Tuesday, May 02, 2017

It has been another difficult day, and I’ve never been very good at thinking – Shandy, I am very grateful indeed for your comment yesterday about sleeves. I feel we’ve had some books? magazine articles? recently about set-in sleeves from the top. I’ve never tried it, and really should.

My husband’s sweater – shoulder seams sewn, then sleeves set in, then sleeve seams joined – undoubtedly looks a bit lumpy. But it will have to be washed soon (madtosh DK is machine-washable, with a measure of caution) when it gets covered with soup-stains and then we shall see.

I sort of remember that when I launched myself into knitting in the ‘50’s, I read somewhere that the first step was for the knitter to produce the garment pieces, and then the tailor’s job began. Mary Thomas’ knitting books take very much that line. She is disdainful of “peasant knitting”. One of EZ’s greatest achievements was to cut through that sort of thing, and pave the way for knitting to be knitterly.

Which is not to say that a set-in sleeve is not an elegant thing.


I remain full of enthusiasm for Andrew and Andrea, and agree, Shandy, that the accents are enchanting. Skeindalous, I tried “Handmade and Woollen” and probably hit it at a bad moment, but found it languorous. A&A produce a real magazine and keep things moving.

Anne, I enjoyed your comment (since removed): “I am a Paterson contributor to Fruity Knitting”. At first I thought, is this yet another aspect of modern life with which I am unacquainted? And then I thought, No! It’s a spell-checker trying to rationalize “Patreon”! I suspect I will join you soon, but first I want to follow up the podcasts suggested in PomPom’s comment of yesterday – except that I can’t find it on the blog, just in my inbox.

I knit some more of the swatch-scarf today, and ordered the needles which will allow me to speed ahead with the Polliwog, but am too tired to discuss either.

Hellie wants me to send Mrs Hunter of Unst’s shawl down to London now, so that she can carry her daughter (for daughter it is to be, I am told) home from hospital in it. I’ll see to that tomorrow.


  1. Hi Jean:

    I am so very sorry for the string of difficult days you have had lately.

    As far as checking out top down sweaters knit in the round with set in sleeves, check out Elizabeth Doherty and Cocoknits. Both of them have very clever ways of achieving that look.

  2. Congratulations on the prospect of a new great granddaughter. I would strongly recommend posting your shawl by Royal Mail Special Delivery. Yes it is dearer but it will be fully tracked and signed for and following some disastrous knitting losses in the post I would only use this method to post a precious shawl. The post office will give you a nice silver bag for free to post it in if you ask at the counter. You can have it delivered by 9 am or by 1 pm ( a bit cheaper) and of course you can warn the recipient to be in.

  3. I haven't discovered video podcasts yet; I listen to radio podcasts downloaded onto my mp3 player at night when I can't sleep. I can't imagine a knitting radio podcast...
    I can see that Video podcasts would make a pleasant change from endless 'how it's made' and 'bargain hunt on slow grey afternoons, but not sure if my husband would enjoy them!

  4. Hi Jean!
    After watching (and skipping ahead on YouTube) several podcasts/videos I have figured out what I like. The yarn talk/needle talk is fascinating to me, but I like it when the hosts (of their own podcasts) are calmer and real and NOT all flashy. There is even a 13 year old podcaster (Raspberry Knits) and she knows her wool! She's a little bumble-y (I taught language arts to this age cherub and I know it's awkward) but she's does know her stuff. Knitting by the Sea is a good one (she's a pro) and Little Bobbins Knits is a delight. The Gentle Knitter is a brilliant knitter (she lives in Canada). I like Hawthorne Cottage (Irish). Well, anyway . . . just wanted to give you another (same) list here. I use the search box on YouTube. Soul Stitcher is a nice woman from Idaho who struggles with chronic health issues (I think related to environmental allergies). She is a soft spoken dear. She loves nature, wool, and learning. I find her delightful. Okay, sorry to leave such a lengthy comment! I hope your day is steady.

  5. An audio podcast I enjoy is The Knitmore Girls. It is hosted by a mother-daughter team and is a fast-paced magazine style program. They often focus on some of the more technical aspects of knitting. The mother, Gigi, is from Germany and has a lovely accent to listen to.

  6. Oh, AND A SECOND AUDIO PODCAST YOU MIGHT ENJOY IS Helen Stewart's Curious Handmade. She is a shawl designer living in the UK, originally from Australia.

  7. Further on sleeves - I have certainly sewed in the sleeves first and then seamed the entire sleeve/body seam when it was a dropped shoulder and a flat sleevehead - remember those?
    In my younger days, I did a lot of dressmaking. Setting in sleeves then often involved putting a row of gathering stitches around the sleevehead to help ease in the fullness. And then there were the full-on bat-wing sleeves...

  8. Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top has top down set in sleeve directions. That was the first place I learned it, but many knitters have refined it now. How lovely that Hellie want to use the shawl to bring the baby home. Can't wait to see photos of that one!

  9. Oh one more thing - a little video about a machine knitter on Fair Isle. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-05-02/carrying-on-the-tradition-of-knitting-a-sweater-at-the-edge-of-the-world

  10. Just watched this video - beautiful. Now want to knit fair isle! But must must must finish somethings before I start another... thank you for the link.

  11. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Thanks for the great video podcast. More professional than most.

  12. Anonymous11:59 AM

    Wonder if you ever isolate one lozenge from another when considering it. Since colors have that way of changing appearance depending on what is next to them. (Of course, on the other hand, that might make things even more confusing.) Either way, Jean, you've got yourself a humdinger of a scarf.

  13. Anonymous12:01 PM

    Sorry, that was Chloe.