Friday, June 30, 2006

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…

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