Wednesday, September 27, 2006

One repeat done of Princess border row 143. It’s nice to have even that little bit – four rows – behind me on the new chart, to put things in context. Thanks to everyone for yesterday’s kind comments. Mandella, I’m glad I was able to inspire you not to rip back. I’m not using lifelines, because it would involve a whole evening’s work to insert one.

The Paisley Long Shawl

Yesterday, not before time, I unpinned it from the bed in the spare room. Look at that! It was the first time I had ever used blocking wires. Should I have threaded them through every single edge loop, then? I’m not desperately fussy, but this obviously won’t do. It fails the galloping horse test, and won’t pass muster as a Design Feature.


I took this picture as soon as the wires were out, hoping that a bit of gentle tugging would set things right. It didn’t. I then put it away in the Present Drawer (since it is intended as a Christmas present for my sister-in-law), hoping it will put itself right. It won’t. I suppose the thing to do will be to sit down with it and see if I can ease the loops back in, one by one, at least somewhat.

I could fringe the ends, but that won’t help the sides.

My VKB’s

The postman brought them yesterday, after a long, impatient morning. They’re pretty wonderful – No. 10, spring, 1937; no 30, spring ’47; and 33, autumn ’48. I will meet my friend and agent for coffee tomorrow and get the two others I bought on Super Saturday.

An embarrassment of riches. A lot happened in the world between 1937 and 1947. No 10 definitely seems “then”; the patterns are one-size-only, for the super-slim. The other two are recognisably “now”. Vogue still expects you not to let yourself go, but multi-sizing has arrived and both issues are plump and full of ads and full, too, of a new postwar energy and enthusiasm.

As always, looking through old VKB’s, I think of EZ. She was no fool. She must have read Vogue. She will have recognised and appreciated the enormous skill and attention to detail the patterns represent. Photographs from that period suggest that her own shape was close to a model figure. And yet she resolutely and single-handed led knitting off in a different and in the end more fruitful direction.

The three issues I got yesterday are in splendid condition, never knitted-from and not much pored-over, so I hesitated to entrust them to the scanner. But the need to show you these pictures overcame me. The blouse (Spring ’47) I offer for its breathtaking fit and detail; the angora sweater, autumn ’48, because it’s me.

09-27-2006 07;37;55AM 09-27-2006 07;34;48AM

Not that I looked like that, of course. Not that an angora sweater like that would have been even occasionally comfortable on the Jersey shore. I was 15, in the fall of 1948, and that’s exactly how I aspired to look. And angora, I remember clearly, was in. I never had any. I was knitting by then, and would have yearned for this sweater if I’d seen it. I specifically remember that I liked deep yokes. But apart from any other consideration, I didn’t know where to buy yarn, so I wouldn’t have got very far. I doubt if Woolworth’s in Allenhurst stocked angora.

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