Friday, June 30, 2006

The beginnings (or the middle, depending on how you look at it) of the Paisley Long Shawl Posted by Picasa
Rachel Miles of Beijing, in her Harmony jacket, two or three years ago, can't remember which. Posted by Picasa
We are going to Strathardle today. (One of the local Big Houses is on the market – an ad in yesterday’s Scotsman says that we are “one of the prettiest glens in Perthshire”.) Blogging should resume on Thursday.

Don’t miss Franklin's latest, in which he anticipates Ted's visit. It is disconcerting to find two of one’s heroes in unexpected conjunction like this, as if Mr Darcy should take tea with Alan Breck.


I failed to get VKB No. 6. It was real eBay stuff. With just over a minute to go, the bid was something like £6.58. I put in my rugby-score meant-to-be-nuclear £31.91, and that took us up all the way to £9.51, with me as top bidder, for a whole heady 30 seconds and more. But with 22 seconds to go, the picture changed. Two more bidders came in; it sold for £37.66 while I was still fumbling with the keyboard.

I went (in person) to a local auction house on Wednesday, and failed to get a picture that used to hang at Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott’s house in the Borders. So it’s been a good week for saving money.


Here’s the current state of the Paisley Long Shawl. (Esther – comment yesterday – you’re an enabler!) I’m supposed to do six repeats of the centre pattern before switching to something fancier as I near the end. I’m engaged at the moment with the third repeat. I suspect, having got this far, I’ll go ahead and finish the first half of the thing.

MamaLu, I’m sure you’re right, that the crochet-hook cast-on is the way to go, for provisional starts. I learned it when I was knitting Candace Strick's Harmony Jacket. It doesn’t seem to be on offer any more, so I include a picture of granddaughter Rachel wearing it. It, too, was a Games Entry, “child’s cardigan”, and was unplaced.

My first attempt at a provisional cast-on was the classic crochet chain from which you pick up stitches. It was an utter and miserable failure, involving hours of laborious unpicking. I’d still like to learn that one, but I know I need to be taught in person, by an expert.

Candace’ patterns are good on the careful teaching of useful techniques. Harmony involved a nice picot edging, as well.


I’m afraid that VKB is now gone. Thank you, all, for being interested.

Tamar, I am one of the prime movers of the search for the source of “Kitchener stitch”. One of the curious things about the phrase is that it doesn’t appear in British writing (until, perhaps, very recently). EZ, herself of course British, was intrigued when she met it. Somebody wrote to her saying that Kitchener had submitted a sock pattern to a Red Cross leaflet in which the technique was employed.

This is plausible. He was in charge of clothing the British Expeditionary Force. (EZ, alas, didn’t pursue the matter. What leaflet? Where is it to be seen?) A further theory is that the leaflet emerged somehow – perhaps in Canada? – when patriotic knitting started up again in WWII, and the phrase took off from there.

I once wrote to the present Lord Kitchener. He replied politely a year later: he had never heard the phrase.

Lots more to say…

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The shrug, drying on the dining-room floor. And the tips of my shoes.  Posted by Picasa
Nobody seems to want a tatty copy of VKB No. 39. Think again. You don’t have to pay for it. You don’t have to love it. You just have to be mildly interested. I have this morning acquired a new email address, invited by my grandson Alistair in Beijing. I am now miles dot jean at googlemail dot com. You could write to me there. (I remain jean at milesandmiles dot demon dot co dot uk, as well.)

I’ve finished the shrug. Here (or, rather, there) it is. I’m reasonably pleased with it.

And then what did I do? I am embarrassed to say. I was meant to pick up the Princess. But it was Tuesday, I was tired from our Monday expedition to Glasgow, the Princess will need a wee bit of figuring-out, Wimbledon is on – I cast on the Paisley Long Shawl I recently bought from Fiddlesticks. It’s terribly easy, ideal for Wimbledon knitting. And I’m getting on swimmingly.

It’s one of those you start in the middle with a provisional cast-on, and eventually pick up the stitches and knit the second half in the opposite direction. I am a coward when it comes to provisional cast-ons, and have used the machine-knitter’s expedient of knitting a few rows in a waste yarn. Not elegant, but it gets the job done.

Now that I’m doing it, I might as well go on until I get to a good stopping place (and Wimbledon is over). Buying yarn by mail order involves an element of risk (except for Koigu), but I’ve hit the jackpot this time. The shade is called “mahogany”; it’s a dark, dark plum. The JaggerSpun Zephyr wool-silk is delicious to knit with.

The border is knit in with the main part, saving a lot of trouble. It’s got rows of faggoting. I adore faggoting, perhaps beyond any other knitterly effect. (Contrariwise, I hate bobbles.)

AND the new Knitter’s turned up this week; not bad at all, as I had already learned from Mary Morrison. AND VKB No. 6 comes up on eBay this evening. There has been some bidding on it. I am hopeful but not utterly confident. It all adds up to an eventful knitting week.

Thanks for yesterday’s comments. I am inclined to agree with Vivienne that people actually were somewhat differently shaped, back then. The childrens’ patterns in that wartime book ask for a 22” chest, which I remember as indeed a good omnium-gatherum size for children. I did a day course with a distinguished childrens’ designer at Stitches East once. All I can remember – not even her name – is her remark that children don’t expand much, they just get longer.

Helen’s suggestion is an interesting one, that the patterns were offered in one size because we were meant to be able to adapt, but there’s no hint of it in the text.

As for those waists, I’m pretty sure they were rarely achieved without girdles. Not the least significant part of the revolution that brought us Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton, was the reversion to natural underwear. These days you really have to be pencil-slim, and you have to do it all by yourself – it’s perhaps a comfort to infer from your remark, Vivienne, that you are allowed a bit of latitude at the waist in compensation.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The editor's opening remarks Posted by Picasa
"Striped-sleeve blouse" The one below is an "indispensable two-piece" Posted by Picasa
Blogger remains obstinate about illustration. They never answered my email on the subject, either. Posted by Picasa
VKB No. 23, from 1943, turned up yesterday. The seller had said that she’d send it second class, and so she did, but the postman took pity on me. It’s in great condition except for the missing cover.

As you’d expect, there’s nothing about danger or discomfort or supporting the war effort. Vogue’s job is to send us out looking smart.

I’ve snagged the pictures from eBay – I’m certainly not going to flatten my precious copy in a scanner. The sizes range from a bust size of 34” all the way to 36”. Take it or leave it. They did that in the 30’s, too.

