Saturday, October 30, 2004

A Quick Touching of Base

The non-Wallaby Wallaby progresses well. I put in a row of purl bumps, in the end (not a contrasting yarn), where the pouch will be attached. I may reach the Actual Moment this evening. Next will be the problem of figuring out how to size the pouch -- the original Wallaby pattern doesn't give a row gauge, but phrases its instructions for the pouch in terms of the number of rows.

Common sense should see me through. I'll start out the Wonderful Wallaby way, decreasing one at each end of every other row. After all, I'll have more stitches, since I'm working in a finer yarn. There may be little agjustment needed.

The next question, once our friends leave, will be to decide whether to carry on, or whether to go back to the Fair Isle cardigan. I've found a pattern that fits fine, both ways. Maybe a bit too easy, but certainly symmetrical.

Perhaps the answer is to press on with the Wallaby until the pouch questions are settled, which shouldn't take long, and then work alternate days on alternate projects.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Fergus's Wallaby Posted by Hello

Fergus's Wallaby

I've finished the ribbing. It's blissful stuff to handle, and it produces a wonderful soft but somehow sort of crisp fabric, although it is undoubtedly _very_ orange. No wonder it was on sale.

I'm going to put a kangaroo pouch on the front. I made a genuine Wonderful Wallaby once, and found the attachment of the pouch rather difficult. In that pattern, you knit for about four inches above the ribbing, then go back and create a pouch just above the ribbing by pulling yarn through stitch by stitch with a crochet hook. I found it surprisingly difficult to keep going in a straight line.

I posted this problem to the Knitlist the other day, and Linda suggested (brilliantly) either knitting twice into every stitch along the stretch where the pouch is to start, and then separating every other stitch onto separate needles to serve as background and pouch; or putting in a row of purl stitches there, so that you can be guided by the purl bumps during the crochet-hook manoeuvre. I think maybe I'll refine that latter idea by actually knitting the stitches in a different yarn -- a scrap of Koigu should do nicely.

This whole enterprise is intended as mindless knitting to carry me through a visit from old friends, starting today. The trouble is, after I've knit four inches above the ribbing, I've got to attach the pouch, and that's _not_ mindless. I'll have to lock myself into the lavatory with a crochet hook. At the very least, I must locate a suitably small crochet hook and read the Wallaby instructions several times before our friends arrive. They are going to bring us some quinces from their tree! Unobtainable in shops here, and exquisitely delicious.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Chardin: The Lady Taking Tea Posted by Hello

Ever Onward

I think I'll post this as a separate entry, too, hoping to preserve the image.

The picture is in the Hunterian Art Gallery at the University of Glasgow. It's beautiful and deeply peaceful and I got out the postcard yesterday and started choosing colours for the Stillwater-replacement, using it as a guide. (Kaffe Fassett's idea, and a good one. I've done it before.) With the severe restriction that I'm NOT going to buy any yarn.

I've got nine or ten colours, and I like the way they look. The main lack is a red to represent the cupboard-in-shadow in the lower right, and perhaps not enough charcoal grey to do the shawl. I started looking through pattern collections and making calculations, too, so far without success -- if it fits vertically, it doesn't fit horizontally. But I've got lots more to look at, including a book of Starmore's entirely devoted to charts for colour knitting. I find myself -- and it's totally unreasonable -- rather anti-Starmore after the Stillwater experience, and I am concentrating so far on my beloved Sheila Macgregor's Fair Isle book. We shall see.

For actual knitting, I cast on a sweater for grandson Fergus, as mentioned yesterday. The yarn is Rowan's 4-ply Soft, and there's no doubt, it's orange. I love the feel of it. For gauge I used the figures on the ballband -- quicker than swatching -- and for size, the "small child" schematic in Vicky Square's book, "Knitting Great Classics". Except that she gave 24" for the circumferance and I threw in an extra inch. It's a very useful book. It's currently at Kirkmichael, where I used it for Theo's Koigu sweater (Adult extra large) and now for Mungo's. The book gives stich-counts for a variety of gauges, as well as schematics.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


I think it might be safest to make this a separate entry, in case Blogger feels inclined to remove either of the pictures below. They tell their own story.

