Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The great thing about a sleeve is that it’s not very far around. Progress seems to be rapid. The downside is that the colour changes happen constantly.

Sheila, I think we have stumbled on the answer to the difficulties of the two-circular system, namely to use two needles that look different. Needless to say, in this case it was sheer happenstance. I have only three circulars of the required size – one, a metal one, is fully occupied holding the body stitches, so I set about the sleeve with the other two. If you hadn’t left that comment yesterday, this major breakthrough might have passed almost unnoticed, even by me.

Mar, like you, I enjoy DPs and wouldn’t dream of using anything else when knitting with a single yarn. But Fair Isle is different, and maybe getting harder for me with increasing age and frequent broken arms. Two circulars are almost as inconvenient as DPs – you have to stop in mid-round once instead of twice, that’s all. You still have to unwind all the yarn from your fingers, turn the work around, push stitches hither and yon on the needles, and set yourself up again for the next stretch. The big advantage is that the stitches are much more secure – you don’t keep losing a couple off the ends of the needles.

Try it again, Deidra and Mar, using two different-coloured circulars, if you’re ever in this situation.

I’ll still be glad when I can get everything on to one circular. I’m increasing by two stitches every five rounds. There’s still a long way to go.

Carlarey, I shall eagerly await your report of attempts to persuade Swapna that knitting is just as pleasant a vice as smoking, only easier on the lungs. “The Knit Stitch” is another possibility for a First Book for her.

I made some progress yesterday with luxurious sock yarns, and should be ready to report soon.

We’re going to London for more art at the end of the month. I booked the train tickets yesterday, and only realised afterwards that we will, thank goodness! be back here in time for Groundhog Day, and for this year’s Calcutta Cup match the ensuing weekend


  1. Able to de-lurk momentarily! The new Yarn magazine is out. Did you want me to get one and send it to you? Their website is if you'd prefer to subscribe. The website is a bit elementary so the featured articles are an interview with Mel Clark, pocket science - knitting in pockets.
    The Calcutta Cup jumper sleeve is going well. I'm impressed that you're managing to get the pattern matching so well with the body. Are there any texture differences from using a wood and a metal needle? I'm guessing that if there are, they'd block/steam out anyway?

  2. Anonymous12:32 PM

    I later realized my comment yesterday had a mistake. I meant to say that I had tried two circulars of different lengths (not sizes). Someone had said I would be able to tell them apart easily. That did not work AT ALL for me, but I know using two different materials will take care of the problem. I can't wait to cast on a sock! Thanks again! By the way, I love your new blog format -- no more huge gap between the date and your entry :-)

  3. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Your frustrations with the two needles is real for me... then I discovered Bev Galeska's Magic Loop (one needle).. and haven't looked back .. If you google
    you will find a world of Magic Loop.

    Thank you for your blog ... my first read of the day.

  4. Anonymous4:49 PM

    I finally found the picture of vertical Fair Isle knitting. It was on the website at http://
    Click on collections, textiles, fair_isle_knitting

    Scroll down to the photo labeled "Fair Isle in the 20s and 30s"

    Either there are some amazingly long floats, or those color areas went up vertically. I don't think it was knitted sideways.

  5. Anonymous8:11 PM

    Hi Jean,

    It has been a long, long time. Sorry about the silence. I have a solution for your dpn storage problem. It is a fabric case that has 32 pockets and rolls up when not in use. I don't know how I managed to live without mine. It holds all but my larger size and longer needles. You can see a picture on

    There is one winging its way to you as we speak.

    Janis in Lyme