Friday, November 30, 2007

I finished i-cording the Earth Stripe Wrap and made a decent start on the ends. I'm just tying neat knots and cutting off the rest. To hell with it.

Bits and Pieces

My secret knitting of a while back was this sweater for (as she turned out to be) Frances Campbell, Lorna's baby. I finally got it into the post yesterday. (In our early years in Drummond Place we had a post office around the corner, and I was in there at least twice a week. It’s gone; I miss it sorely.) If I’d known back then that she was going to turn out to be a girl, I’d have held out for the Tulip Jacket. Anybody else want to have a baby? Don’t answer that.

This one was knit in an Opal self-patterning yarn.

Jean, my assumption that some people had stashes during the war was based on no evidence except the invariancy of human nature. I think there must have been some prosperous knitters of middle age and more in 1939, who had stashes. Your grandmother’s generation rather than your mother’s. Of course there wasn’t much prosperity around, in the 1930’s. But I wonder.

When my stash first began to form, when I was in my late 30’s I guess, I thought it was a vice unique to me. It was only the internet that taught me otherwise.

Thanks for all the WWII memories and links. Even in the US, people painted their legs brown and added fake stocking seams, Knititch. At the beginning of the war, stockings were silk. That source was removed utterly – what silk there was, was needed for parachutes. Nylon got invented or at any rate, developed, as the war progressed – I think I remember the newspaper account of the brave man who first jumped out of an airplane with nothing but nylon to ease his descent. After the war, that’s what stockings were made of. In between, pretty well zilch.

Grannypurple, I’ll look for that book “Mass Observation”. It sounds just what I need.

Thinking more yesterday about VKB No. 19, it occurred to me that there are no men in it. In the 30’s and in the late 40’s and 50’s, there was usually a man’s pattern or two in every issue. And they appeared not infrequently in the drawings (1930’s) and photographs of the actual designs – slightly out-of-focus, perhaps, gazing with admiration at the model in her knitted whatever-it-was.

Not so in 1941. No men. I flipped through the recent Anniversay Issue of Vogue International – there aren’t many men there, either: none in Vogue’s actual fashion photographs, one or two in the ads. But that’s because they’ve gone out of fashion, like cigarettes.


  1. In Eleanor Graham's 'The Children who lived in a Barn' (1938) there is an elderly lady, Miss Blake, prosperous enough to have a live-in companion, who has a stash of wool, from which she chooses some recycled balls in an ugly colour to teach the child Alice to knit. The book is currently in print, as a beautiful Persephone edition, and I thoroughly recommend it.

  2. Anonymous8:38 AM

    I am sure there would have been stashes back then but they were more likely to be the accumulation of yearsworth of leftovers, with the addition of stuff with no specific aim but bought by ladies prosperous enough to take advantage of the sales. We certainly had the leftovers, in the fifties, along with the occasional deconstructed jersey, but I have the impression that even ladies higher on the prosperity scale than us lived the same careful lives, and bought their yarn fresh, in the same way as the vegetables!

  3. Anonymous10:43 AM

    When I cleaned my mothers attic, I found two regulation cotton red cross bandages, presumably from WWII, in her stash of oddballs. My guess is that these were all she could make at the time, as she was in grammar school. More recently, she was doing this sort of knitting for the merchant marines, hats and such.

  4. congrats on the i-cord finishing. I think I already mentioned that whenever I get mine done (after getting the k-s haze in the mail and then starting, sigh) I've already decided I will have a "side" fringe.
    I'm wearing a very warm but sheddy Russian mohair shawl, so I figure I'll be used to those extra ends by the time I get finished. :)

  5. The Opal is from their Hundertwasser collection, colorway 'Seeschlange'. I've got a sock on the needles in the same colorway.

  6. Could you possibly be more over the Earth Stripe?? I bet it will get lots of compliments, though. I found this with the Sister Shawl and really that was pretty easy and definitely boring to knit!