Sunday, June 25, 2006

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.

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