Saturday, June 02, 2007

I’ve got eight more circuits to do to finish Sam’s body – the weekend should see it done, barring disaster. Then come feet.

Some confusion, and much good advice, on the stuffing front. The confusion was entirely generated by my own confused thinking. Deidra, I knew that roving I bought would be clean and ready to use, but thinking about that led me on to thinking about the wool that lies around in the fields in Strathardle (for which I vaguely believe there is a special word, at least in Scots).

I like the idea that wool will make Sam warm and huggable. I don’t like the idea that it will make him heavy. I incline towards polyester because the designer used it and she has clearly expended a great deal of trouble on him. But she suggests roving as an alternative. I have found a source for roving without difficulty, by Googling. A donkey between two carrots.

But at least I think I will gather up some wool from the field next week and see how disgustingly dirty it is or isn’t. Whatever stuffing I use, I could put in a bit of real Strathardle wool for luck.

I wonder why “wool-gathering” means what it does. It must refer to the activity I am talking about. The OED gives both meanings – collecting wool from fences and hedges, and wandering-in-thought – without explaining why the first, which seems rather frugal and purposeful to me, should give rise to the second.

Little Boy Sweater

Alexander sent these pictures yesterday of little boys wearing the Little Boy sweater. As it happens, last Monday was James-the-Younger’s fourth birthday. I don’t on the whole knit to deadlines (the need to produce a Games entry being an exception), but sometimes things work out like that. This is James, with his mother Ketki.

I like the evidence that he appreciates the wallaby pocket.

Alexander thinks the sweater will have been passed to Thomas-the-Younger by winter. I wonder. It's clearly a bit big for him now. He will be three in November.


  1. I always assumed that the dual meaning of wool-gathering was because the activity did not require very much concentration, so thoughts could roam freely. Much like knitting socks.

  2. Anonymous10:05 AM

    Jean, delurking to say if you find you can't stuff the legs tightly enough to get Sam to stand without stuffing poking through, you might adapt the technique used by Waldorf-style doll makers when they make the doll heads. Take a double-knit (four way stretchy) fabric in a color the same as the legs and cut and sew an inner form for each leg. Slip the forms into the knitted legs and then stuff. Hope my explanation is clear. if not, check out a book like "Kinder Dolls" for more info.

  3. Anonymous12:32 PM

    I think the mental form of woolgathering means to wander from thought to thought without direction, as if wandering from bush to fence for actual wool. The modern example that comes to mind for me is following links on the internet. One needs a lot of time, and expects to wind up far from where one started, and may or may not gather enough (in this case, information) for the session to be fruitful. Being quite experienced at the mental sort of woolgathering, I've had a lot of time to think about this ;)


  4. In Scots, wool before it is carded is called flaught (flake, also used for snow); thus also the verb 'to flaucht', meaning to card wool and a flauchter is one who cards. Then 'laget' or 'lag' is used of shreds of wool fed into a spinning wheel, or loose wool from a sheep's back, or as a verb, it describes a sheep casting its wool.

    These words can be found in the Dictionary of the Scots Language,, but the only one I am actually familiar with through hearing it spoken is 'oo'. My mother called the fluff under the bed 'oos', (pron. ooze) because it looks like strands of wool. The DSL says 'oo-gathering' is the gleaning or collecting of loose tufts of wool left by sheep in the fields, and gives 'oo leddy' for a woman who gathered loose wool from the fields. So you will be the Oo Lady of Strathardle.