Thursday, September 21, 2006

Near the end of row 125 -- only 95 to go, when it's done. Ted, it's good of you to have dropped by. I hope you'll resume your Princess soon. It's such fun. But the more one does, the more one feels the responsibility of the impossible amount still left to do. Can't be helped.

Alexander's Fair Isle

I dragged everything out of the stash cupboard yesterday. I could knit Alexander a fine sweater entirely from stash, but I really need some more dark charcoal (not, I think, true black) if I am to keep the colour balance as in the postcard. The photograph is bleached, needless to say. In particular, the palest yarn is not as white as it appears. Starmore doesn't seem to do charcoal, and Jamieson's website, very oddly, doesn't do online ordering of a colour fringe, or anything else. I'll have to resort to the telephone.

new Fair Isle

Lene, thank you for that link to See Eunny Knit! Most interesting. (A brocade-type Fair Isle sweater where the pattern flows past seams. It'll be in the winter IK, and it's gorgeous.) She has managed to avoid having to flow the pattern over the shoulder. And you're right: I won't have any significant decisions to make about flow until I reach the armpits, and by then the magazine will be with us.

Kitchener Stitch revisited

Laurie sent me a photocopy of a page from VK International, spring/summer '84, in which EZ herself says: "And, by the way, the term 'Kitchener stitch' was contributed to the American language by Lord Kitchener during World War I, when, hearing that U.S. women were 'knitting comforts for the boys in the trenches,' he contributed his very own sock directions, which included a grafted toe."

Fascinating for its very lack of helpfulness. Where did EZ get those inverted comma's around the phrase "knitting comforts for the boys in the trenches". Is she actually quoting Lord Kitchener? From what source? The phrase is interesting in itself. We recently learned from VKB no. 17 that "comforts" was the word employed in Britain in WW II (as EZ must have known) for items knitted for the military. Was it so used in WWI? I just looked up the word in the big OED and find that that particular usage is absent, like "Kitchener stitch" itself. Here, for what it's worth, is the complete entry for "comforts" as concrete things (as distinct from an idea or concept):

" concr. A thing that produces or ministers to enjoyment and content. (Usually pl.; distinguished from necessaries on the one hand, and from luxuries on the other.) creature comforts: material comforts such as food. So, 'home comforts'.
1659 J. Arrowsmith Chain Princ. 58 The Scripture useth diminishing terms when it speaks of creature-comforts. 1688 Miege Fr. Dict. s.v., The Comforts of this Life. 1771 Smollett Humph. Cl. Let. 8 Oct., Very moderate in his estimate of the necessaries, and even of the comforts of life. 1775 Johnson Tax. no Tyr. 11 Before they quit the comforts of a warm home. 1855 Macaulay Hist. Eng. xiii. III. 300 A modern Englishman finds in his shooting box all the comforts and luxuries of his club. 1860 Tyndall Glac. i. x. 66 Steeped in the creature comforts of our hotel. 1873 Mrs. Alexander Wooing o't xxi, Another dainty apartment, supplied with every comfort."

That's the sort of thing, all right, but it doesn't quite cover this particular usage. Curioser and curioser.

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