grandmotherwren? Smalltownwren? Perhaps even wreninthelibrary? Probably not blogduwren.
But I’ve spent so much time chasing wrens that I can’t even do that, today.
I remarked the other day that none of us had entered the Pillow Fight at the Games this year. Alexander sent a one-word email yesterday – “Nonsense!” – with this link. You can see what I mean about violence.
Here is this year’s group picture, looking rather attenuated.
There are three sweaters knit by me there -- Ketki, largely invisible on the far right, behind Ed, is wearing Kaffe's tumbling blocks. James-the-Younger in the front row is wearing his new Aran sweater, unplaced in the competition, and Joe, behind, with the Dan Webster Cup, is wearing the Grandson. And then there is Thomas-the-Younger, beside his brother, with a therapy scarf I knit as I was recovering from one of my broken arms.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Row 87 done, of the centre of the Mourning Shawl. If I maintain my present pace – but Sundays are not altogether conducive to knitting – I should reach the actual middle row today. More serious counting, at that point. I’ve started the frame for the numerals, but haven’t yet embarked on “2011” itself.
They say i
They say it takes fifteen minutes to download, or is it twenty? I’m not at all sure my now-rather-antique desktop has that sort of memory to spare, and anyway I don’t want to huddle in here amongst the unfiled financial papers when I’m reading a knitting magazine.
And one thing undoubtedly to be said in favour of the EU is that there will be no customs duty.
I do like the sound of the Supreme Possum Merino they offer. Have a look.
Saturday, September 03, 2011
I don’t really think I want Goodreader – I prefer to print patterns and write comments in the margins with old-fashioned writing implements. No need to catalogue stash for reference in a yarn shop. Don’t want to risk gravy-splashes by cooking from it. I must snatch some time today with the iPad lovers on Ravelry, and perhaps the App chapter in “iPad for Dummies.”
Friday, September 02, 2011
The stitch count came out right – I’m on the right track for attaching the centre of the Mourning shawl to its edges. There was some trouble last night on the left side. It still looks messy, and this morning I found two errant border stitches just waiting to break away and create big trouble. I’ve secured them with a safety pin and I’ll have to fudge something at the end.
So this morning’s picture is of the right-hand side again, with a reappearance of the initials. It's those vertical panels, just below the diagonals currently being knitted, which gave so much trouble. I'm sure they'll look better when blocked.
I’ll check the stitch count again at the half-way point, including checking to see whether I’ve got the same number of stitches still-to-pick-up on the one side as on the other. I’m sure not. There’ll be some tweaking needed at some point, but at least I know it won’t be major. A great relief.
Yesterday being the first day of the month, I turned the page of the Grandmother Calendar Rachel made for me last Christmas – and
look at that! I take it as a Sign.
It shows Thomas-the-Elder and James-the-Younger on Games Day, presumably in ’10. Thomas is sitting on the Pillow Fight bar. You put one hand behind your back and try to knock your opponent off the bar with a pillow held in the other. It can get pretty violent. None of us went in for it this year.
And Thomas is undoubtedly wearing his Cocoon scarf. I must have observed it at the time, but had completely forgotten. (Within living memory, the Fourth Saturday of August has been uncomfortably hot in Strathardle. But in recent years, global warming has put a stop to that.)
The Mourning Shawl must be finished in ’11, I feel – but there should be plenty of time for that as well as a Christmas scarf. This new – or is it not yet out? – book of Weekend Hats looks as if it has some good things in it, but I think members of my list may already be saturated with hats.
Amazon has written to tell me that “Knit, Swirl” has been delayed. It was due at the end of August. I can wait. That will affect the project-after-next, at best.