The format, layout, typeface is precisely as it was throughout the 50’s, although the page size and print size are smaller. The photographs are unattributed. They’re good. The style in the late ‘30’s was radically different.

The war is there, of course, on every page. The yarn ads almost all hint at difficulty: “Briggs W.B. Wools may be a little difficult to obtain at present…” “You can still buy your best beloved wool for every Ladyship shop receives its ration regularly…” “The better woolshops still have a few lovely colours to show you…[Sandison of Edinburgh]” “The maximum quantity permitted is being distributed to the shops with the most scrupulous fairness…[Lee’s Wool]”

The only specifically bellicose ad is for Eno’s Fruit Salt. (What does that do? “Keep you regular,” I suspect.) “Health is a national duty” it proclaims, over the picture of a radiant air-raid warden.

But my favourite ad is for Weetabix. A drawing of a sturdy three-year-old. “Weetabix, with milk, for breakfast! At other times of the day his Mother serves it in many other delicious ways, knowing well that Weetabix provides all the food-goodness that children need for healthy growth. Whether you can get Weetabix depends on where you live for all cereals are now ‘zoned.’ If you live in a Weetabix area, you are doubly fortunate! Weetabix is the best value for points…”

Vogue’s own text enjoins frugality, and includes instructions for unravelling and re-knitting old jumpers. “Buy new wool if you must, but only if you must.” A pattern for a two-piece set of underwear is included (bust 34”, hips 37”). “Make these to wear throughout the winter.”

The editor’s note at the beginning is really rather good. The picture is of a Victorian night-cap, unattributed. That knitter, it says, “…had no exciting boucles or gay novelty wools to help her fingers….For contrast and texture she depended upon her skill. Her work was and is exquisite.

“We modern knitters have been spoiled. But now the novelty wools and yarns which made it easy to seem skilful have gone for the duration. We are on our own again…”


In the course of all my eBay-ery lately, I have bought myself a fresh copy of VKB No. 39, Autumn 1951. Does anybody want the extremely tatty one which has been replaced? jean at milesandmiles dot demon dot co dot uk.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

This is the one I wasn't allowed to post, below. Ketki, Alexander, my sister behind, various other people. Posted by Picasa
I got the wartime VKB for £3.53 – no strategy required, although I was sitting there in a sweat, refreshing the screen every eight seconds. The underbidders, judging from their previous purchases, were happy pickers-up of unconsidered trifles with no appetite at all for nuclear confrontation, and there was, thank goodness, no loony except me lurking in the wings.

I’ll tell you all about it when I’ve got it in my hands.

We had a good day in Glasgow, and a delicious lunch in an unpretentious place on Renfield Street called “Charcoals”. We hadn’t seen Ketki’s parents for years. They seem well, and we all agreed on the excellence of our common grandsons.

But we’re very tired.

I discovered that the current travel socks are further on than I remembered – that doesn’t happen very often. With yesterday’s train-knitting added in, I have all but finished the first one. I’ll post a picture soon. I’m going to try my new-style purling for the ribbing of the second. I doubt if the difference, if perceptible at all, will be obtrusive to a gentleman sock-wearer.

But for today, here are pictures from Rachel’s husband Ed’s fiftieth birthday party, in London last Sunday. My sister is wearing her new shawl, although her 70th birthday for which it was intended, isn’t until December. I want to try out these pictures because they are low in pixels, and it has been suggested that it is a high pixel-count which Blogger holds against me. Being the mother-in-law of a man of 50, for some reason, isn’t nearly as scary as being the mother of a woman of 48.

Well! look at that. On the left, my sister with (I think, probably) Rachel. And on the right, nothing.

We decided for various reasons – including the visit of the old friends who were here last week, which had been planned since before Christmas – not to go to the party, but to hit London early in June instead.

I’m casting off the shrug, and should have a picture of it being blocked, by Thursday.


Carol, thank you for the interesting etymology. I wish you were here so that we could explore the question of whether the Yiddish and Hebrew “ch” sounds anything like the Scottish one, as in “loch”, etc.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Kerry, how very kind of you (comment under the shrug, yesterday). I’ve got VKB 32 – it's Spring, 1948, I think. You say it mentions coupons -- I don’t know how long clothes rationing went on. Food rationing – meat -- finally ended in 1954. By then it was effectively rationed by price, anyway. I want to find out more about clothes coupons: it shouldn’t be difficult.

Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten were married in November, 1947. Lots of old ladies sent the Princess their clothes coupons for her trousseau, so rationing obviously still prevailed then.

Have a great time in the US, Kerry. I’ve lost your email address, what with getting a nice new computer and getting broadband to run on it. I’m jean at milesandmiles dot demon dot co dot uk these days.

More eBay

The bidding ends this morning on VKB 23, from 1943.

By then the Battle of Britain had been won, and the Battle of El Alamein – the one Churchill famously called, “the end of the beginning”. The Americans were in the war. Invasion was no longer feared with every full moon. Everybody must have known, if they’d ever doubted it, that all would be well in the end. Even Herr Schikelgruber must have known that (in reverse), at least during his three-a.m. moments. He wasn’t stupid, whatever his other faults.

But that didn’t mean that one’s own husband, or son, or brother, or house was going to make it through. One was still cold, and hungry, and ill-clothed, and, if of a nervous disposition, scared of the bangs. What did VK have to say to knitters in 1943? I think I know, but I’ll be very interested to see it in print. If I win the bidding.

I gave the matter some thought during Mass yesterday. (I have recommended religious observance before, for the opportunity it affords for reflection.) I want to enter a bid with significant digits.

I decided to go for the score by which Scotland defeated England and won the Calcutta Cup in 2000. The score by itself might suffice – with a decimal point in the obvious place, I hasten to add. But it wouldn't be a nuclear bid, not even a killer one for such a plum. So I will reverse the digits.

More on the subject tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I knit on, on the shrug border. Wrapping the purl stitches the “wrong” way is making a neat job of it, just as G-R promises, even though the yarn continues to twist. Jean-in-Cornwall, I’m doing exactly as you suggest: putting a rubber band around the ball every so often, and holding it up so that it can twirl wildly around for a while.

We are going to Glasgow today to have lunch with Ketki’s parents, who are in GB on a visit from NY. Ketki will be talking to the Glasgow branch of her bank the while. Indian languages have words to express the relationship of the parents of people who are married to each other. It’s very clumsy, in English.

