Monday, September 18, 2006

Near the beginning of row 117.

My friend Helen, who has acted as my agent before, volunteered to bid for some of the five VKB’s coming up almost simultaneously this weekend. I had hesitated to lay it on her, being in the middle of Saturday afternoon when she might be watching the football. I am delighted to have her help, and with it, we’ll manage.

The same Helen discovered, (a) in my own archives, the picture I was talking about yesterday, of the PoW in a sweater the pattern of which flows down the sleeves; and (b) this entertaining account of its genesis:

The Prince’s comment, “very nice picture of a pair of shoes,” must have cut Orpen to the quick. Unfortunately the shoes don't appear in my reproduction.

prince of wales

Helen suggests that such necklines were intended to display the wearer’s collar and tie, and thus emphasize the fact that he didn’t really need a sweater to keep warm, like humbler folk. It’s an interesting idea. It is easy to forget how recent an addition to our wardrobes, male and female both, the sweater is. My life affords considerable opportunity to inspect 19th century pictures of rural life in Britain. There aren’t any sweaters. Knitted hose, yes.

Nineteenth century seafaring men would certainly have worn them. There is a picture in the naval museum at Greenwich of Napoleon being taken to exile in Elba. Thus, datable, although not by me, off the top of my head. There is a sailor in the foreground wearing what is undoubtedly a striped jersey.

I suspect that 19th century Scandinavian art, with which I rarely come in contact, would show sweater-wearing at an earlier date than British pictures. That's something else to look into when the work’s all done this fall.

Thinking about VKB’s took me back to the final manifestation of the British magazine. In 1966 they abandoned the numbering sequence which had served them since the ‘30’s and started afresh with no. 1 of a redesigned magazine which lasted for eight issues.

A recent post of Lorna's has got me worried about reproducing photographs, but I’m going to take a chance. Here is a design of Kaffe’s from no. 7 of the new series. It looks pretty routine nowadays, and commits the cardinal sin of having more than two colours in a row. I suspect the great man himself had little to do with actually knitting it. It was the first time I had heard his name, and may well be his first published pattern.

09-18-2006 08;04;19AM

Issue no. 8 of the new series doesn’t announce itself as the last, but the photographer seemed to know, and it is full of pictures hinting at doom, of which I offer one. I love it.

09-18-2006 08;00;46AM

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