Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day Three

Another Miscellany

Dear Kate, yes, yes, yes I’d like those recipes. I couldn’t figure out a way to email you yesterday. And LaurieG, that’s a good idea about cooked salad dressing – it’ll surely be in Joy of Cooking – on a potato salad. It would be a pity anyway not to have a potato salad, with all those Pink Fir Apples waiting to be used.

The weather is more abominable than ever this morning.

Yesterday’s art was tapestry at the Dovecot Studio. I worry a bit about tapestry, because the artist’s mind and hand are not involved in the actual creation of the object; the weavers do that. I think you can tell – you can feel -- the difference between a knitting designer who does it all on paper and computer and then farms it out to be knit, and one who knits. Of course they all have to farm it out to some extent (except perhaps Meg), because of the constraints of time, but some knit more than others.

And at least a knitwear designer can knit, whereas an artist who designs a tapestry can’t usually weave at all.

Anyway, it was an interesting exhibition and Edinburgh continues to pullulate with awfulness. When I was here for a week of Festival in 1953 I had a delicious feeling as I walked along Princes Street that the next person I passed was going to be someone I knew. I don’t think I’d feel that now, even if I were 20 again.

My sister says that our mother’s book – and an article by her – are listed in Wineapple’s bibliography, but otherwise not mentioned. Waterstone’s told me that it hasn’t been published here yet, despite being listed for August ’08. I suppose the claim would be that our mother’s book is a biography of Higginson – the first scholarly one, in fact – with an emphasis on his friendship with Dickenson, whereas Wineapple’s is a book about the friendship with some biography thrown in. Is that enough of a distinction?

I must now wait, I think, until I can read Wineapple and compare her conclusions about the friendship with our mother’s.

I got started swatching linen stitch, and the result is very pleasing. It’s a stitch which is difficult because it is so simple – just as well to practice. My first effort is a bit too tight, I think. I’ll try again on larger needles. I had a moment of panic yesterday when I couldn’t find “Boho Baby Knits” – it was on the shelf I thought it was on, but a bit further along – and so looked up “linen stitch” in Walker and it wasn’t there. She must call it something else.

We’re going back to Strathardle today, insh’Allah, for the final push. (I do have a rickety old computer there, so I’ll be able to receive the recipes, Kate, and I’ll report briefly on the results of the Games. Blogging should resume next week.) (I need a new Various Grandchildren picture for my sidebar.)


  1. isn't linen stitch and sand stitch the same???? i don't know. i get confused about all the english and american terms and things that are the same and are not the same as in worsted and worsted.

  2. Dear Jean -- you continue to keep us grounded (no pun intended) and informed with your blog, life and knitting, and some days like today I have to "go back" and read the whole entry because you pack so much into it!

    But a quick salad dressing for potatoes -- very European: proportions
    2 to 1 on the
    1 tablespoon American white vinegar
    2 tablespoons corn oil
    (I usually put chopped up green onions and some dill in with the cooked/cooled/cut up potatoes) ... and as usual, the right amount of salt to taste. Easy, no fuss, and it can sit at room temp and no one has to worry about getting sick.

  3. Jean, I've emailed the recipes to you - I hope that you get/read before you go as I think you may need to do some shopping in Edinburg before you head off to TCOTU. Good luck with all your plans for the Event; I hope the accommodations all work out. Loking forward to the photographic evidence of the Clan Miles' participation.

    Yes and no regarding weaver's input in the tapestry. I saw the tapestry for the new Catholic Cathedral in Los Angeles, Our Lady of the Angels, and I don't think it would have been entirely the artist's vision - the colours are too cleverly woven in. Definitely the art of the weaver coming to the fore, I believe.

  4. I haven't got Walker in front of me, but I think she calls it woven stitch or something like that. I always have to go up a few sizes to keep it from being too tight. When I do potato salad that will sit around, I use a lemony vinagrette, dress the potatoes while still warm, then save a bit to add after they cool. Looking forward to news of the games.

  5. Interesting take on the tapestry weaving. I never thought about artists commissioning weavers to do their works since I do my own tapestry weaving, among other forms of weaving, too (and knitting and spinning and gee, is there fibre involved in it?). And the tapestry weavers locally who have influenced me often do their cartoons from photos they've taken locally. So I never stopped to think an artist might give the weaver the cartoon and have them weave it. That type of collaboration would involve the trust relationship between two individuals producing their child between them-the artist trusting the weaver to keep true to their vision and the weaver being capable and willing to conform to the artist's dream. Much harder than being a test knitter, I'd think, for me!

  6. Barbara Walker calls linen stitch "fabric stitch". I don't remember which of the first 2 treasuries it's in.

  7. Anonymous9:31 PM

    I agree - there's a difference between paper designing and knitting the design. I once designed an insanely complex mostly-intarsia cardigan on graph paper. I made dozens of changes as I knitted it, some of them as subtle as starting a motif on a lower row to make the color changes work better.

  8. Jean
    There was a long book review in the Sunday Times Book Review section, online, about the Wineapple book. The article was called 'Emily's Tryst'.