Thursday, March 19, 2015

Another bright, sunny morning. Alas, the forecast is not so bright for the eclipse tomorrow.

Yesterday's hazards were successfully negotiated, thanks in no small measure to the kind friend who drove us to the dr's appt. I've already been out for the papers this morning, so all I have to do for the rest of the day is sit back and wait for that package, hoping it's here in time to let me have a nap this afternoon. The tracking process shows it as “loaded to vehicle for delivery”. That's encouraging. Maybe I'll be able to block that shawl.

I'm back in the saddle with the Tokyo shawl, halfway through the fourth band (of 29). But the big news yesterday was the arrival of the new package from Webs, again with no duty to pay (like the recent madelinetosh Whiskey Barrel for the Sous Sous). The Queen is going to have to improve surveillance. They post in a dark-coloured plastic envelope, perfectly adequate for yarn and/but distinctly unobtrusive. The perfectly correct customs form identifies the sender as “Steve Elkins, 8 Industrial Way, Easthampton”, rather than “Webs”. The contents are described as “knitting yarn” and the cost is given – it is fairly considerable, in this case. That information is in very small print, rather faint.

I don't know if any of these factors weigh with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, but I do know that I'll look first at Webs, in the future, when I want yarn from the US.

And the yarn? Oh, yes. Rather good. This is the fingering-weight yarn which I hope might make a less bulky pocket square . Baah Aspen (never heard of it), merino, silk and cashmere. The colour is OK, I think. The linen Shibui Mary Lou sent me remains the best on that front.

So the plan is – if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans for tomorrow – that I'll finish the current band of the Tokyo shawl, wind the next skein and establish the next band, and then knit a pocket square, a fifth attempt. The pattern, as I've said, is a simple “cast on 4; increase every row until it's big enough; then decrease every row until you're back down to 4”. So there will be no difficulty adapting it to the lighter yarn. The label says to use US 6 – that's 4mm – needles. I think I'll go down a notch or two. This thing mustn't droop.

It's in skeins, so more winding will be involved. I might even get it done before Athens.


Several of you have sent links in your comments recently which I mean to pursue. This morning I went to one of them, Mrs Hiatt's new website based on her iconic book (I think the word is justified) “The Principles of Knitting”. I have the earlier edition, and rarely use it.

The website isn't very densely populated yet, but there is an interesting article about the use of a knitting belt. She and her son have designed one which looks rather nice. The Fair Isle vest I keep mentioning, on my project list, is meant to be knit using the belt and long dp's I bought from Jamieson&Smith. Maybe Mrs Hiatt will be the spur to get that started.

I was reflecting yesterday on how much I have knit with madelinetosh in the last four years and how there is none at all in the stash except for leftovers, which I think you will agree come into a slightly different category. It started with Thomas-the-Elder's request for an “electric red” sweater, made at my sister-in-law's funeral early in 2011.

I knit it for him, using Jared's Brownstone pattern and madelinetosh scarlet. There was enough left over that I knit a reduced version for Thomas-the-Younger. Then a hat for somebody. Then a striped hat for somebody else.

There's been lots more – the Mitered Jacket in “Knit One, Knit All”; a sleeveless vest for my husband; a “gardening sweater” for Rachel's husband Ed; two Relax's – one so small I gave it away, a second one I happily wear; Archie's sweater; now the Sous Sous. Maybe I'll look out some pictures for you. But the point is, when I buy madelinetosh, I knit it.


  1. Have you ever made a Linen Stitch Scarf (there are numerous free versions on Ravlery)? It would be a wonderful way to use every last inch of your Tosh Leftover stash, and I have found that nearly everything can go into the mix together and it almost always works.

    I have managed the plant issue in the past by setting the pots in a pan with about an inch or so of water, letting osmosis do the work. Its worth the risk, if you can't find a neighbor to water the chilis for you.

  2. There is a new Rowan Cotton, too, less shiny than the Cotton Glace, with a decent navy. I think it is called Summerlite. Perhaps on your next outing to John Lewis. We have used a bottle (cider?) filled with water and stuck into plants to keep them watered while away, but that pot for the chilies looks tiny from here.

  3. I'm glad you found that Principles of Knitting website, Jean. I ran across it yesterday, and was going to send you the link. I had immediately thought of you and the knitting belt you bought at J&S.

    It's funny you should get your parcels from Webs duty free. I rarely get hit for duty when ordering yarn from the US, but Canada Post consistently charges me for Webs orders.