Monday, December 03, 2007

The other thing I buy on eBay, besides old Vogue Knitting Books, is postcards of Kirkmichael, Perthshire. This gem is coming up later in the week – I must trust you all not to rush forth and try to outbid me. The picture was taken from our side of the river, which is unusual for postcards. I haven’t figured out the vantage-point yet. It is interesting to see crops in the fields, and not a sheep in sight. The date is 1905, the seller says. I hope that means there’s a message on the other side. We prefer them with messages.

I had a good day with the Koolhaas, but I’ve flunked cabling-without-a-cable-needle. Mel, I knew you could do it, without being told, but I went back and had another try yesterday after I read your comment. Then I gave up.

I can do it, but it feels awkward, and the danger of losing a stitch induces anxiety, and I’m not sure the manoeuvres involved save time anyway. I am a slow and awkward knitter at the best of times. I’m using a darning needle, because it’s shorter than a cable needle, and now that I’ve given up, things are progressing nicely. I’m occupied with the second full pattern repeat.

I am afraid that Koigu sort of swallows the beautiful pattern, but it may emerge triumphantly at the end, and meanwhile the hat looks perfectly nice.

Today, back to the gansey.


Julie, that was an interesting remark, about Vogue expecting you to be able to figure out how to change sizes for yourself. I think I’ve read two contradictory editor’s-notes on this subject, in different issues: one saying that every stitch planned by our brilliant designers is sacrosanct, so face up to it and get gauge and don’t try to change anything; and another, nearer in date to the time they gave up and introduced multiple-sizing, suggesting ways of making alterations.

I hope to go through the wartime issues systematically soon, looking for things like that.

Thank you for the kind remarks about the Earth Stripe. The Fishwife got it right, I’m sure, about why I didn’t bond with it: the horror of knitting with Kidsilk Haze. It certainly wasn’t a question of pride recoiling from st st.

Cal, you misunderstand me and Kate on museum entrance: the idea was to check out the shop first, and proceed to pay the entrance fee if things look interesting. Although the idea of sneaking in through the shop has crossed minds occasionally…

You’re right that the way to proceed is to complain to politicians. My husband believes ardently that national and civic collections should be free, just as we take it for granted that access to education and libraries is free.


  1. The trick with needleless cabling is to slip the needles out of the stitches without pulling on the stitches which remain on-needle, so there is certainly an element of coordination involved. I suspect that having surgical training helps, in my case.

  2. i think working without cable needles adds to the carpal tunnel syndrome. it is ok when you make left crosses but back crosses are mission impossible in my opinion.
    postcards are great. i used to collect old postcards and african tribal dance postcards. don't ask me why about the latter. i will not outbid you.

  3. Anonymous1:10 PM

    Cabling without a cable needle (or something like) only works for me on the strightforward crosses c2b and so forth. When you have to knit into the back, or purl, it's too convoluted for me. I did Koolhaas WITH a needle. Can hardly wait to see yours!

  4. I don't understand the whole love of cabling without a cable needle. It is just as fast to me to use a cable needle. I love the small wooden ones from Brittany, 3 sizes to a pkg. (If you are interested Jean, let me know.) And I love museum gift shops, they are such great sources for books and assorted objects one never finds otherwise. On my one trip to London the War Rooms were a must see and I was glad I shelled out the big bucks. I bought a stack of wartime propaganda postcards in shop, as well.

  5. Anonymous2:40 PM

    I'm confused by all the knitting and so can't tell when you are working on the Obama sweater and when on peripheral things like hats and scarves. But do have a look at the column in the link below. All of the good news has come since you started the sweater!
    Note: if the link doesn't work because of length (why don't they make it like links inside the original post?) you can go to the New York Times and look for today's Frank Rich.

  6. Anonymous6:42 PM

    AH, glad to hear that I misunderstood! I'm not sure about Great Britain, but in Canada public access to information such as libraries, public schools, and museums is becoming a luxury rather than a right.
    I am so not into cabling without a cable needle... I am all about the process! There is something so tidy about cabling with a little needle (Brittany needles are my preference, too!)

  7. Have to share this with you:

    The Obama knit-link is gathering momentum...

  8. Anonymous8:27 AM

    Hello Jean,
    I was able to follow your sister Helen's link, but reading her comment gave me the impetus to look up It is free and simple to use. You paste in your long link and they give you a short one.

    Frank Rich's column can now be found at this link:

    Kind regards,

    PS Going home today for a week of catching up with my great nieces and nephew.

  9. I was shocked when I visited the UK to find how many museums and gallerys have free admission. (My husband and I felt obligated to give donations at the door because of this.) I can't think of any museum I've been to that does not charge admission - I'm assuming this is because no one in the local, state, or federal government wants to pick up the tab for the costs. Just think what we could be funding if this president weren't spending billions elsewhere. Sigh.

  10. Instead of a cable needle, I most often use a better class of wooden toothpick. The wood prevents the yarn from slipping off. That said, I have never tried an actual cable needle so I may be speaking out of simple ingnorance.