Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Elizabeth, thank you for that most cheering comment yesterday: if you’ve only just received your summer Knitter’s, mine is probably still to come, and that means that only one issue is missing (namely spring), mislaid by me or of course by the postal services of one nation or the other. That’s a much more manageable thought. I can always get it from Back Issues.

But I think that henceforth I’ll make a note of the date when a knitting magazine arrives. Quarterly is too long an interval to get the mind around.

Thanks to everybody, too, for continued political comments. Theo, I look forward to continuing this conversation in Strathardle soon. Kate, I’ve never heard of anyone making a compendium of political platforms such as you describe. It sounds useful indeed.

Now, knitting.

Look at that:

I always cut out pictures of interesting kilt hose and put them in the back of my copy of Lady Gainford’s book, but this one from yesterday’s Scotsman really takes the cake.

It’s worth peering at, and I'm afraid it's less clear in the scan than in the newspaper. The two colours in the turnovers are continued all the way down the leg, panels of what may be knit-one-maroon, knit-one-aqua, offset by one stitch in the next round, punctuated with one- or perhaps two-stitch maroon ribs. The yarn must be finer than yarn usually used for hose, to accommodate two colours and leave room to get the royal foot into the royal shoe. He didn’t get those at Marks and Spencer’s.

I went to the Prince of Wales website in an idle moment yesterday, but although it’s set up to receive emails, it warns that you won’t get an answer. I toyed with the idea of writing an actual letter on actual paper to Clarence House, as the website suggests, asking who knits for H.R.H. – but that’s a lot of trouble and seemed rather silly.

However, this morning in the early moments of consciousness when I have always found that the synapses fire rather well, it occurred to me to set Knitting magazine on the job. It would make a good and unusual feature article, and there aren’t all that many of those around. I’d attempt it myself if I weren’t so old and so involved in cooking lunch.

Once when I was very young I saw a young man buying a lace jabot at a haberdashery counter in Copeland’s in Glasgow, and I reflected that there is no nation in Europe where a gent can do himself up so well as in Scotland, without joining the army.

As for my own knitting, I got around that third corner of the melon scarf. At the beginning of the whole job I was in such a hurry to get going that I took the Coward’s Way and knit a few rows in a waste yarn rather than attempting a more refined temporary cast-on. The predictable down-side, last night, was a laborious half-hour unpicking waste yarn and retrieving stitches.


  1. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Jean you have posed a very interesting question and well worth researching - I'm sure there are any number of knitters who could have knit those socks for Prince Charles - maybe his mother or his grandmother if she were still alive. It would be a good item for the Women's Hour programme on Radio 4.

  2. I doubt that Charles gets much of anything at M&S. As he wore them for the opening of the Shetland Museum, I would wonder if they might possibly have been done in Shetland wool. Perhaps not, but given its place in the local economy and history, one would think that the royals would consider a gesture of the sort. Perhaps someone at the museum in Lerwick might have an answer for you.

  3. You certainly have a way with words! I love that next to last paragraph!

  4. Anonymous12:53 PM

    Jean .. Such a delight to read your love of our language!!!

    As for missing Knitter's ... and I speak from experience ... just email/phone/write to them and tell them you did not receive the Spring issue and they will send you a replacement ... pronto! Well, as pronto as the mails allow.
    I am knitting kilt hose for a friend in Inverness; but he will only have Lovat green, as is proper for him. But I do wish he would follow PoW's example.
    peace, Elizabeth

  5. Anonymous5:53 PM

    The Prince's socks are handsome indeed-- I'm glad you brought them to our notice. To change the subject to gardening for a moment, I must recommend Liza Dalby's "East Wind Melts the Ice", subtitled "a memoir through the seasons". I hope this is available in the UK, as I think you would appreciate it. Think of it as a Japanese/Northern Californian (really!) parallel to your own observations of the Scottish seasons. . .

  6. Anonymous8:12 PM

    You make me laugh, Jean.

  7. Preparations for lunch definitely take precedence over research projects! A Jamie recipe again?

    Having said that, do you know what the definition of "long-nebbit" is? I read it in one of my old school stories and it's attributed to a young Scottish boy describing a piglet as "...wee and long-nebbit". I've Googled and came across one reference but couldn't figure out the definition from the context.

    I've been comparing your Melon Shawl with the completed one that Wendy's Woolies did for a friend. Blocking continues to fascinate me; such a butterfly evolution.

  8. Send Brenda Dayne of Cast-On.

  9. I hope you do find out who knit Prince Charles's hose. They're wonderful.

    Men in kilts. Ah, do I love 'em. My dear late husband was more than happy to dress up in a kilt for his daughter's wedding. I only wish I had had the time to knit him some hose. My first Aran design was for a dear friend who is of Irish descent and always wears his Irish kilt on St. Patrick's Day, with my sweater.

    And not a drop of the Gaelic blood in me or the husband. Go figure.

  10. Anonymous2:23 PM

    I wanted to get a look at a better picture of Prince Charles' hose. When I checked the Scotsman website I didn't find a better picture but I did find links to the steam train and was enchanted.
    So much in films is computer graphics these days it was wonderful to find the Hogwart's Express actually exists.
    Now back to knitting.

  11. Anonymous9:02 PM

    What a cozy page, Jean. Although I am hopelessly inept at knitting with 2 Grandmothers who were righties and me a leftie, I did manage to pick up crocheting as a kid. Mayhaps in my next life I'll be fortunate enough to come back a knitter.....BTW, my hubby married me in a kilt his mother made from an old set of instructions I dug up. Men in kilts ROCK. Even HRH.