Friday, January 31, 2014

Skeindalous, just follow the link in yesterday's post (just above the image) to the auctioneer's page – the artist to whom the picture is there “attributed” is the man who painted it. The link still seems to work this morning. My brother-in-law also sent this link to what sounds like a press release from the auctioneer. The excitement over “our picture” is mentioned. Perhaps we were naïve to hope.

Here is my sister's account of the action, slightly redacted to remove the artist's name. (And what's with that word, which suddenly seems to be everywhere? What's wrong with “edited”?) As for the artist's name, and my wish to keep this space free of art historians, James and Alexander, with technical help from James's son Alistair, point out that an image search is perfectly possible. I've blown our cover by posting that one yesterday. 

Anyway, here's Helen:

There were four serious bidders besides us; two men at the back of the room who dropped out at around ten thousand.  One on the phone who dropped out at 20.  The winner was a young pretty woman who sat in our row; she hadn’t been there long.  She entered the bidding fairly late (?18 K or so) when it was between us and the phone; the auctioneer commented “we have a new bidder”.  She didn’t behave like she had any doubt.  Increments at this price are 2,500; the last three bids were her at 22.5, us at 25 and her win at 27.5.  Both Roger and I think she would have kept going. 

I don’t believe she stayed to bid on anything else and I hadn’t seen her bidding before. I saw her at the desk afterwards doing paperwork.  I think maybe she had a British accent and I believe she was talking about shipping.

One of the two men talked to us afterwards to try to find out who we were.  We said we were bidding for someone else.  He said he was a “private collector” and launched into a discussion of his belief that the painting was worth hundreds of thousands.  He believes it to be of MHA's sister which I gather means he knows a little but not very much but he did say it was a wonderful painting.  The other man appeared to be a dealer; he was bidding on other things as we were leaving. Afterwards we were sorry that we hadn’t asked to see it before the auction started but we didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves.  

And when we went to console ourselves the Oyster Bar was closed for renovations!”


Little to say here; little was done yesterday. 35 scallops have now been accomplished, of the 50 needed for the final side of the edging of the Unst Bridal Shawl.

I have definitely decided to lay it aside, when finished, and knit the rest of the shawl the way the pattern is written, centre-outwards. That means I'll miss out on two particular pleasures: the sense of increasing speed as one knits inwards, decreasing towards the centre; and the fun of knitting-on an edging, which I particularly enjoy. But which won't be necessary since I've already got an edging – and it'll have to be attached.

I had pretty well decided to start the centre by “knitting on” the stitches, as Sharon describes both in the pattern and in Heirloom Knitting. She offers a waste-yarn start as an alternative, but that involves so much fiddly picking-out at the end that I can't face it. I notice I've used it for the edging. That's enough.

There are plenty of provisional-cast-on alternatives. I've struggled with most of them in my day. Purl Bee came up with this excellent tutorial this morning (thank you, Zite) and I am tempted to give the crochet-chain another chance. The excellence lies in the photographs. I can at last see (I think) exactly what I am supposed to do.

Maybe next week!


  1. Jean, regarding the painting, very disappointing for you, but at least you had a go! Since it was apparently bought by a British person, you may get to see it some time.

  2. Lynne in Florida11:45 AM

    What a shame about the painting, and how very let-down you must be feeling. My sympathy goes out to you both. It's a lovely painting, and deserved the good home you would have given it. I hope the new owner appreciates it the way your husband would have done.

  3. I've never been to an art auction, it sounds rather exciting, even though the let down must be huge. I do hope you get to see it at some point. Too much to hope that it will turn up in a museum near you, I suppose. I use a crochet provisional cast on, but crochet it right onto the needle. That way there is no fussing about whether or not I'm in the right spot. I just searched and there are some good descriptions - this one is a video provisional-crochet-cast-on and there is a step by step at It is slower than making a chain, but to me more of sure thing at the end and always rips out.

  4. I found Lucy Neatby's video tutorial for a crocheted-on provisional start very helpful.

  5. There's a crocheted cast on called the Magic Ring that I think would work for the center. You wrap the yarn strand around one finger and crochet around it the stitches you need for the cast on. You can then use the loop end to close the center hole.

  6. Perhaps you might find Judy's Magic Cast On helpful to start the center of the shawl...I've used it for several things other than toe-up socks and it's perfect!

  7. Deidra6:24 PM

    Hi Jean,
    Rosemary Hill (Romi) does a belly-button cast on for lace that begins in the center. You use another yarn to knit a length of I-cord using the same number of stitches you would cast on in the round to begin your shawl. Then you knit the icord until it's a good length to hold on to and then simply use to switch over to your shawl's cast on center. You leave a tail that's around 3 times the length of the first couple of rounds and tie it in a neat bow to the end of the icord's tail and it'll stay out of your way until you've progressed far enough to carefully undo it and then weave it through to get it out the way. The neat thing is that the belly button is re-usable as long you need to cast on the same number of stitches to start a center again. She included much better instructions in her Craftsy class for the Fiori Autunnali shawl.

  8. The art auction sounds so exciting, something I've only seen in movies. Thanks for sharing Helen's write-up with us. As for lace knitting, I stopped a couple of years ago, and now I mostly stick with the extremely simple: garter st, st st, and ribbing are about my speed now. I look at old projects and wonder if I'll ever do anything ambitious again.

  9. Thats the provisional I use, and I prefer it to others. I usually make my crochet cord out of a slippery yarn like mercerized cotton, so no wool fuzz tangles with my knitting yarn. Zips out easily at the end, and your first row of knitting is gauge correct, usable knitting.

  10. Lynne in Florida7:44 PM

    My understanding of 'redaction' vs. 'editing' is that redacting is merely blacking out, cutting out, whatever, the unwanted material, leaving a blotch, hole, etc. whereas editing deletes the material smoothly, rewriting as needed, so that the alteration is unknown to the reader. I could easily be wrong, and I'm too lazy to dig the OED out from under.

    1. No, you're correct. "Redaction" is essentially censoring the document - for whatever reason. "Editing" is as you describe.