Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Real progress – the centre of the Unst Bridal Shawl has been launched.

KarenE, your comment about the knitted cast-on was received just at the point yesterday where I had executed ten stitches of the crochet cast-on, very awkwardly. So I tried it and it's smooth and easy all right, and there were the little loops below – but I wasn't quite sure that I could identify five loops for five cast-on stitches, if that makes sense, so I went back to the crochet hook and awkwardness and eventually got the job done. 165 stitches, not a great number but undoubtedly more than the 23 I cast on for the edging.

The next instruction was one row to settle things down, and then eight rows of plain-vanilla garter stitch. That's done – I'm ready to start knitting the centre! I might mention that I found it virtually impossible to keep my place in garter stitch by counting ridges, with the yarn being so fine. But I've got my Katcha Katcha so that's all right.

The other, more serious, problem is that my new wonderful needle produced the old difficulty – stitches had to be coaxed painfully from the cable to the needle point. After a month of knitting that edging on lovely KnitPro sock needles, it was a shock.

I finally retreated to a metal needle. It's very long, and one of the needle-ends is bent into an arc. Somewhere, dimly, memory suggests that Sharon Miller likes to do it that way. Did I even, perhaps, order this needle from her? Did I knit the Princess with it? At any rate, all went well with the last rows of garter stitch – the stitches flowed smoothly, and were perfectly visible, white on gunmetal grey. The cord is purple.

At some point soon I've got to lay this aside and polish off the Milano. Maybe when I've established the centre with a complete pattern repeat.

Mansfield Park

How right you are, Ellen, that we can rejoice in there being enough Austen that each can be a favourite! You have convinced me to go back to Persuasion next. I often re-read its first page, surely one of the very best in all Eng Lit, but it's been a long time since I read the book.

Shandy, I think Fanny Price and Elizabeth Bennet would get on fine. Although not lively herself, Fanny had no objection to liveliness. Her judgements were moral. At the end of that pivotal scene with the necklaces, Fanny reflects: “Miss Crawford, complaisant as a sister, was careless as a woman and a friend”. She couldn't think that of Elizabeth B.

You may have invented a whole new literary game – moving a character from one Austen novel to another.


  1. I realized when I picked up my Kindle that I had, in fact, downloaded Mansfield Park as one of my first books for the new Kindle nearly 2 years ago. The road to hell etc...

  2. On the Austen commentary, there's a most fabulous retelling of Pride and Prejudice done as videos in a modern setting, released all online called the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Just amazing. http://www.lizziebennet.com/

  3. You're right of course that Fanny censures Mary Crawford for her views on her uncle, and on the church as a profession. One might ask from whence she drew such discrimination - not, surely from her own home, Mrs Norris or Lady Bertram. Of course, she is always engaged in reading, but mostly of accounts of travel.
    In her letters, at least, Austen was not averse to the cruel but witty one-liner herself. What might Fanny have made of those?