Saturday, December 04, 2004


You don't really need another picture of last night's 2-3" addition to Mungo's second sleeve. I was going to write about a pattern for a vertically-striped scarf, but last night I got one of those Anonymous comment messages which I can't reply to, from Brigid, who said, "As for your own sweater: what a nice choice to make - between cashmere or Koigu!" She's so right!

But I thought back to the winter of 1957-58 when I was not long married and expecting our first child. No such choices then! I knit her a Shetland shawl, designed by Mrs A. Hunter of Unst, and it took 8 balls of Paton's Beehive 2-ply, Patonised. I couldn't afford such an outlay all at once, so I bought them one at a time, as required.

The pattern was a Paton's leaflet. By my current advanced standards, it was fairly routine. It required one to knit six pieces: the four trapezoids, the center square, and finally the edging, and sew them all together. It's hard to believe, even in those days before circular needles were common, that that's the way it was done on Unst.

The call came before I had quite finished. I knit the last couple of scallops of the edging on my hospital bed, and a dear friend sewed the whole damn thing together so that I could carry the baby home in it. That's friendship! All four of our children were carried in it to be baptised, and our eldest grandchild likewise, and after that I gave it to the daughter it was knit for and she thinks she's got it somewhere but can't quite lay her hands on it.

The pattern is mentioned in the bibliography of Hazel Carter's self-published "Shetland Lace Knitting from Charts". Although I have kept most of the patterns I have knit in lo! these many years, and a great many others I haven't knit, that one got away. I sought it high and low, turning over piles of patterns in charity shops. Then, three years ago, at the great annual Christian Aid Book Sale here in Edinburgh, I found it! in a pile of miscellaneous knitting patterns. I thrust a pound into the woman's astonished hand -- don't laugh! that's nearly $2.00 -- and took the pattern, leaving her with the rest of the pile. And I'm very glad to have it.

We're off to Kirkmichael today. When we get back on Tuesday or Wednesday, I will reveal how I got on with the ribwarmer, and expound my vertically-striped scarf idea. By the time all that is done, Mungo's sleeves may even be attached to the body.

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