Fortunately we don't have to leave until after the bidding finishes for VKB No. 23.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Here's the shrug, as referred to below. Blogger still won't let me post pictures. Posted by Picasa
Sheila and Kate, you perhaps shouldn’t encourage me to go on boring the readership on the subject of eBay like this. Kate, take heart: not much courage is needed. (And, hey! I like your website, and sympathise with that upside-down sleeve.) I am really dazzled by the cleverness and simplicity of eBay software. Somebody has done some serious thinking.

I started a little spreadsheet yesterday, listing dates, sellers, bidders and prices of the VKB’s I’ve been involved it. Perhaps I ought to add the progress of a couple of the ones I’ve already got, just for comparison. There’s no pattern discernable yet – different sellers, different bidders. I seem to be the only one specifically stalking VKB’s through the corridors of cyberspace.

I’ve heard from the seller of my latest acquisition – she says she’s posted it already, which should mean that the doorbell will ring for my signature just as the wartime no. 23 enters its final four minutes tomorrow morning. It closes at 9:57:48 (how do they arrive at the times?) and the post is never early here.

But the big news is that No. 6 has come up. Number Six. The seller says it’s from 1935, which is what I would calculate. Maybe she’s calculating too, or maybe it’s dated. I hope we shall see.

And all this must have been going on for years, while I was too grand or too scared-y to explore eBay, or maybe it just hadn’t occurred to me that anyone would be selling VKB’s.

The shrug

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

I’m perhaps slightly more than half-way through the final ribbing, and have figured out, origami-fashion, how to arrange it for photography. You can also see the way the yarn twists. I am now using Gibson-Robert’s combined method, but it’s still twisting. I do the knit stitches as usual, but throw the yarn around the needle in the “wrong” direction for the purl stitches. The result is a stitch whose leading leg is at the back, so on the following round the needle must be inserted that way, in order not to twist the stitch. The whole thing is surprisingly easy to master, even for an old dog like me. The alternation is meant to twist and untwist the yarn.

When I first started to knit, many many years ago in New Jersey, I consistently did something wrong, and I often wonder what exactly it was. Perhaps I was wrapping the yarn the “wrong” way in the purl rows, but knitting the stitch from the front on the knit rows. That would explain a distinct memory that purl rows were easier to do.

I was alone in New Jersey, on that and many other matters. But in Glasgow, when I took up knitting again, there were lots of knitters about. One of them may have corrected the fault – or it may have corrected itself.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Another personal best for weight, another VKB secured on eBay. A happy morning. I’ve been learning some interesting things about “combined knitting”, too, from the article by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts in the Fall, 2000 IK. Thanks again, Esther.

The VKB is No. 40; a hasty calculation suggests Spring ’52. I’ll tell you more when it turns up. There was only one bidder against me, who didn’t appear until the last minute. An hour before closing, the bid was to me at 99p. She bid several times in the last hour, and although it looked as if my previous “killer” bid would hold, as it did, I put in a little bit more in the last minute, just to be sure I could do it, and could trust eBay not to use it if not necessary. Success on both counts.

I paid £11, not cheap, but a fair price, I think.

Meanwhile, someone has put in an initial bid for the wartime one, no. 23. I had a look at the villain’s eBay history. It’s fascinating. He/she (the codename is maxxev) deals on eBay a great deal, both buying and selling. The range of items bought gives new meaning to the word “eclectic” –four glass-panelled interior doors; a salt and pepper shaker; a television aerial; and I could go on. There are a couple of old, woman-y (as distinct from “old-woman-y”) journalistic items in the list, bought cheap – nothing I saw suggested a willingness to go thermonuclear for VKB no. 23.

Watch this space.

Meanwhile, combined knitting.

The essence of it is that, if stitches are formed in the way which is normal to most of us, the yarn has to travel further to make a purl stitch. Try it and see – it’s true. That’s what is meant to explain the additional looseness when one knits back and forth, although I’m not sure it tells the whole story, in the case of Ketki’s gansey. The intricate pattern (“Mrs Laidlaw’s”, from Gladys Thompson’s book) must be close to half purl stitches already, so switching from round-and-round to back-and-forth shouldn’t change the proportion greatly. But we know from the swatch that back-and-forth will be looser. I think I’ll just go down a needle size.

But G-R also says that combined knitting – in which you form a purl stitch by wrapping the yarn around the needle clockwise instead of counterclockwise – also helps with the problem of twist, which I’m suffering in a big way with Debbie Bliss’ Pure Silk and the shrug. I can’t see, looking at the yarn, whether it has a clockwise or a counter-clockwise twist. Should I complain to my cataract surgeon? I’m not very sure which way the hands of a clock go, anyway.

But there’s no doubt that the silk yarn twists back on itself and gets tangled up, so last night I started doing the ribbing as she recommends, counterclockwise for knit stitches (in my case meaning, “the usual way”) and clockwise for the purls (“the other way”). I think it’s helping, too.

I didn’t get much knitting done, but it’s coming on well.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Rachel's 48th Birthday

If ever a day is The First Day of the Rest of One’s Life, it’s the day one’s first child is born. We have reached the rather alarming, and little-documented, stage of life where one’s children’s birthdays sound even more alarming than one’s own. Forty-eight? I am the mother of a woman of forty-eight?

She was born quite early in the morning, in Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow all those years ago. I was delivered back to the ward in good time for breakfast – a big bowl of sugarless porridge – and the newspapers. I bought a copy of the Express (which I still have) and looked up the horoscope for my new little baby. What it said was fully worthy of the Delphic Oracle: “not a day you will remember”.


I have picked up all the stitches for the edging of the shrug, and am knitting away. I tried to arrange it for photography last night, and got into a panic because I couldn’t find the fronts. The whole thing is sort of a tube with sleeves, and for a while I really thought I had somehow or other fused the fronts together. (I’m not strong on 3-d geometry, as I said just the other day.)

But I have carefully retraced my steps in my head, and I can’t see what could be wrong. I started picking up stitches at the lower right front, went up the front, across the back neck, down the left front, and finally across the back. Unless I’ve actually twisted it into a Moebius shrug, everything must be OK. Right? We’ll soon see.

A tube with sleeves is precisely what a shrug is, anyway.


