Sunday, March 16, 2008

The BB* has broadcast nothing at all directly from Lh*sa in the last 24 hours, so I was very glad indeed to get an email this morning from Cathy to say that she’s spoken to J*mes, and he’s still there, holed up in his hotel room, in high spirits. He’ll stay until Tuesday as originally scheduled – he’s there in some sort of perfectly above-board, approved-in-advance capacity but I dare say he chose his dates to coincide with the anniversary of the old uprising. She says that he says that the streets are empty except for the military.

It was wonderful, and sort of funny, to hear in the comments from people who have heard him on their radios.


Today’s Sunday-respite-from-the-gansey will be devoted, not to scarf, but to finishing the sock – a second sock – which I was knitting at the conference, and embarking on a new pair for Ketki. The pair I’m just finishing is, I think, the only colourway in Kaffe’s new range which is at all suitable for a man. The effect is sort of like camouflage. So it’s nice to have a woman next in the queue, and I’ll cast on a pair for her in Kaffe’s stripe-y mode and jolly colours.

We’re going to see them on Loch Fyne in the west next weekend. Rachel and her family are coming up. It’ll be fun, and I’ll need a sock to knit.

Now for a look at the rest of 2008 in view of recent events. (“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans for tomorrow.”)

Theo’s gansey: needs only another fortnight at the most, insh’Allah; it must be finished in time for the Democratic Convention in Denver in August

VK dinosaur sweater: I am fully persuaded to go ahead with that, thanks to your enthusiastic comments. The dinosaurs themselves stay the same size in all sizes, so I might as well aim for an eight-year-old, thinking of Fergus in Thessaloniki. It gets cold enough on Mt Pelion where they have a little house. I was very grateful for yarn suggestions, which I have bookmarked. And now that I’ve got almost everything photographed in Ravelry, I can browse stash without physical effort. But I don’t think there’s anything there. Must be finished by the fourth Saturday of August, Games Day.

Ketki’s Calcutta Cup sweater: must, at the very least, be started while the cup is still here in Edinburgh, and preferably started in Ought Eight itself. Ideally, finished then, too.

A swallowtail coat of a beautiful blue” (the Poet’s Coat from “Boho Baby Knits”): due late October-early November. I may swatch for that before I go on to anything else.

Princess shawl: I had hoped to do a lot more this year, and maybe even finish. That now looks unlikely, but I think I’ll put in a couple of weeks on it as soon as the gansey is on its way to Denver. I was greatly encouraged by your encouragement, Stash Haus, and I think I will incorporate the Calcutta Cup there, too. I thought of it two years ago, but then it was feared that Rachel’s daughters and prospective daughters-in-law would be put off wearing it at their weddings. So I worked for a while on a way to incorporate an elephant as a sort of nod to the cup, but couldn’t figure out a way to make one small enough, even at Princess-shawl gauge.

Now I think, what the hell. They don’t have to wear it if they don’t want to. They can knit their own Princesses if they prefer, with a commemoration of all the dozens of English Calcutta Cup victories.

(Tamar, I didn’t know the Pasold people had done any publishing. I’ll investigate.)


  1. I had the good fortune to attend Kaffe's slideshow yesterday, where he touched on his sock yarn. I was wearing a pair of the "camouflage" socks at the time - the colours are lovely, but that is the effect. I was surprised to hear him say that he cannot imagine why people would want to knit socks. Hand-knitted socks have given me great pleasure, that little touch of lovely colours in an otherwise plain outfit.

  2. We've been following the news coming out of Lhasa - added interest to think of James actually there.

  3. Anonymous2:38 PM

    I heard James on National Public Radio here in the U.S. this morning, but the phone connection cut off in the midst of the call. I couldn't really tell, but it sounded like he might still be confined to the hotel.

  4. Jean - you can listen to J*mes interview with NPR here -

    Interesting comment from Shandy - if Kaffe has that opinion about socks, why put his name on sock yarn instead of yarn for jumpers or vests?

  5. What he said was, that many people had asked if they could buy yarn with the distinctive colour shifts which are his signature. He had obviously enjoyed designing the Regia sock yarn to do just that. It may be that he is painting with the colours, rather than enjoying the process of knitting as a repetitive, rhythmic activity - of course, it can be both.

  6. Anonymous9:12 PM

    I believe that Kaffe's original attraction to knitting was for the way it can incorporate color splashes more randomly than weaving can. He wants his patterns to be seen; maybe he thinks socks aren't seen as often as sweaters.

    I don't know whether the Pasold group publish their own stuff, but I'm sure I've seen things that were presented as having been Pasold material.

  7. Anonymous1:38 AM

    Hi, Jean.... I'm a constant reader of your blog, although I don't often comment. But it was a peculiar thing: hearing James on NPR, I told my husband "That's my friend Jean's son." He wanted to know where I had met you! Trying to explain how I could feel a woman half a world away, that I had never met, was a friend and that I should be worried about her son in Tibet made me realize how odd a blog "friendship" really is!

    Barbara M. in New Jersey

  8. Anonymous1:59 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Not that I think you should re-visit the lace elephant conundrum but your comment re weddings reminded me of a Hindi wedding a friend went to where the groom arrived on an elephant and the couple departed on same said elephant! Gorgeous, especially given the wedding was in Pasadena CA!!! Have no fear that elephants are not relevant to weddings : )