Thursday, June 16, 2005


Jen -- wonderful to hear from you. Please email me directly, so that I can reply. I need an "Email Me" button on this Blog.

That's Rachel's Koigu sweater above, my country knitting, with the start of the first sleeve. When I finally finish, I'll post the pattern on my website. The toddler version is already there --- I printed it out and am using it to design Rachel's version, changing the numbers as I go. The next project here is going to be another toddler-sized one, for Thomas-the-Younger's first birthday in November. I have found some improvements I want to make in the smaller version of the pattern -- it's not wrong, but there are bits which could be more clearly expressed.


I'll try to stick to that spelling, the one Starmore uses in the pattern I'm knitting. I pressed ahead grimly last night, for fear I would come to hate the project so that it would stay unfinished. I've got to have something to enter at the Games.

Panela's question a couple of days ago, set me wondering. Why is a tam or tammy so called? The Oxford Dictionary says -- as I had always believed -- that it is named after Tam o'Shanter, the eponymous hero of Burns' poem. So I guess my job for today is to read the poem, to see whether there is any reference to Tam's headgear.

The classic work on the subject is Mary Rowe's book "Knitted Tams". It's a good, comprehensive work, although perhaps a bit thin, since there isn't really a book's worth of things to say about tams. The shape is more or less that of old Scottish bonnets -- as in "...follow the bonnets of Bonny Dundee", a stirring song. Rowe says that Fair Isle tams came in in the 1930's, which would seem likely.

The fun of them lies in those crown decreases (which I haven't reached on mine) when the pattern behaves like a kaleidoscope.

Princess Shawl

To say that I am "inching" forward with the edging of the Princess, would be to give a far more sprightly impression of my progress than I deserve. Moving forward, however, I am. Sharon says on the Heirloom Knitting mailing list that she now has a gossamer wool yarn, finer than the finer-than-cobweb merino which she sells and which I'm using (and which is too big for the pattern, if you remember).

She sent me a skein of something with my order, to try swatching -- that is presumably the new yarn. Also, the very morning last week when we left for the country, the cotton yarn which she herself used for the prototype shawl arrived in the mail. I haven't yet tried either. I continue to like the look of what I'm knitting with the heavier yarn -- ha! heavier! And the fact that, if I persevere, I will have to reduce the pattern, gives me some hope of finishing in my lifetime.

Some designers farm out their designs for others to knit up. Sharon is surely the only woman in the kingdom who could have knit the prototype -- let alone design it.



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