Thanks for your note, Angel. I’ve never heard of Alan Dart patterns, but the principle is clearly exactly the same as for me and my VKB’s. I used to think sadly about how many VKB’s must have been tossed on how many skips, as households were cleared after the deaths of knitters. eBay will have changed all that. Heirs, and those ghoulish dealers who advertise “Houses Cleared”, must all now have an eBay pile – and VKB’s and Alan Dart patterns and other ephemera which will mean a lot to someone or other, now get saved.

The auction for No. 40 finishes this evening. I left my “killer bid” earlier in the week – it’s plenty for a 1950’s VKB by any rational standard. But I may bid another £1.39 in the final seconds, just to hone my sniping skills for the Big One on Monday, when the coverless wartime No. 23 comes up. There’s no bid for No. 40 yet except mine, and no bid at all for 23.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Posted by Picasa

Where to begin?

Start with the worst. The gansey book arrived yesterday. It’s more a pamphlet than a book – 32 pages long. There’s nothing seriously wrong with it, but it doesn’t turn out to contain anything that I needed to know, and most of the pictures aren’t clear enough to convey much information. Reproducing old photographs of dark-coloured sweaters with fine knit-and-purl detail, is not easy.

The “worst” is that it cost NINETEEN POUNDS. Not second-hand as a bibliographical knitting rarity. Not at the end of a crazy bidding session on eBay. Nineteen pounds, new. Caveat emptor, is what I say -- “32 pages” must have been mentioned somewhere in the description, and I didn’t spot it. It was published in 1983 and no wonder it didn’t sell. It would be seriously expensive at half the price.

So, not recommended.

(I have tried a new approach, for illustration, this morning -- posting the picture with "Hello" first, then adding text.)


I did the second cuff to match the first, and am now picking up stitches around the body. I’m sure I can do it all at once, in a circle. Unlike the sleeve ends, the problem now is that there is too much shrug, so to speak, for the number of stitches I am allowed to pick up. This time, I am doing it carefully, ripping out when necessary, acquiring exactly the specified number. The whole thing at the moment looks floppy and out-of-control. A trim ribbed edging may be the making of it.

There is an interesting article about silk in the Knitty archives. It is remarkable that anyone ever figured out that a thread could be spun from those unprepossessing cocoons.


Thank you for all the help and advice. My essential difficulty is that this involves a whole new mind-set, compared to bidding (either in person or by proxy) at the local auction house – giving away one’s maximum at the start, and trusting eBay not to bid that high if it turns out not to be necessary.

I’ve heard of, Yvonne – the people who do split-second last-minute bidding on one’s behalf. Why not? I’ll have a look, anyway.

The state of play at the moment is:
1) VKB no. 40, which I don’t have, is coming up tomorrow evening at about 10. There’s no bid yet except my “killer” one – to be distinguished from “nuclear”. It’s not as early an issue, and therefore not as choice, as the one that got away from me for that absurd price early in the week. Maybe I can just sit back and let the killer bid do its work.

2) VKB no. 39, which I do have, is coming up on Sunday evening. It looks like a good copy, with cover, whereas mine is particularly tatty, no cover, pages loose. I’ve put in a non-killer bid – again, there is no other bid yet, but if someone else wants it, they’re welcome. Bidding up on that one would be collector-ism at its worst.

3) The war-time one, no 23, ends at 10 am on Monday. I haven’t bid. I really want it. I’ll have to give some serious thought as to what a nuclear bid would be. Anyone who can afford nineteen pounds for “They Lived by the Sea” ought to be able to go pretty high. Esnipe would reduce the nervous stress.


Thank you, Esther. I’ve got the Fall 2000 IK, and will look up Gibson-Roberts on combined knitting. I had already thought of going down a needle size for the back-and-forth bits: rather, a commenter had already suggested it. The purl rows must be where the looseness dwells, so it makes good sense, Janet and Yvonne, to drop a size on the purl rows only.

Fortunately, we have a rare (for us) social event in a neighbouring glen on July 1st, so we’ll have to go back north next week and my vegetables will get weeded. Things get busy here this time of year, even for us, and if it were not for that date, we might be tempted to linger on.

Old friends from Birmingham are coming today, staying two nights. I have spent the last two afternoons purging the spare room and near-by lavatory. They’re looking much brighter. I’ll go for Jamie Oliver’s “Tender and Crisp Chicken Legs with Sweet Tomatoes”, from “Jamie’s Dinners”. Very easy, very tasty, all in one pot.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

After yesterday’s little flurry of excitement, all has returned to gloom without (weather-wise) and nothing-very-newsworthy, within.

Alexander read yesterday’s entry, and has given me a brief tutorial in the art of bidding on eBay. He agrees with my friend Helen that last-minute “sniping” is a valuable technique. I had been so impressed with the way one can lodge a bid and then let the eBay software do the bidding, without betraying one’s maximum to one’s opponents, that I hadn’t really thought it through. I will henceforth try to be shrewd like a fox, although I wonder if my nerves are entirely up to it. Alexander says he often bids in the last 10 seconds.

I finished seaming the shrug and have knit the ribbed cuff on one sleeve. I’m not entirely happy with it. I could comfortably pick up only 64 stitches, not the 78 required; and I was using slightly smaller-gauge dp’s than specified – it still looks big, doesn’t pull in properly. Even with silk, I hope that blocking will work at least modified wonders.

Esther, I got out my copy of “Knitting in the Old Way” after reading your comment yesterday. What a good book it is! I hadn’t looked at it for a long time. I’ve put it in “the box” to go to Strathardle and help with forthcoming decisions on Ketki’s gansey.

But there’s nothing on page 49 about the problem of gauge-shift when one switches from circular knitting to knitting-back-and-forth, after the armpits – although that subject is being discussed at that point in the book. Nor can I find anything at all about the “combined knitting method” you mention. I wonder if you have a later, superior edition. Could you possibly tell us what the “combined knitting method” is? I don’t think a technique is protected by the laws of copyright.


I am getting so fond of the Farmgirl that I have begun to feel faintly surprised that she never gets around to talking about her knitting. I simply must have the Oriental garden tool she describes.