I had a really good time ripping out the Stillwater, and I'm absolutely sure I did the right thing. I've been laying out new colours this morning (more about that tomorrow) and looking through books for an allover pattern. I know my gauge, and so there's no excuse for not actually planning what I intend to do -- so that the pattern starts at a reasonable point, and, even more important, achieves a reasonable leaving-off point at the shoulder.

I have a feeling that once, in my old Fair Isle days, I had the idea of laying out all the colours (an odd number of them) in a circle, and proceeding as before with three rows of foreground and three rows of background, never changing both on the same row -- and simply taking the next colour in the circle each time, so that any particular colour would appear first as foreground, then as background. What I can't remember is whether I ever actually did this. If so, it was reasonably successful. I'll trawl back through my old photographs.

Meanwhile, while thinking and planning, I intend to cast on a sweater for my delicious grandson Fergus. It'll be plain, good mindless knitting for the weekend when our friends are here, but I want it to have a kangaroo pouch like the famous Wonderful Wallaby pattern. For general shaping, I'll use Elizabeth's Percentage System (Elizabeth Ziummermann) again. The yarn is some bright stuff I bought in the Liberty sale last summer. I thought it was red, but it appeared awfully orange when I took it out of the cupboard yesterday. Never mind -- it's cheerful.

I had a lovely message from Judith this morning -- she actually reads my Blog! My email address is One day I'll get it a permanent position in the sidebar.
Stillwater, today Posted by Hello
Stillwater, yesterday morning Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


I have just spent a gloomy half-hour downloading and struggling with BlogJet, thinking it would solve all my problems such as yesterday's lost photograph. But I'm no forrader.

I'm perhaps an inch, perhaps less, forrader with the Stillwater, increasingly hating it. I like the result; it's been on my wish list for so many years that I feel constrained not to quit. I could rip the whole thing back to the ribbing and knit a symmetrical pattern.... Oh dear

I got the holiday Vogue Knitting yesterday. Zilch, but it's always fun to get it, and I find with Vogue that when I go back a couple of years later, lots of things look better than they did originally. I subscribe to VK, IK. Knitters, the new(ish) British magazine Knitting, and Woolgathering, and I'm a member of the Knitting and Crochet Guild (GB) and the Lacy Knitters' Guild. I think if I had to narrow it down to one, it would be Woolgathering.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Mungo's sweater, again Posted by Hello

Kirkmichael knitting

I got back into the swing of the Stillwater last night, if it could be said to have a swing. I actually finished the pattern repeat -- 58 rows. I figure it will need another 30 rows or so before I start the armhole steeks. Can reader interest be sustained?

Here, with colours somewhat garishly enhanced is

Mungo's Koigu sweater Posted by Hello

as I left it behind in Kirkmichael on Saturday morning. The first two inches are in a knit-and-purl diamond pattern. While I was doing it, I thought the beautiful Koigu was completely swallowing the stitch pattern, but now that I've left it behind, I think it looks rather well -- and much more legible than this photo suggests. Sort of like brocade.

The rest is a simple series of ten-row stripes from my ample Koigu stash. I think I'm about halfway to the armpits. The whole enterprise looks rather large, but, hey! he'll grow into it. I'll use ordinary ribbing for the start of the sleeves, not the diamond pattern -- a chap needs to be able to push his sleeves up.

Some energetic friends will be coming to stay with us this weekend here in Edinburgh -- it will be quite impossible to knit the Stillwater while talking to them. That project can only tolerate the company of a silent husband and uninteresting television. That was the great attraction of the idea of bringing Mungo's sweater back -- it's blissfully mindless knitting. But I didn't, so I'll either have to start something else (I know what) or just knit the current travel-sock after solving the problem that presented itself at the doctor's office last week.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Back from Kirkmichael

I got a lot done on Mungo's Koigu sweater while we were there -- I'll post a picture tomorrow. For today, here's a picture (also taken at Kirkmichael, in August) of

Jamie in his Koigu sweater Posted by Hello

and me in my political tee-shirt. Jamie's sweater is compound of sufficient different elements that I regard it as my own pattern -- it's given in full on my website I went to the supermarket one day with tape measure in hand, to measure something plausible in their children's clothing section for size. The children's clothing section was shut that day, so I picked a likely-looking boy in the vegetable section and asked his mother if I could measure him.

