Friday, September 05, 2008

Continued good progress with the swallowtail coat.

The collar practically disappears into the bear – I could have made it bigger. And just at the moment I think I’ll carry the contrast edging around the swallowtails, instead of switching to blue.

Eventually the tips of the collar and cuffs will be adorned with small, extravagant buttons rather than safety pins – the prototype Poet’s Coat has star-shaped brass ones. I’m not going to try to fasten the front – the prototype has a zipper, at which I absolutely draw the line. If it doesn’t hang properly by itself, I can always sew it to the bear.

This leaves me, somehow rather sooner than I expected, with the Next Major WIP unplanned. It is to be Ketki’s Calcutta Cup sweater, and I have a number of general ideas, but colours haven’t been chosen (ordered?) or the final stitch pattern settled on. What if I used a non-Shetland sock yarn of some sort? More washable, less scratchy. But what?

I need a trip to K1 Yarns. Araucania?

And meanwhile, what to knit next week?

I think the answer has got to be – pick up the Princess. I stopped abruptly the day my husband went (briefly, as it proved) into hospital last November. I was too stressed to give it the attention it needed when I got home that evening, and by the time he was safely restored to me, a couple of days later, I had launched myself into Christmas knitting and never came back.

The last time I picked it up after a long hiatus, I was terrified that I would no longer be able to do it, and in fact found myself settling into the saddle at once.

I think that’s got to be it – a month or so of Princess while I think about things.


Jayne yesterday sent me a brilliant review of my mother’s book from the New England Quarterly. My mother had saved a number of reviews; the clippings live in my copy of “Dear Preceptor”. But I didn't have this one, which I will now print and add to the collection. I’d put it up on my website if I weren’t afraid that it might still be in copyright. I had wondered a bit in recent weeks whether I was making a great fuss about nothing; now I know I’m not. My mother’s book is good, and it was the first book about the Higginson-Dickenson friendship, and W*neappl* has got to be brought to acknowledge that fact – she must know it.

However laggard the post has been about delivering the new VK and my copy of “Wh*te H*at”, it can pretty well be guaranteed to come up with the Economist today. It’ll be very interesting to read their take on McKean-Palin.

I heard from the people from whom I ordered “Whit* He*t” yesterday – far from producing it in 3-5 days as promised, they said yesterday, nine days after the order was placed, that it has been dispatched and should be with me in a fortnight. I have tried to think of someone on my Christmas present list who might like it, thus justifying my purchase of another copy, which I could easily do today.

But I failed, even among the people to whom I give presents only to annoy them.


  1. Anonymous1:20 PM

    My local university library has a copy of your mother's book - one of these days I'll trek over there to borrow it.

    And just wondering if I missed something: is there a particular reason you're spelling McCain as McKean? Or is it your (presumably Scots) spell-checker?

  2. Anonymous5:40 PM

    Jean, I just did a quick, basic search in the MLA International Bibliography for "Dickinson" and "Higginson" together as subjects. I got 52 hits (articles and book chapters, not monographs), including this one, which intrigues me because of the author's name--could it be a misprinting of your mother's name?

    Wells, Mary Ann. "The Soul's Society: Emily Dickinson and Colonel Higginson." In Rhoda B. Nathan, ed., Nineteenth Century Women Writers of the English-Speaking World. Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Press, 1986.

    I hope that, if this article excerpts or leans heavily upon your mother's work, it is something your family knows about. Otherwise, I hope it's just an odd coincidence that the names and subjects are so close. Unfortunately, our library does not own a copy of the Greenwood Press book.

  3. I'd like to see a progress shot on the Princess, if you have time...I've just finished the Cap Shawl from Victorian Lace Today, and it felt so good to be done...not as intricate as the Princess, of course. It feels so good to be done.

  4. "But I failed, even among the people to whom I give presents only to annoy them."

    Now this cracked me up. I've never done this, though I've certainly considered it. Particularly with my in-laws.

  5. Jean,

    Doe's a man's tailcoat for white tie have swallowtails as well? Is that a Brit vernacular that I missed out on as an American? The bear is twee and dear. The notion of you knitting a bear surprized my notions of you as a serious "no nonsense" knitter. How fun.

  6. Hi Jean

    The little bear coat is great! Takes me back a few years when my two were small enough to enjoy knitted toys and dolls clothes.

    Cheers from a chilly downunder

    Knit on >^..^<