I got this (in its entirety) from James in Beijing yesterday. He is referring to his daughter Rachel (who recently made her First Holy Communion), not his sister. Lorna, at least, will be amused:

"Rachel has been having Rugby lessons with Rory Underwood and Martin Johnson. They're supposed to be famous, but I've never heard of them -- have you? "

I forwarded it to London. Alexander wonders if he’s ever heard of Babe Ruth.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The side and underarm seam for the left side Posted by Picasa
The shrug, partly seamed and looking rather wide. Posted by Picasa
I’m fairly bursting with knitterly news this morning –

a) I failed to get that VKB on eBay. The final price was extraordinary.
b) I finished knitting the three pieces of the shrug, and am now seaming it; everybody’s favourite chore.
c) The KTBH group pointed me to a book about ganseys which I’ve never heard of, “They Lived by the Sea”. I’ve ordered it.
d) A wartime VKB is listed on eBay. It’s missing its cover (like many of mine) and the seller doesn’t know the precise date (namely, autumn, 1943) and just says “1940’s” – so maybe I’ve got a chance, this time.

VKB's on eBay

a) This time yesterday the highest bid was mine, £1.99, and I was feeling sorry for the seller. (This is the spring, ’46 VKB we’re talking about.) But when I got back with the car after its MOT test yesterday afternoon, I found that someone had sat down and bid right up to, and beyond, my “killer” bid. So I outbid her.

Then, over the next couple of hours, I thought hard about it, and went back – although I was still the high bidder – and put in a nuclear bid.

I wasn’t there at the end (thank goodness), but when I sat down half an hour later, I found that a third bidder had come in in the last five minutes, and out-nuke’d me. It went to her for £26.15. My bid was £25.10. That’s totally ridiculous. That’s about twice what a dealer could ask for it, judging from Abebook prices, and therefore at least three times what a dealer would pay. And my own behaviour was fully as ridiculous as that of the happy purchaser, no doubt about that. I had a look at some of her other recent acquisitions: mostly very cheap; a lot of vintage crochet patterns. This seems to be her first venture into either VKB-buying or the Big Spender league, and I hope it will be her last.

The shrug

b) The shrug pattern seems to want me to knit the ribbing flat and seam it, but I don’t see the point of that. I’ll start with the cuffs on dp’s. I think the main part can be done in the round. I’m not very good on 3-d geometry, however, so I approach the experience with caution. The pattern says to put some ribbing on the bottom of the back, then do the side seams, then do the rest of the body ribbing back and forth on a circular needle. Suck it and see.

I’m struggling with mattress stitch, and am fairly pleased with my first underarm seam. You can’t really see it. I’m sure the judges will zero in on seams.


The KTBH writer, as well as recommending the book mentioned above, says that Gladys Thompson says that knitters on Guernsey knit ganseys tubularly, and cut the sleeveholes open (just like Fair Isle). This interesting prospect needs full consideration, the next time we are in the country where the Thompson book currently is, and I get back to work on Ketki’s gansey. I’m pretty sure you’re right, Jean-in-E., that gauge will change if I switch to working back and forth.

Monday, June 19, 2006

No movement on those VKB’s. The reserve price for the one that ends today – Spring, ’46, no less – is absurdly low, and I’m the only bidder. Perhaps some knitting fiend is lurking with a last-second bid. It closes during our usual supper-time, if I’ve counted right, so I’ll have to trust my killer bid to do the job.

I didn’t finish that other piece of shrug-front yesterday, but should today.

When I get back to my beloved Princess shawl, blog-entries will be even duller than that. What on earth do I write about, during Princess periods? No more knitting-talk for today, anyhow.

Thomas Lynch: I was delighted to find a fellow fan in the Curmudgeon.

James’ wife Cathy used to go to talks by thriller writers; presumably now that she is a published writer herself, she gives ‘em. I went with her once to one in a tent in Charlotte Square, a book festival which was part of the Edinburgh Festival itself. As we settled into our seats I read the programme for the first time and discovered with a real thrill of horror that Thomas Lynch was not only there, but was giving a talk at that very moment.

I couldn’t leap up and rush out – one doesn’t treat daughters-in-law like that, and anyway I didn’t have a ticket for Lynch. But after the talks there he was in a corner of a tent, rather on his own as I remember. I bought a book I already had and took it to him to sign, babbling about t’riffic fan, didn’t know you were here, went to the wrong talk. I may even have mentioned that I used to live in Detroit.

I don’t remember what he said, if anything, but he signed the book, “Well met in Edinburgh.”

Now, as I may have mentioned before – it’s an important point – ah’m no so green as ah’m cabbage-lookin. He may have signed them all like that. But I prefer to believe that, with only seconds available for reflection, he found the perfect phrase for me.


I got back to work on my husband’s magnum opus and his Palm Pilot yesterday, and discovered to my considerable distress that Documents to Go, the bridge program, seems to have forgotten all the files I had laboriously identified to it. There are further oddities about the files themselves, and only Documents to Go could have been meddling with them. I got the first 50 re-identified, and will soldier on today.

Now I’ve got to go take the car in for its MOT..

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The shrug, with the front pieces lying on top. Posted by Picasa
Charlotte, that sentence yesterday was badly phrased. I am embarrassed. I was surprised, if at all, to discover not just literate writing but the rest of the cluster of star attributes – I might have added, brilliant photography – in a place as remote (from Edinburgh) and (I imagine) relatively under-populated as Missouri, when the rest of the world can’t seem to manage it.

I’m talking about the Farmgirl.

I am a tremendous fan of the poet and essayist Thomas Lynch. If my lot had been cast in Milford, MI, I would probably have spent years thinking I was the only sensitive person in the parish, only to discover too late that he was there all the time: the local undertaker.

Back to Knitting

Another early VKB turned up on eBay yesterday. I will soon have all the post-war ones. Both of the ones I thought I had bought on Abebooks that time recently, however, remain among the absent.

Strictly speaking (if the numbering was continuous throughout) I already have one of the wartime ones – number 15, autumn 1939. You certainly wouldn’t suspect that anything was going on, to look at it. On the other hand, most of the material would have been ready before September 1, and editorial comment is non-existent, anyway.

It would be wonderful to find even one of the real wartime ones, 16 through 27. And it would be nice to have the early ones, too. This is kind of exciting.

When it all ended, in the late 60’s, I wrote to the then editor, Judy Brittain, asking if I could buy any back issues. I had a nice note back, offering photocopies of any particular patterns I wanted. Photocopying was cutting-edge technology in those days, and expensive. I didn’t take her up on it. It wasn’t what I wanted, anyway. Little did I imagine that eBay would one day unlock the attics of the nation.


I’m currently increasing to the full length of the sleeve, for the second front. I may even finish it this evening. Then on to lots of ribbing.

