Thursday, June 08, 2006

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.

1 comment:

  1. a friend of mine had a great post on her blog about a letter she found in her copy of Knitting Without Tears. The book was a review copy and the note inside from the reviewer said she questioned there being "much good information in it for anyone"! The reviwers remarks seem to really fit with what you've said: at the time. 'practical' information was patterns, not understanding.

    Here's a link to her post, if you are interested: