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.

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