Blogger says that some people are having trouble uploading pictures, others aren’t. When I learned that, I wrote to them; just in order to be counted.


The trouble with dealing with anything at all, is that it can only be done at the cost of neglecting something else. Yesterday I eschewed ironing and hoovering and did some serious catching up with bank statements. I feel the better for it.

A personal best on weight this morning (at least, for the third millennium) – and today, being Sunday, is cider-drinking day!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Little as I approve of the general concept of knitting little bits of things and joining them together, I enjoyed doing the front of that shrug yesterday. It’s finished; I’ll start the other front today. Increasing at different speeds at the two sides turned out to be easy, and all went very briskly because it was so small.

Another flaw turned up – there are two more rows in the back than in the front, before the major cast-on for the sleeve. I think the front is the one that’s right, not that that matters. The galloping horse test is easily met, but I doubt if the judges in the Home Industries Tent will be mounted.


I learned yesterday that Sharon is awaiting delivery of some cashmere-and-silk gossamer yarn – and that she’s busy designing for it. I won’t even say “Oh, dear”. I’m not tempted. I am wedded to my Princess (pure wool gossamer) and I certainly don’t intend to start her again. Just thought I’d mention it.

Blogger’s home page has a rotating menu of blogs, and sometimes I idly click on a few of them. That’s how I met Swapna. I hardly need say that there’s a quantity of drivel in cyberspace which beggers human comprehension. But yesterday I hit a keeper. No knitting: cooking, vegetable gardening, organic farming, literate prose in Missouri (of all places). Everything is much further along for her – but she’s got marauding deer to worry about even in the summer. They wait for the cooler months, on the whole, in Strathardle. You win some, you lose some.


I retrieved my debit card from Waitrose (yesterday’s entry) without colliding with a lawyer. There are lots of them in this part of town.

I got a Summary Warrant in the mail relating to the Council Tax for the house in the country. The tax has been paid; all are agreed on that; the warrant relates to a supplementary £80 which I didn’t think I owed. My inclination however was to pay it to save myself anxiety and distress. However, my husband was having none of that, and after a bit of time on the telephone Perth and Kinross Council actually apologised. I had sent them a direct debit mandate in March which they had never activated. They found it.

The experience has left me feeling low and restless.

No movement on that VKB. The auction closes on Monday, so maybe we’ll see some action over the weekend. There’s another one on which I’ve now left a low bid. I’ve already got it, but this one is in much better condition. I won’t pursue it any higher, though.

Janice, thank you for the tip about irfanview. I’ll follow that up today. I use a photographic freebie which I downloaded from (I think) Kodak, called Ofoto Now. It does well enough, but it doesn’t shrink things.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The back of the shrug, and the beginning of one of the fronts. Posted by Picasa

Bloomsday, 2006


I finished the back of the shrug, as hoped. It didn’t come out quite right – I had only10 stitches for the final cast-off on the second shoulder, instead of the required 13. I didn’t go back.

The essentials are all right – the division into three for right sleeve, neck, left sleeve is correct; there are the same number of rows on each side. I must just have miscounted somewhere while doing the sloping shoulder. I’m trying hard not to worry about it.

I got the first front started. That’s going more smoothly than I had feared, reading the instructions. I am increasing every other row on one side, every eighth row on the other. But the cable is crossed every eighth row, too, and I worked it so that (as soon as I had enough stitches to cross) the crosses correspond with the increases. So far so good.

And I’m optimistic about yarn-quantity-remaining, too. When that ball is finished, maybe today, I’ll have used half of what I have. I need enough at the end for a deep ribbed edging all around. I couldn’t buy an extra skein to-be-on-the-safe-side, this time, because they only had just enough in the shop (for the smallest size, at that).

Princess Shawl

I saw on The Princess Diaries the other day that Ted has reached exactly the point where I am, in his Princess Shawl – for much the same reasons. He wanted to get past the first page of the chart, just as I did. He’s now going off on holiday for a bit, so I suppose I have a faint hope of finishing the shrug and resuming my own Princess before he gets back. Whether or no, he’ll soon streak ahead – he once did ten rows in a weekend. One-a-day is full-steam-ahead for me.


I discovered at some point yesterday afternoon that my debit card was missing. I rang up Waitrose (new to Edinburgh) where I had been the day before. They’ve got it, all right, so that was a relief. I’ll go get it this morning.

I also discovered yesterday that the car tax runs out at the end of the month, so I booked the car in for an MOT and general health check on Monday. All very well – but in the course of doing that, I discovered that the old MOT ran out, for some unimaginable reason, at the end of last month. So presumably on my trip to Waitrose, and to the garage on Monday, and to Strathardle last weekend, I was driving illegally and probably therefore uninsured. Oh dear.


Thank you, commenters, for help and advice. I understand the general concept of downsizing pixel size, although I didn’t know it could be done in Paint. But I wonder if that is the trouble? The pics go up promptly enough when I use “Hello” to post them separately from the prose. Blogger has to be accepting them, that way; although not hosting them, of course. Having pics at all, within Blogger itself, is a relatively new development, and I still think the trouble is there.

But I’ll have a look at Paint, and I will also, since the trouble is continuing this morning, try again later in the day. That’s an interesting idea.


Still no movement on that VKB on eBay.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Games Day Posted by Picasa

No movement on that VKB on eBay – but it doesn’t finish until Monday.

I finished and cast off what will be the top of the right shoulder of the back of the shrug. Tonight, perhaps, the back will be finished entirely. If James and his family are going to be at the Games, the Children’s Sections will be hotly contested, and at least I can present the spectacle of Grandmother, Gracious in Defeat, as an example to the losers. I also hope to enter the “Three Potatoes”, “Six Pea Pods” and “Collection of Four Vegetables” classes, so there will be plenty of scope for displaying graciousness.

I belong to a Yahoo group called Blogger_Users_Support. Mostly it’s way over my head, but yesterday there was a question-and-answer about posting pictures. Let’s see if I’ve learned anything.

No -- that didn't work.

It is my wont to use a picture from last year’s Games as my computer wallpaper. The last few weeks, feeling sad about how nobody was going to be there this year, I have been using a picture of Franklin at Ruskin’s grave, a cool green way to start the day. This morning, feeling cheerful again, I have put up this one, [above, I trust] of Alexander and James with other dear people in the background.