She was very nice about it, and my victim's brother gave me a parsnip. The baby himself looked as if he would have liked to call security had he had the vocabulary. But the result was spot-on, size-wise.

I had a lovely time at Kirkmichael knitting Mungo's Koigu. Our next visit (which should be soon, d.v.) will get me to the armpits. The Tempter suggested that I bring it back -- Koigu is delicious to knit with. If I worked on it in Edinburgh, Mungo could have it for Christmas....

I resisted. Good thing, too. The heart utterly sank when I picked up the Stillwater last night. I will never again knit a Fair Isle pattern which isn't symmetrical. Is there a break-even point in a knitting project after which one carries on and finishes it, no matter what? I doubt it. It was hard (despite good notes) to figure out where I was and what was going on. I succeeded in the end, and knit a couple of rounds, but it wasn't fun.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Stillwater -- Latest

I got past the point last night where I had calculated that the underarm gussets would have to start, so the Die is Cast -- no gussets.

I also found myself knitting another dark-on-dark section. I gave some thought (especially in view of what I had written on the subject yesterday morning) as to whether I should change the colour sequence to avoid it, but decided to go ahead. This time at least the pattern colour is in the red range with all the others, and I think the eye will be able to make the connections.

What an odd pattern this is! I wonder if it is computer-generated in some way.

I'm also far enough along, and happy enough with the work, that I feel more confident about the idea of putting it aside in the late evening to knit grandson James his hat. So I spent some time yesterday evening winding the chosen skein of 20th Century Yarn.

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday which saw the heel turned on the current Travelling Sock, and stitches picked up to form the gussets. Unfortunately I discovered while knitting for a few more moments after my flu injection (in case I collapsed on the floor) that a stitch has escaped, in one of those difficult corners between the heel flap and the instep stitches. I decided when I saw that, that I felt fine, and left to catch my bus. I'll deal with it another time.

Off to Kirkmichael today. No more blogging until the weekend, therefore. I've posted an appeal in the Bloggers Users Group for help on how to put a page of current pics "behind" the blog somehow, so that it could be constantly appealed to. Cue for picture of Burnside, Kirkmichael here.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Things are Going Better

I'm increasingly happy with the progress of this strange garment. I still haven't finished the first full pattern repeat, but I've now done enough that the undulations are becoming pleasingly conspicuous. This is how much

further forward Posted by Hello

I was by last night. The picture doesn'tdo justice to the dark band in the middle -- there is a tendency, with my colour system (where the background and foreground colours change in relation to each other and to the pattern) for bits of the pattern to disappear, especially in the dark-on-dark sections. Usually, it doesn't matter -- the eye can supply any deficiencies by knowledge of the overall pattern.

Here, that doesn't work, since the overall pattern is so odd and indeterminate. There is one point where it disappears, that green stripe early on -- it just looks like a green stripe. But despite what the picture seems to show, it carries on perfectly legibly through the dark centre band.

I have reached, sure enough, the point where an underarm gusset would have to start. The prototype, Helen's Wedding Sweater, has one. My notes don't have any suggestion of why, nor of how successful the result was. Alice Starmore's Fair Isle Handbook, which I am using as a vade mecum, shows gussets on pullovers but not on cardigans. I think it might be altogether too much fabric under the arms, and decided last night to leave gussets out this time. Any comments? Today's the day, as far as this decision is concerned.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Ever Onward

Yesterday I began to hope that the whole Stillwater thing is beginning to pull together. I felt something of the old pleasure in colour knitting. I remember, in the old days, knitting some Fair Isle sweater or other and wondering why I ever knit anything else. Well, it wasn't quite like that, last night, but I could imagine feeling that. Maybe I'm getting the hang of memorizing 18-stitch sequences.

