Friday, September 08, 2006

The Princess Shawl

I’ve finished row 99. I allowed my thoughts to wander yesterday, as I was driving to the supermarket, over the question of what proportion of the whole might be considered to have been completed when – if – I finish the border.

Seven balls of yarn remain out of ten, and the rest of the border will require only one more of them, I’m pretty sure. That would suggest quite a long way to go – and this is yarn that Sharon sold me herself, not me buying to-be-on-the-safe-side, as is my wont. I read through the rest of the pattern again when I got home, and decided that there’s a lot more to do and I had better revert to the stitch-by-stitch-and-don’t-think-ahead approach.

Picture soon, but for the moment here is one taken yesterday. Alexander most kindly drove over from Argyll, where he and Ketki and their sons live when they aren’t on Lavender Hill in London, to spend the day hanging pictures with my husband.


Yarn Rationing

Helen-not-sister came up with two interesting websites yesterday:
reproduces the official order introducing clothes rationing in June, 1941. So I was right to deduce from the absence of the subject in the pages of VKB no. 17, that it hadn’t happened yet in autumn, 1940. The Argument from Silence does occasionally work.

A jumper cost five coupons, out of an annual ration of 66. Two ounces of knitting wool cost one. So there wasn’t much advantage, if any, in knitting for yourself. But lots of advantage in ripping out threadbare garments and re-using the good bits.

It has often occurred to me, given the invariancy of human nature, that there must have been people with stashes in 1939, and dressmakers with piles of cloth. I’ve got enough yarn here to see me easily through a six-year war, even if I double up some of the lace-weights.

One of my favourite pictures by my husband’s artist is called The Pedlar. A pretty young wife wants to buy a length of sprigged muslin. The women of the household are examining it with delight, and trying to argue the pedlar down on the price, while she turns to beg it of her husband, sitting at the window. (My husband surprised me once by saying that he thinks he’s going to say yes.)

It was only when I saw this picture in Real Life a few years ago in an exhibition at Dulwich that I saw that she’s got a stash, on top of the wardrobe in the background. (The picture normally lives at Yale.)

However, that’s by the way. The other website Helen found is
more of a school-project essay on the subject of clothes rationing, but not without interest.

We still don’t know when clothes rationing ended, or whether the ration was relaxed at any point. Do read Jean-from-Cornwall’s interesting comment yesterday.

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