Monday, September 04, 2006

I always read Comments from the day before, and love getting them. I don’t always go back to see if earlier entries have picked up extra comments after the first 24 hours, but yesterday, fortunately, I did just that, and in the course of admiring my own lapidary prose, found your comment, rosesmama, about being my daughter Helen’s roommate in NY in the 80’s.

Talk about small worlds! I sent your comment to Helen at once, but I’m not as Third Millennium as I thought I was: I can’t figure out how to write to you directly. I am miles dot jean at googlemail dot com, and Helen is hcmiles at otenet dot gr. Please get in touch. This is amazing.

Heirloom Knitting

I’ve been thinking about it. Depends what you mean by “heirloom”. To my mind, the knitting that is so difficult that death would be considered a relief, in the Yarn Harlot’s phrase, is designer knitting. The kind of thing devised with paper and pen (or computer) and a small swatch and then passed on to us poor suckers for actual knitting. I think of Starmore’s Stillwater.

It’s a beautiful pattern, and for years I aspired to knit it. When the time finally came, I got through a whole 58-row pattern repeat over a couple of hundred stitches before I sought relief not indeed in death but in the frog pond. There is no rhythm to the pattern, no way to predict the next row from the one before.

I love rhythm. Traditional patterns all have it, Shetland lace, Aran, Fair Isle, ganseys, Orenburg, Scandinavian, more I’m sure. Both soothing and intellectually exciting to knit. Some of Kaffe’s patterns have this quality, and the great thing about that man is that he doesn’t just design, he knits.

Back at the ranch...

Maureen, I’m using Sharon's Gossamer Merino for the Princess, and I think it’s simply wonderful. I started with silk, and failed miserably. I then gave some thought, uncharacteristically, to the question of how to proceed. I ordered a sample ball of the cotton Sharon herself used, but never tried it. At one point I actually had 10 repeats of the edging done in another of Sharon’s yarns, quite likely her 2-ply laceweight. I liked it, although the result was clearly going to be substantially bigger than the already enormous prototype.

I discussed all this here on the blog, I think it must have been, and Sharon herself rang up to say that the yarn I was using was too big, and to recommend the Gossamer Merino which was at the time brand new. The rest is history.

The notes on the pattern imply that the cotton yarn tries to escape – she recommends point protectors every time you put it down. With wool, I’m not having any such problem. I’ve got 865 stitches on a long circular needle, and they are extremely well behaved.

Gossamer merino 002

I’m now doing row 86. Yesterday’s excitement was finishing a whole ball of yarn and attaching the next one. That doesn’t happen very often.


  1. Anonymous9:15 AM

    Oh Jean, the Princess is looking wonderful; and how nice that you have been able to pick it up again without hesitation.

    Judith in Australia where Spring has sprung, the blossoms and daffs are out and the frosts have (nearly) gone.

  2. Anonymous11:39 AM

    Jean, I have been lurking for some time now. It's so lovely to see what other enthusiastic knitters are doing, particularly when I don't come into contact with other knitters very often. The shawl is coming along beautifully - obviously a project where you can enjoy the journey as well as the end. I do so agree with your sock comments. My favourite pair (Opal) is the oldest (about three years) which get softer with every wash and nary a hole to be seen.

    Vera from East Sussex