It was a dreich day -- I think another such is dawning -- and that may have helped. Warm, cosy colours.

I've done just short of nine inches, including of course the ribbing. Today I'll make some preliminary decisions about the underarm gusset.

Next week in Kirkmichael, of course, attention turns to a completely different project.
Kirkmichael was where I knit Theo's big Koigu sweater -- you'll have to trawl back through the archives to see it, since my plans for a picture page somewhere in the background remain un-realised. Grandson Mungo admired it extravagantly when he was here last summer -- we confine grandchildren to Kirkmichael as far as possible -- and so I am knitting him one. Using the EPS system again.

Meg Swansen has an idea for edging sweaters which she calls purl-when-you-can, so I'm doing something like that for Mungo. Not ribbing, but a little diamond pattern. The idea is that there are enough purl stitches that the edge won't curl, although of course it also won't pull in. It seems to be working, and next week things ought to get to a point where a photo actually shows real progress.

Mungo's sweater Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 16, 2004

More Progress

This is meant to be a closeup picture of the Stillwater pattern as rendered by me. It doesn't so much look meandering, as runic.

Closeup Posted by Hello

This is how things stand Posted by Hello

at the moment. After all this fussing and grumbling, I'm making enough progress that it is time at least to begin thinking of how far it is to the underarms. The model, Helen's Wedding Sweater, has underarm gussets. I might as well attempt that again. My copious notes about the knitting of the earlier sweater are mostly concerned with fitting in the rows of motifs. I find that I have written "sleeve gusset - 25 stitches -- row 8 of swan" and "40 rounds above armpit of swan" -- that doesn't make any sense, and neither remark is very helpful.

I'm still not enjoying myself much although yesterday may have been a bit better. I'm still fiddling with the colors.

Blogging seems to have settled down (touch wood). My next two objectives are to incorporate an "email me" button and figure out how to have a page of useful pictures, not many, always accessible. On it at the moment would be Helen's Wedding Sweater, and -- permanently, I think -- our house in Kirkmichael, where we're going next week.

Friday, October 15, 2004


Well, I decided yesterday that it was too soon to give up on my chosen colour scheme for the Stillwater, so I plodded on, and I think I'm pleased with the result. Another picture promised soon.

It's difficult knitting, though. Apart from not being symmetrical, the pleasant, meandering pattern seems to Just Happen -- knitting one row gives me no feeling for what the next one is going to be. I remember starting to knit Kaffe Fassett's "Ancient" pattern once -- and I'm an accomplished KF knitter -- and after about eight rows I decided I couldn't STAND doing those cloud-like shapes, for much the same reason. I ripped the eight rows out and used the yarns to knit his "Afghan" pattern instead. Slow, hard work, but with some logic to it, and a great success in the end.

So I continue to be tempted to cast on a baby hat for the weary fag-end of the evening when memorising the color sequence for another round of Stillwater is just too much. But at the same time I'm afraid to lay something difficult down for fear I won't pick it up again.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Progress on the Stillwater

I am feeling very rabbit-in-the-headlights about this project. The photograph below conveys something of the same mood, having been taken by flash in the dark early morning.

I've done a few inches, as you see. Last night, I decided I didn't really like the top, dark bit and should maybe rip back to the first inch, which is more or less dark purple on grey (one of Starmore's colourways!) and see if I have enough yarn to do the whole thing like that.

The Stillwater in progress Posted by Hello

This morning, when I went in there just now to take the pic, I felt a bit more cheerful about it. Maybe I'll just press on. There are adjustments to be made, certainly. The transition from light background to dark background is too abrupt, and a line of green in there just above the red doesn't look remotely Titianesque, it looks Christmas-y, which is NOT what we want. But these problems can be dealt with on the next pass through the yarns -- green will simply not be called on again, and the background shades can be rejigged too.

When daylight finally arrives, I'll have a good look at the whole thing. Still two months to go until the solstice, and daylight is getting a bit scarce.

But I sort of wish I had a lot of projects going, so I could do something else today.

Maybe I'll start a baby hat. If I can get sizes right, I could toss off a couple more for Christmas presents. Grandson Archie, for instance, who is eight and lives in Thessaloniki, does a lot of ski-ing in the winter.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Further Onward

I got a most helpful email from Julianne yesterday, suggesting stitch numbers for my forthcoming hat for grandson James. When someone posts a comment to this Blog, I get it promptly from Blogger as an email, and I reply at once. But last night, with a bit of right-clicking on Julianne's message, I realised (I think) that my replies to messages which arrive by that route, are dispatched into the dark backward and abysm of time and never seen again.

Once I'm sure I've got the illustration problem nailed -- I'm making progress, I think, and anyway am not going to attempt a picture today -- I'll work on adding an "Email me" button at the top of the page, like Queer Joe's.

We'll be going to London soon, and I'll take James's hat as a travel project, instead of or as well as the current pair of socks. That way I can try it on him as I proceed and frog if necessary.

The Stillwater

I got a bit bogged down last night. What makes a two-color row easy or not is the question of how easy it is to memorise the stitch sequence, so that you can repeat it to yourself mantra-fashion as you proceed, and don't need to peer at the chart again until it's time for the next round. The Stillwater is an 18 stitch repeat and despite not being symmetrical all went well for the first few rounds, but last night, as the pattern began to undulate a bit, I found it getting hard. I even put it down for a while and just watched television.

I shall return to the fray with renewed determination today.

The row repeat is something like 70, but I should have an idea long before then of how things are working.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Or, perhaps, a better title: Everything Works for the Best, in the Best of All Possible Worlds.

I got started on the color knitting for the Stillwater yesterday. It's not a symmetrical pattern, so the experience is not the utter Zen bliss of a traditional Fair Isle pattern, which usually is symmetrical, but it's still pretty good. I had yarn trouble -- I had some old Twentieth Century Yarn (they've now re-named themselves 21st Century), pretty nice but in use it felt slightly thicker than ordinary Shetland, so I revamped the colours a bit to eliminate those skeins. Then I discovered that some Shetland lace skeins had found their way into the Shetland jumper-weight box by mistake, so I eliminated THOSE skeins. And fished some additional skeins out of the boxes to make up the deficit. All is well now, I think.

Soon I should be able to show you my progress. Meanwhile, here's a pic from Alice Starmore's book. You can see the verticality of the pattern, and the coolness of the colours.

Stillwater Posted by Hello

Then yesterday afternoon I got an email from my son Alexander to say that his son James -- our youngest grandchild, although not for long; James is soon to be a brother -- could do with a hat. One of the 20th Century Yarn skeins will be perfect. All I want is a gentle rib, fisherman's I think. k2 p2 might be too tight, and brioche too loose. I think James would prefer not to go about dressed as a pumpkin or a berry. So I must now guess how many stitches to cast on. The patterns I have found so far are all worsted weight.

Watch this space

Monday, October 11, 2004

Beginning the Stillwater

I joined a Bloggers' Users' Group on Yahoo yesterday, although I still haven't plucked up courage to ask my question about the disappearing pictures.

Well, I finished the ribbing. Is it too striped? Too light? My stash is in fact somewhat depleted by a decade or so of chipping-away since I last knit a Fair Isle, and what is mostly missing is basic background colours. I could do with some more charcoal grey.

Much of yesterday's knitting time was spent

winding yarn Posted by Hello

and as you see, there's plenty more to do, but I've wound enough to make a start on the colour knitting today. Exciting! Alice Starmore's colourways for her Stillwater cardigan are very cool and quiet, mine distinctly hot and noisy, or Titianesque if you want to be polite. It will be very interesting to see how this works.

