Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I’ve had a very pleasant Fat Tuesday, sipping cider and thinking about Fair Isle colours.

In the Fair Isle phase of my middle years, which didn’t involve much in the way of colour theory, I used to separate the chosen yarns into two piles, Background and Foreground, each arranged with nice graduations. Today it occurred to me that if one is knitting a banded sweater, as opposed to an all-over pattern, there is no real need to keep the piles separate.

I don’t think either the Feral Knitter or Knitsonic address this question head-on. I started by looking closely at KD’s Machrihanish pattern, and sure enough, colours seem to move from one role to the other, in different bands. I think it is probably a good idea not to have too many different colours altogether. And clearly each band, although differing somewhat in pattern from its fellows, must have the same colour arrangement – although the intervening band will be differently arranged, colour-wise.

You’re right, essentially, Shandy, that I must knit this vest for Alexander while I still can, whatever the fortunes of Scottish rugby. I had it in mind when I bought some of their Heritage yarn, or whatever it’s called, that happy day in Jamieson & Smith – not recently. Perhaps the solution this year, if we lose on the 11th, will be to knit the swatch. A hat is too small, and has the disadvantage that you have to think about a pattern for the crown shaping, which is completely extraneous to the central problem.

But a scarf…

Mrs Hunter’s shawl has advanced to the second half of the final repeat of the centre pattern. I should finish tomorrow. I like Kitchener’ing; that final side holds no fears. Except that it’s garter stitch: a) I must remind myself how to graft garter stitch; and b) I remember that one needs to have the two rows to be grafted at the proper stage of development. Since garter stitch involves turning the stitches first this way and then that (hence the difficulty in laddering down to correct a mistake), it is important to have the two rows either this way or that, before embarking upon Kitchener.

That much I remember, but memory needs to be refreshed.


Alexander is coming to see us tomorrow, as often on a Wednesday, but briefly, this time. He is involved in a complicated difficulty about his passports. He keeps explaining, and I keep forgetting. The essence is, I think, that his American passport and his British one give his name in slightly different forms. No one has ever objected before.

I have been able to find (good for me!) his birth certificate, and also a document which shows that his birth was registered with the American consulate in Glasgow. He is going to sweep in tomorrow to collect these precious papers and go straight on to the consulate here.

I have been concerned about the existential problem. The papers undoubtedly show that someone named GADM was born at 34 Hillhead Street in Glasgow on the 27th of February, 1960. But how will the American consul in Edinburgh know, tomorrow, that Alexander is that man? Maybe he just found all that stuff in a tip? I know, of course, but nobody’s asking me.


  1. Anonymous11:26 PM

    Wondering if you had seen the archival Fair Isle workbooks which were reprinted recently?
    Apparently lots of ideas there!
    keep well

    actual title - A Shetlander's Fair Isle Graph Book in Colour


  2. Good luck to Alexander on his trip to the Consulate.

  3. Anonymous6:47 AM

    Thank you, Jean, I will let you know when we are next in Edinburgh, though it is always longer between visits than we would like. In the meantime, walking up and down Broughton Street on a windy day should give you plenty of exercise until you can get an in-house programme organised. I also have two passports, as do my children, and keeping them both up to date is a nightmare, even without name confusion. I registered my children in London, 2 born at home in the 80s. In the current climate, I wish we had Scottish or European documents. CarolGilham

  4. Anonymous10:46 AM

    I wish more people would state that Kitchenering is easy for them. I kind of believe that it is the power of suggestion that brings many people to grafting with difficult and failure on their minds instead of success. Chloe

  5. I can do a stockinette kitchener in my sleep, but the garter always has me puzzling what side needs to be at what stage.

  6. Anonymous2:36 PM

    A "small project, large swatch" item is a small cowl. Knit as for the hat, but instead of shaping make it a little longer and bind off. A shape similar to this:

    Just enough to keep the drafts off one's neck!
    Phyllis in New Jersey, USA

  7. =Tamar3:40 PM

    I don't think I've ever Kitchenered anything but stockinette, but once I get started, I find it easy to look at the completed stitches and see what is to be done next. Garter stitch might be trickier. I second the suggestion of a cowl. A test cowl that turned out well could even become a hat.