Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Our EasyJet flight on Sunday leaves at 7 a.m. That will mean getting up at about 4, and having a taxi here at about 4:30. In fact, we are going to travel together in one taxi – C. will summon it to Morningside at about 4:15 and we therefore won't leave Drummond Place until slightly after 4:30 which will fret me a bit, but it should be all right.

Last night, as I was lying there peacefully waiting for sleep to come, I thought of something. I have confirmed it on-line this morning, The clocks go forward on Sunday. We've got to get up at three.

I'll change the clocks in the house, and my watch, on Saturday morning as soon as the party (my husband, Alexander, Rachel) sets forth towards London. That might help a bit.

I finished the Pocket Square yesterday, tidied and pressed it, and will dispatch it to London today. It's less bulky than the DK ones, as hoped. The colour isn't very strong. We'll see what they think. It would be great if it passes muster, as I've got the yarn and can take it to Athens and practice Continental Knitting.

And I resumed the Sous Sous. The secret of multiple-WIP-ery is surely never to leave anything for too long, so that resumption doesn't involve a strenuous mental readjustment. I'm nearly finished with the second pattern repeat. I'll press on at least through the third.

I also spent some time with three Sharon Miller shawl patterns, trying to extract the relevant figures for comparison. The Unst (just completed), the Wedding Ring and the Queen Ring are all standard-shape Shetland shawls, with an edging, four borders, and a square centre. Unlike the Princess, which is an enormous triangle. So what one needs to know, essentially, is how many stitches there are in the long outward edge of each border, and how deep the borders are. All the rest follows from that.

It is not altogether easy to find this information in the patterns. Sharon writes rather diffusively (I think might be the word) and she prefers to start with the centre. And in the case of the Queen Ring, she offers several alternatives which affect the stitch count.

The answer is roughly that the Unst is the smallest of the three, then the Wedding Ring, then, by a fair margin, the Queen Ring. I don't think it's going to be possible to reduce and simplify and still retain the elements I want. A framed centre has to be of a certain size or the frame will simply overwhelm and swallow the centre. The borders have to be in proportion. The edging has to go all the way around.

So maybe I'd better just go ahead and start the Queen Ring and see what happens. The pattern is based on an actual shawl which Sharon bought at auction. She tries to copy the original technique – knitting from the edging inwards. That is the method I prefer. Indeed, after doing it Sharon's way, centre-outwards, for the Unst, I resolved, never again.

The Queen Ring pattern has the four borders knit separately and seamed at the end. I'm certainly not going to do that. Even Sharon found it tough going. It has occurred to me that the simplest solution to the garter stitch problem (instead of purling alternate rounds, or mastering the Fleegle System) might be to knit the borders all-in-one not circularly but back-and-forth, with a single open seam. Plenty of time to think about such things as I knit the edging.

I made a start at Christmas, which now seems a very long time ago – ten edging points done. It's an easy edging pattern to learn, I remember. And it looks rather nice – I got it out yesterday.

As far as I know, Sharon hasn't published the pattern for her own-design “Fine Lace Framed Shawl”, but it could be deduced from the calculations and charts of pp 215-218 of Heirloom Knitting. Maybe I should add it to my little compilation.

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  1. Jean I admire your enthusiasm for the challenge. I spent yesterday evening working on stockinette in the round and pondering some short row concerns. I tell myself that if I had a reason to make a Queen Ring and the like I would, but I would be lying. So sorry about the time change on Sunday. That adds to the difficulty, but you will not be making anyone else breakfast before you leave, at least.

  2. Anonymous8:18 AM

    Jean, you may want to remind your niece of the time change, in case she has forgotten.

    Your leaving at such an early hour on Sunday reminds me of the one and only time I have visited Edinburgh. My flight was leaving at 7:00 a.m. also, and I left my hotel on Princes St. at 4:00 a.m. I walked about 4 blocks to the bus stop near the train station (Waverly?), and waited about 30 minutes for the bus to the airport to arrive. It was a little scary, sitting all by myself at that dark, early hour, and I was relieved when the bus arrived!

    Mary G. in Texas

    1. Thanks, Mary, I thought of that. I've told our niece to make sure the taxi company remembers the time change, too, when she books a cab for 4:15 a.m. "new time".