I have been surprised, thus far in a brief Blogging career, to discover how much there is to say. I'm afraid we're now about to enter a long boring period.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Failed again -- here it is Posted by Hello

The Baby Surprise, Finally

The Baby Surprise -- finished! Posted by Hello

Inspired by yesterday's success at actually getting an illustration INTO a blog entry again, look what I did -- I sewed those buttons on! Here is the finished Baby Surprise, showing not only the buttons but, if you peer, the neat applied i-cord edging which two blog-readers suggested.

Now all we need is a baby. He's due next month -- or she is, as the case may prove -- and I'll let you know when it happens.

Meanwhile I might mention why I used the word "Stillwater" yesterday of the forthcoming Fair Isle. That is because the stitch pattern will be Alice Starmore's "Stillwater" pattern from her book of the same name. I'm not knitting her sweater -- I couldn't stand to do all that checkerboard edging -- but I think the pattern itself is extremely clever, getting away from the horizontal-stripe effect of so much Fair Isle. I may actually finish the ribbing and start the fun bit this very day.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Yarn for the Stillwater cardigan Posted by Hello

My first week of blogging went so well....

I lost several paragraphs of text this morning, so we'll keep this short. Here's the yarn I'm going to use for the Fair Isle cardigan (nearly 3" of ribbing done -- I'm aiming for four). The selection -- from my ample stash -- was inspired by a visit that day to the Titian exhibition currently on here in Edinburgh.

My system was inspired by a paragraph in Odham's Encyclopedia of Knitting (no date -- perhaps around 1950) saying that Shetland sweaters were sometimes knit with (say) eight background colours and nine pattern colours, three rows of each but never changing both colours in the same row. That will mean that the colours will change in relation to each other, and to the stitch pattern, as the work progresses.

If you get the idea.

I think the encyclopedia may have been wrong -- I now really don't believe that that's what anyone ever did on Shetland. But I rather like the effect.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Not Much Progress

I wrote to Blogger yesterday about my picture-posting problems, and am promised an individual reply -- pretty good service, if it happens, for a free resource. Just for today, I won't struggle with a picture.

I knit some more of the ribbing of the new Fair Isle sweater last night (and didn't sew the buttons on the Baby Surprise -- I sort of figure, if I can't post a picture here, what's the use? although that's not a very good excuse). I kept pretty good notes in my Fair Isle knitting days, and I think the sweater that fit Helen then will fit her sister Rachel now, so I cast on the same number of stitches, and was grateful to be reminded by my notes to cast on a number divisible by 2 but not by 4, so that the k2/p2 rib can have a knit rib at either side of the front opening.

The notes don't say whether I started in the round, with a steek, or knit the ribbing flat as I'm now doing. I'll switch to the round, with a steek, when I start on the colour pattern. Once I've added a steek -- I've been re-reading Alice Starmore on the subject -- there will be an edge stitch on either side of it, from which I will eventually pick up stitches for the front button band, to be knit outwards. But the ribbing won't have an edge stitch. I doubt if this will matter much, but it worries me a bit. I always knit first and think later, and it really isn't the best approach.

My old notes say that Helen herself sewed the buttons on the original sweater.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Helen's cardigan, again Posted by Hello
Helen's wedding cardigan Posted by Hello

Queer Joe has pictures in his blog, so why can't I do it anymore? As I write this text, the picture is here in front of me. But what has been happening lately is that when I re-post it ("re" because the picture was already here, and I'm just editing it) the text goes up without the pic.

Assuming for the moment that it's going to work this time -- I knit wedding sweaters for each of my daughters anf daughters-in-law, with personal and family symbols, and initials of bride and bridegroom and the date of the wedding. Helen's sweater was by far the best, but the marriage crumbled. She is now married to someone else, andmother of a houseful of boys. I don't know what happened to the cardigan.

Looking at this picture, and at the notes I made while knitting the cardigan, I am filled with a sense of despair -- I can't possibly do it again. That's the real nub of old age.

My new WIP

Blogger and I seem to have parted company on the issue of getting pictures into Blog entries -- I'll keep this short in case either the picture (as yesterday) or the text (as this morning) disappears when I try to post.

