Saturday, September 09, 2006


I’m somewhere in the early part of row 102. The notion of having knit 100 rows sounds significant, but 110 will be much more so, being half-way, for the border. We’re going back to Strathardle on Monday – I won’t have got there by then, but I’ll be closer than I am now, insh’Allah, and I’ll take a picture.

I have decided that it is inevitable, now that I’ve got a substantial body of work here, that I find myself thinking back to the road travelled, and ahead to the still-hard-to-imagine distance to go. In the early weeks, it was pure process, a Zen-like experience. One simply knit, since it was impossible to suppose I would ever get anywhere with a project this size. It’s sort of sad to have lost that early innocence.


Thank you, everybody, both for war-time memories and for answering each other’s questions. Pamela has got me wondering how I know the phrase “sprigged muslin”? Since I have been toiling mightily in recent months getting my husband’s Magnum Opus into his Palm, and since the Palm is here in repose, plugged into my computer, I looked up his entry on The Pedlar just now. He doesn’t say anything specifically about the length of material. The dictionary says that “sprigged” fabric was fashionable and common at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, which is the period we are dealing with.

My husband does say, “The householder’s knitted conical nightcap is…of a kind that was made around Kilmarnock”. I was astonished to read this, but I see that the footnote attributes this information to Slipknot, the journal of the Knitting and Crochet Guild, so I must have known it once, and must have told him. He doesn’t read Slipknot in the ordinary way of things.

Clydella is heavier and harder-wearing and somewhat coarser and cosier than Viyella. Could it be entirely made of brushed cotton?

I long for more wartime VKB’s. eBay writes to me almost daily with new listings, but they are obstinately useless this week and last.


We are going to Thessaloniki to see Helen and her family at the end of October, our first essay at anything that could be classed as travel – I don’t count London – since we went to China three and a half years ago. The visit will include a weekend on Pelion, where I will stand my watch upon the hill and look towards Ossa. I bought a computer disk yesterday to brush up my tourist Greek with.

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