Thursday, December 04, 2014

Greek Helen has written a marvellous account of the mosaic she made for Thomas and Lucy. Don't miss. It includes a picture from the wedding day of the Princess shawl in action, but I think you've seen that one already.

Thanks for the nudges about the “Marius sweater”. Of course the concept was familiar, once I looked it up, but I don't remember ever hearing the term before. I think maybe that's the direction I'll head in, if Scotland win the Calcutta Cup and I find myself knitting sweaters for the boys on Loch Fyne.

I continue to read Kate Davies' Yoke book with great interest. The chapter on Shetland has a lot about what might be called the Great Yoke Boom of the 50's and 60's, when everybody in the islands was knitting yokes to be attached to machine-knit sweaters. I remember beautiful Munrospun packs – way out of my price range in those hard days – containing a yoke, plain yarn for the rest of the sweater, and (I think) a skirt-length of beautiful toning tweed. If I'm not imagining this, I wonder if such kits ever turn up on eBay.

I must try to find the Vogue Children's Book with the yoke pattern I knit for Rachel (twice, I think). It was my eureka-moment as far as Fair Isle knitting was concerned – I discovered that I could happily carry one of the colours in my left hand while the right hand was busy with the other, although I can't (then or now) knit “continental” with only one colour. And I discovered what enormous fun it was.

My sister-in-law asked, of Rachel's finished sweater, whether I had bought the yoke ready-knit. A compliment indeed, in retrospect – for if I had, it would almost certainly have been knit in Shetland. This must, given Rachel's birth-date in 1958, have happened somewhere in the late-ish 60's.

KD speaks of people who grew up in those days hating knitting, because it represented the churning out of those yokes to a deadline. And of the old woman whose dementia revealed itself when she could no longer remember the fern-and-star pattern.

This is a book for reading.

(Meanwhile, back at the ranch) all went well here last night. I did my 2 1/3 scallops on the Unst Bridal Shawl edging without mishap. There's a long, long way to go, but the third corner is now visibly behind me. I started winding the first of Carol Sunday's beautiful colours. The yarn (100% merino) is fine – it would have to be, to facilitate the intricate pattern of her Aberdeen mittens for which it is intended. I don't think fineness is a drawback in a scarf – and fisherman's rib is a warm, dense fabric.

Eventually I retreated to Archie's sweater.


The pop-up ad plague has reached Black Death proportions. My sister says to switch to Firefcx. Here on Blogger, I regularly get a banner across the top of the screen with ads for jeans. I have finally grasped that it is a Joyce-ian joke on my name.


  1. I remember Munrospun packs - I believe I was given one once, but it didn't have a yoke, just 1 yard of tweed and the wool for a jumper. The colours were gorgeous, but the wool was a bit of a problem since it was non standard thickness, making finding a pattern rather difficult. This was pre-EZ, when I didn't know I could just jump in and do it!

    Back when I used to get Falcon wool for everything they went through a spell of selling well-matched tweed to go with their top range yarns. That was R S Duncan, of Bradford, - now long departed.

  2. My uncle was a commercial traveller for Munrospun . However, unlike when he was a sales rep for a manufacturer of plastic carrier bags, we did not get any free samples!

  3. I found Kate Davies' comments on knitting kits with ready-made yokes fascinating - this was on Needled some months ago. She is a little young to remember "cut out and ready to sew" dresses and blouses, offered in women's magazines, or even the "skirt length" with tweed, lining, zip and label. These certainly do turn up on e-Bay, but are not "having a moment" as Fair Isle seems to be.

  4. Anonymous9:58 AM

    My husband and son-in-law, computer geeks both, would not think of using anything but Firefox. It's simple to adapt, and you will be so much happier!

  5. Helen's mosaic is amazing. What a wonderful wedding present.
    Happy brioching!

  6. Janis in Lyme12:48 PM

    Been reading about your problems with pop-ups. Yes, do try going to Firefox. Download Firefox and then go to their add-on page. Download Add Block Plus or Add Block Edge. (I use Add Block Edge because it is a lighter program.) I have been using this configuration for years and never get a pop-up. Hope it helps. You have my email if you need help.

  7. I must order that book. Once at knitting clinic a customer came in with one of those preknit yoke kits. I had been her mother's and she wanted to make it up. I imagine they show up somewhere, as our stash no doubt will.

  8. Anonymous1:56 PM

    I remembered reading that Kate herself bought a yoke in a bag on ebay. She writes about it here:

    The best knitting followed up so far from your blog this week is those red Rams and Yowes. Colours chosen with the help of a colourblind boyfriend have resulted in something which is so wonderfully evocative of a red sky at night. It set me thinking about other possible colour combinations - sheep in snow under the moonlight - sheep in twinkling frost and stars - sheep awash with colours from the Northern Lights - colours for the four seasons..............

  9. Anonymous10:30 PM

    Jean, thank you so much for the link to your daughter Helen's website. I read her fascinating account of he family wedding mosaic and then went poking around her website, which inspired an instant urge to take up mosaic-making. That may well go the way of my paper-making urge, but I have bookmarked her website and will go back from time to time.
    - Beth In Ontario