I cast on for a Fair Isle cardigan last night. Shape-wise, it will be based on our younger daughter's wedding sweater. For more on the general subject of wedding sweaters, see my website,

What I should have been doing last night was sewing buttons onto the Baby Surprise. I bought them, anyway.

I'll post a picture of Helen's wedding sweater separately. It seems to be all I can do at the moment. I'm pretty sure I haven't changed my technique (=squirt a picture up, using Hello; go to Blogger and edit it, by adding text) so I think Blogger must have moved the goalposts.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Here it is! Posted by Hello

Theo's Koigu Sweater

But first -- I finished the Baby Surprise last night (except for buttons). That's a big 'except' since I hate attaching buttons, so I won't allow myself a final proud photograph until they're in place. But i can say now that the attached i-cord looks terrific, and I remain grateful to the two Blog-readers who suggested it.

Theo's Koigu sweater Posted by Hello

Something has gone wrong. The technique I've been using to upload pics has failed me this morning.

This is the sweater I finished last week in Kirkmichael and blocked yesterday for my nephew Theo. I've been knitting it since last November.

The photograph is not very forthcoming about style details. The design is very loosely based on No 32 in VK Fall 2002, but the shaping is all Elizabeth Zimmermann's "percentage system". Woolgathering No. 69, where her daughter Meg discusses and refines the idea, was constantly to hand.

The VK sweater is done in 10-row stripes of various Koigu shades. I did that. The VK pattern has horizontal welts at waist and wrist. I started out with that -- started with a sleeve -- and soon decided that this wouldn't do for a young man at all, because the welts didn't pull in, and would therefore drag in the soup. So I started again with plain-vanilla ribbing, but I liked the welts, so I decided to put them at the top of the sleeves, just before everything was joined together, and at the corresponding place on the body.

But as I was finishing the second sleeve, I decided that I hadn't made the first one long enough, so I added a couple of inches more -- thereby pushing the welts down. The sensible thing (I realised yesterday) would have been to omit them on the body, but I put them in, and they come rather oddly more or less at navel-height. Just as well that you can't see them.

For the top, I went for EZ's "hybrid" sweater with a shirt yoke. The photograph above is from the back, and you can perhaps just see that feature. I like it.

Pictures of Theo, and of other people from time to time mentioned here, are on my website, Maybe one day I'll have a picture of Theo IN the sweater. He's working for Senator Kerry, a member of the team who go to venues of political meetings in advance and get everything set up. Theo's particular job is keeping the press happy. So he's pretty busy right now.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Country Knitting

TWO people have written to suggest that the Baby Surprise (previous post) be edged with attached i-cord. I am astonished and humbled to learn that as many as two people read this Blog, let alone that they should suggest so excellent a solution. When we got back to Edinburgh last night, I ripped out my silly picot castoff and started attaching i-cord. It looks good. I'm more than half-way around, and will soon report further.

Burnside, Kirkmichael, Perthshire Posted by Hello
This is where we've been. It is not quite as idyllic as it looks, due to cold, damp, and the hard work necessary to maintain it, but we love it and go there as often as we can. I knit a lot there, especially in the dark, cold months on which we are now embarking.

While we were there last week, I finished the Koigu sweater I have been knitting for my nephew Theo. Finished the knitting, and finished the finishing. I was afraid it was too small -- Theo was here for our local Highland Games at the end of August, and tried the sweater on, not-quite-finished, stitches popping in all directions. It was skimpy, both length-wise and width-wise. He gallantly said he thought he had put on weight since Games Weekend, '03, when we made our initial measurements and calculations.

The idea is that as many people as possible should wear something I knit, to my funeral. I was afraid, yesterday and the day before, that this sweater wouldn't quite do. I wanted something that Theo could fling on comfortably, not just on the day of the funeral, sucking in his stomach and tugging at it from time to time. Goodness, would I have to knit Theo something else, at the risk of having to postpone the funeral?

But when I blocked it this morning, I found I could add inches in all directions -- rather alarmingly, if that had not been what was wanted. I'm happy with the result, size-wise, and will produce a picture and pattern notes soon, I hope.