Knitting is represented by Alexander’s ill-fitting sweater, a KF design from a Rowan kit, back in the good old days when Rowan kitted a lot of their designs and then sold the kits off cheap in the January sales. I’ve changed this one by rotating the circular motifs 90 degrees. And by his hose, which were knitted as my Games entry one year. They took a second, I think. James’s hose are store-boughten.


I am obsessive about giving myself credit for each ball and skein and cone of yarn actually used, so I am as surprised as you are, Aarlene, and rather distressed, at how that cone from which I’m knitting Ketki’s gansey, never diminishes.

Esther, thank you for your comments. I had a nice time with Starmore’s “Fisherman’s Sweaters” book when we were in the country at the weekend. There are some seriously good things there. I have never knit a Starmore, I don’t think, although I have a pretty comprehensive collection of her books. I attempted “Stillwater” last year, and failed miserably because it is a Fair Isle pattern with no rhythm to it. The experience has sort of turned me against her, which is unfair.


Our friend George W. Bush turned up in Iraq the other day for a five-hour visit. What a brave man. Cheney and Condi and Rummy knew what was afoot, but nobody told the Iraqi Prime Minister Mr Maliki until GWB was safely in the Green Zone. If Bush trusts him that little, why should we, or anyone?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Potatoes, feeling fine, thanks. Posted by Picasa
Peas, and some spinach, and dreadful creeping buttercup in the path.  Posted by Picasa
The general view. One rhubarb plant has got completely out of hand and will have to be hacked apart; the other two are very poorly. Posted by Picasa
The gansey Posted by Picasa
All’s well.

The potatoes survived their frosting, as Lorna predicted. The courgettes and the runner beans have come up – and pretty well everything else as well. The slugs have had most of the lettuce, but that often happens; I put in more. There’s even a brave little row of carrots – they usually refuse to perform for me. The weather was grand, tee-shirt and sun-hat weather but not sweltering as I gather London has been recently: and a much-needed rain on Sunday night and Monday morning.

No pics -- what on earth is wrong? Other bloggers have pics.

Ted, we’re far enough north that even courgettes don’t produce an embarrassing glut, most years. I expect about 50% germination and this year I got it – there are little plants under each of those eight sawn-off water bottles. That should produce a useful but not excessive crop from early August forward.

But well-er than all of that: James and his family will be at the Games. I had thought there was no hope for them this year, because of the dates of the new school year in Beijing. Helen has decided to head back to Thessaloniki before the Games, and I had been feeling pretty glum, as most of the fun consists of being together and the remaining family, namely us and Rachel and Alexander, are often together in London so what’s the point. But this changes everything.

And there’s another VKB on eBay: Spring, 1946, no less. So far, no one’s bidding except me.


Here’s the gansey -- or rather, there it is. I’m delighted with it. I wasn’t as close to the underarm gussets as I thought I was: I’m within a couple of rounds, now.

I made some design decisions, mostly along the lines of less-is-more. I knit a shawl for grandson James-the-Younger in the months just after Heirloom Knitting was published. I tried to get everything in, and the result is something of a mess.

So I have decided not to make that mistake this time. Even with my limited remaining life-span, there is time for more ganseys if I want to knit them. I’ve got Brown-Reinsel. I know where to get the yarn. Let’s relax.

So, no shoulder strap. I’ll simply bind off the shoulders with a three-needle bind-off and do a rolled collar with an inverted triangle neck gusset. I’ll stop the pattern after six repeats and have some definition-lines and then a substantial-sized yoke of moss-stitch or something similarly simple (eschewing the fancier knit-and-purl patterns in Starmore’s Fisherman’s Sweaters). There’ll have to be more moss stitch at the top of the sleeves.


Kate, can’t you just order EZ’s books from the Schoolhouse Press, even in Oz? I’d go for Knitting Without Tears, for starters.

Tamar, I, too, learned a lot from Mary Thomas’ Knitting Book, well before I ever heard of EZ. But in a way, she was part of the problem. She seems to sneer at “peasant shapes” and her ideas for designing knitwear are along the lines which the VKB proudly calls “couture”, however inappropriate the word when applied to knitting. With close-fitting, tortured shapes, I mean, knit piece-by-piece and laboriously seamed.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The current state of the shrug Posted by Picasa
We’re going to Strathardle today, being semi-recovered from London. Blogging should resume on Wednesday or thereabouts.

The equivalent visit last year was the saddest-ever, vegetable-growing-wise. The only specific detail I can remember at the moment is that, of 20 courgette seeds planted, only 2 had come up, but there were other major disappointments as well. So today will be interesting, especially in view of the pitiable state to which a severe late frost reduced the potato foliage a fortnight ago.

Here is a picture of the current state of the beans on the doorstep, to strike an optimistic horticultural note. I’m pleased with them, and hope for flowers soon. (And, hey! Blogger uploaded it!)

And here’s a picture of the current state of the shrug -- no, not so. Maybe we're rationed to one-a-day. Another inch, less than another pattern repeat, and it’ll be time to get the books out and remind myself how to cast off for a shoulder-line on successive rows in a smooth line. The sleeve looks a tad narrow. There’s an inch and a half of ribbed edging to come, throughout, and I had vaguely thought that that would make a difference.

But I sat down with the pattern just now – it won’t. The edging will lengthen the sleeves, it won’t widen them. The stepped cast-off occupies a whole 14 rows: but it starts, of course, from the end of the sleeve, so that won’t help much, either.

But, hell, this thing doesn’t have to fit anybody. It just has to be there for the judges to judge.


Nothing new to report – it’s just that I was thinking, as often, about Elizabeth Zimmermann. She was born in 1910. She grew up with the kind of knitting I was thinking and talking about yesterday. She started a revolution which transformed ordinary knitters from, effectively, patient out-workers into craftsmen who understood their trade. Like many another genius in other fields, she had to do it all alone, with no Internet to put her in touch with kindred souls, and with knitting editors, when she submitted designs to magazines, who thought her approach eccentric if not actually crazy. It was a very remarkable achievement.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

James-the-Younger (Alexander and Ketki's son) amidst the bluebells of Scotland, last week at Loch Fyne. Other grandchildren will have to wait.  Posted by Picasa
VKB’s 31 and 32 arrived yesterday, as hoped. I’ve been having a wonderful time with them.

They are Autumn ’47 (actually dated on the cover) and Spring ’48. Post-war life is still pretty grim. My two pre-war ones, 14 and 15, will have been published in 1939, if Vogue kept going at two-issues-a-year during the war. Otherwise, obviously, earlier. They are full of references to cruises and Switzerland for the ski-ing and sherry. Post-war, the happiest knitwear-wearing occasion on offer seems to be “evening”.

