Saturday, March 04, 2006

Still no Malibrigio, and no reply to Thursday’s email. I’m sure I’ll get it in the end, but I am faintly cross, and much frustrated, at the delay.


There was a picture in Thursday’s Waffy captioned, “President Bush greets Afghans in the streets of Kabul yesterday…”

This is the man who refused to make the traditional progress in a horse-drawn vehicle down the Mall to Buckingham Palace, during his state visit to Britain. Even when they offered him a bullet-proof landau. He had his own very bullet-proof car flown in, and came sidling round the corner and into the Palace forecourt in it.

So the picture in Thursday’s Waffy was not what it seemed. You can bet the store. Or the farm.

Non-politics but still non-knit

All day Wednesday, when we decided not to go to Strathardle, and Thursday, when we actually didn’t go, I felt we had been wimpish and feeble. Yesterday this happened, and I was glad we were here and not there.


Discussion has been raging in the circles in which I move [The Curmudgeon and The Princess Diaries, to be specific] about whether it is necessary in fine lace knitting to pair decreases (k2tog & SSK), or can you just do k2tog every time? I was surprised as many were when Sharon’s great book “Heirloom Knitting” was published and she said that it didn’t matter, with fine Shetland yarns.

I notice that in the instructions for the Princess Shawl, she implies that it does matter, and gives the instructions the traditional way. But she knit the prototype Princess in cotton. That may make a difference.

I’m pairing them, from force of habit.

The Princess and Elephants

I’m no forrad’er. MamaLu, thank you for yesterday’s links. I’d show a copy of this little sweetie:, if I weren’t afraid of violating a copyright. I had found him myself the day before. He’d make a lovely Fair Isle elephant.

The only instructions for filet lace I can find on my shelves is a brief chapter I don’t entirely understand in “Mary Thomas’s Book of Knitting Patterns”. She says that every block in a filet lace pattern must be made of three stitches and four rows. So that little elephant becomes 56 rows high – and remember, we also need some spacer rows, and 14 for “2006”, and two for a frame. The elephant also, on Mary Thomas’s reckoning, becomes wider than “2006”. This is absurd.

I spent some time trying to simplify the pattern – no tail, feet together, trunk straight down – to see if I could get a recognisably elephant-looking block shape which could float in mesh for fewer than 56 rows. I didn’t like what I produced. Although it might be a path I should continue to pursue.

There’s a cute little Hobbyhorse on page 179 of Barbara Walker’s “Charted Knitting Designs” (her Third Treasury). It works the other way around – the figure is in mesh, on a solid background. Maybe, with ingenuity, it could be converted into an elephant. But it, too, is 56 rows high.

When Margaret Stove was here six years ago, I told her I was going to knit the Calcutta Cup into Kirsty’s Christening shawl, as a way of ensuring that I did it. She is a native New Zealander – probably the world’s greatest rugby-playing nation – and was, I think, mildly amused at my excitement over a minor regional trophy. She suggested knitting it on super-fine needles and then grafting the result into the larger-gauge shawl, like a petit point passage in gros point embroidery. I could explore that idea, but since this thing is going to take more than the rest of my life as it is, I don’t think I will.

I still incline towards going ahead with the Cup. I am knitting this thing to please myself, after all, and for the greater glory of God. Assuming always that I finish it, by the time anyone gets married, the chances are high that the wedding won’t be of an appropriate formality; or the shawl will have been lost, or eaten by moths, or simply forgotton.

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