On the other hand, 31 and 32 offer a variety of sizes, up to (curiously) a 39 ½ inch bust. The pre-war patterns are written for one size only, 36 inches if you’re lucky, 34 inches more commonly. Could the world really have been so different?

The next issue I have is no 36 – 1950. Sizes now go up to 40”, everybody looks much more cheerful, occasions are not only “evening” but also “dinner” and “country”. And the editor has started writing an introductory page, not seen previously.

In each of 31 and 32 there is a photograph attributed to Diane Arbus, to my astonishment. Norman Parkinson did one, too, for issue 31. By no. 36, all the photographs are by “Baker”. No mention of designers’ names anywhere.

31 and 32, for all their austerity, look like VKB’s. 14 and 15 are quite different in format.

The two that I bought on Abebooks recently and then was told I couldn’t have after all, were 29 and 34. I’m still cross.

I have 33 issues still to find, so eBay has a lot to do.


Jean-in-E, I do have “Fishermen’s Sweaters” and I now have Lochinver firmly fixed in my mind. I was out and about yesterday, but it was too hot for you to have been wearing it. More than that, I have put the book in the box to go to Strathardle on our next trip (which will take place tomorrow, insh’Allah). There are several fairly simple-looking knit-and-purl patterns which I want to consider for the top of Ketki’s gansey.

MamaLu, I have added Shelridge Farm to my “Yarn Sources” category on the “Favorites” list. And I agree, the Ultra Merino looks like an ideal yarn for the three-ply fingering yarns of yesteryear, and the colours are brilliant. It’s the “ribbon-pattern blouse” illustrated yesterday that I’d go for. Hey, maybe I’ll do it!

Let's see if I can show you some grandchildren.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"Slim jacket in broken stripes" Posted by Picasa
"Ribbon pattern blouse" Posted by Picasa


My teeth are fine, thanks.

In the last couple of days, I’ve received photographs of grandchildren from around the world – Beijing, Thessaloniki, and the shores of Loch Fyne. However, since I have the VKB bit between my freshly-descaled teeth, I think I’ll go on with that, for today.

I’ve heard from the seller of the two I bought on Saturday. I paid her by Paypal, and she says she posted them yesterday. Great excitement. The two gems of my collection are numbers 14 and 15, pre-war. After those, the new additions, from 1947, will be the oldest. I also won yesterday’s auction, paying not much – but it was of a more recent vintage, so that’s only fair. That seller requires a cheque in the mail, and since the clearance of cheques is fully as slow as it was before the days of the horseless carriage, I’ll have to wait awhile on that one.

I've made some not-very-good scans of two from my long-standing VKB wish-list. Blogger actually admits to having trouble, this morning. They may or may not appear above. The black-and-white one (if so) is autumn, ’58; and the other, autumn ‘61, if my arithmetic serves. Models in the latter issue are still photographed with cigarettes.

Both are 3-ply, as mentioned yesterday. The brown one is “Sirdar Majestic” at 17 sts to 2 in on 3mm needles and the other “Jaeger Classic Fingering 3-ply”, 15 sts to 2 in on 3.25mm’s. The needle sizes are American 3’s and 4’s, respectively. Fancy going to all that trouble, in the latter case, and printing the photograph in black-and-white. Both are knit sideways, seam-to-seam.

Thank you for the suggestions about replacing the yarn, in yesterday’s comments. I messed around myself for a while, Googling on “3-ply fingering yarn” and decided that sock yarn would be a pretty good bet. Smooth and capable of being knit to a fine gauge while still draping.

Jean-in-E suggested “Helen’s Lace”. I love that yarn, and have knit several shawls in it. See “Fergus’ Shetland shawl”, “JAK Miles’s Shetland shawl” and “Jenny’s shawl” on my website. Thomas-the-Younger had a shawl of it, too, which I don’t seem to have recorded. Two of those shawls involved finishing a whole skein and starting the next one. Lorna Miser herself was here for a yarn crawl one happy day a couple of years ago – I asked: she herself had never achieved that.

But I don’t think it would work here. Too fine and too silky.

And, Jean: what Starmore book is “Lochinver” in? I looked and couldn’t find it, but my collection isn’t complete. I’d hate to risk walking past you in the street without a nod.

Lorna, I don’t know quite what I don’t like about the shrug I’m knitting. Maybe it’s fine. Maybe I should stop grumbling. I got the sleeve stitches fully added yesterday and now have to knit straight on quite a few stitches for four inches.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I hope to be brisk this morning. I have an early appointment with the dentist.

Let’s attempt another illustration – the current state of this wretched shrug. I’m enjoying it less and less with each passing row. I finished a skein of yarn yesterday, though. That’s an achievement – and I got the ends in position to be part of a side seam without a great wastage of yarn. I never mastered spit-splicing, and I doubt if it would work with silk anyway.

Hurrah! A picture!

What should turn up on eBay yesterday but another VKB. It’s listed as VOGUE 1950,s KNITTING PATTERN BOOK and either they hadn’t told me, or I had missed it under that slightly askew title. No number is mentioned, and the corner of the cover where it should be, is missing.

I wrote to the seller, who replied very promptly that there was no number, just “2/6” which he assumed was the price. I took a deep breath and squared my shoulders and wrote back explaining where to find the number of a VKB with missing or defective cover, like several of my own. I didn’t hear for a several hours. Meanwhile I established for sure that I didn’t have one with that cover, and put in a low bid.

But he finally replied, and it’s a number I don’t have. So I have now put in a killer bid. It'll all be over this afternoon.

I wondered yesterday whether I have ever knit anything from the VKB, since I was married. I knit several things in Glasgow in the mid 50’s when I was on my own. I suspect not, although several have been on the HALFPINT list for decades. I always pounced avidly on each new issue, and read and re-read it in my bath (hence the defective covers).

I wonder what could substitute for the 3-ply yarns which were ubiquitous then – fine and smooth. Shetland jumper weight is a bit too hefty, I think, and too fuzzy.

Now I had better turn my thoughts towards dentistry.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Fish won by Rachel's children at the Games over the years, now living in South London. Posted by Picasa
Hellie and the beginnings of her shrug (which will be my entry in the Home Industries Tent at the Games this summer). Posted by Picasa