Monday, September 08, 2008

Sorry about that – I was ill. I think it was the sort of sub-flu that afflicts people who have had their annual injection. A day of weakness and misery and low fever – no food, let alone knitting. Then it passed.

So the edging of the swallowtail coat isn’t finished, but should be today. It’s pretty boring.

And as for the next project, I am grateful for help with the swatch-cap idea. I am much taken with Tamar’s and Donice’s suggestions of knitting the swatch as an un-edged tube and then (when gauge has been determined) picking up stitches and knitting either ribbing or a smooth bit to be folded inside as a lining. (That was Donice. I’m not sure I know what a Monmouth Cap is, and I will look it up.)

I used to live in Monmouth County, NJ.

Meg’s idea is indeed brilliant, Elizabeth – getting the effect of circular knitting, as far as gauge is concerned, by sliding the stitches back to the other end of the needle and leaving a generous loop of yarn behind. But I like the idea of having an actual cap at the end.

And I do agree, Becky, that the provisional cast-on is enormously useful. My soul was seared by my first attempt at it – I can’t even remember now what I was knitting, but I tried to do it with a crochet chain -- success depends entirely on picking up stitches correctly from the chain. I failed, and spent agonizing hours snipping the contrast yarn and picking little bits of it out of the stitches I wanted.

I have done provisional casting on successfully since. I couldn’t do it without looking at my books, but I know where to look. There’s the one with the two yarns cleverly woven through one’s left hand, where one casts on with an over-and-under motion, very satisfying when you get going. And the one where you actually crochet the stitches on, easy and safe. I am sure the crochet chain is the most satisfactory and satisfying of all, but that will have to wait until someone can actually teach me.


I tend to measure large sums of money these days by how many Titians you could buy. The bail-out of Fannie and Freddy would get you the man’s whole oeuvre, and then some.

I’m awfully pleased about the tennis, whatever happens today. I thought watching Wimbledon that Andy Murray would never get quite to the top – too scrawny. Looks like maybe I was wrong. I feel bonded to him because the day of my first cataract operation was the day of his third-round (?) match in his first Wimbledon. Four years ago? I was interested only in getting the job done and getting back to my bed to listen to the match (I was blind, and couldn’t see it). He won the first two sets and lost the next three.

For Shan: when our children were small, it was my husband who read to them at bedtime. Helen’s first coherent sentence was, “read-a mouse-y”, meaning, “Please read The Tale of Miss Moppet”.


  1. Anonymous11:41 PM

    Hi, Jean, I know what you mean about the flu shot, makes one hope there really will be a bug avoided for it to be worthwhile.

    If you do the crochet cast-on like the books tell you, by crocheting a chain and then picking up the back loops, you either lose track of back versus other loops, or can't get the knitting needle into the loops as the tension tightens up progressively (fo me, at least!) I used to do it all at once, juggling two types of string and two types of tools, but I picked up a better dodge recently.

    Try, if this makes any sense, crocheting the chain over the knitting needle by wrapping the thread around the knitting needle before hooking and pulling each loop through. Then, when you have the right number of loops around the needle, knit them off in your 'good' yarn.

    Hope that helps!

  2. Anonymous3:25 AM

    I used to live in Mercer County, NJ, but not when you were there.

    Rutt mentions the Monmouth cap but the standard description, that the inner brim is folded up inside, is wrong. A knitter on HistoricKnit got permission to hold it and examine it closely and she says that stitches were picked up about twelve rows up from the edge, on the inside, and knitted down, and then a three-needle bind-off was done, connecting with the original cast-on at the lower edge. That gives the edge a chained look and leaves you with a tail to make the little loop. Nobody knows what the loop is for. Maybe to hold the leek that Shakespeare mentioned?

  3. Jean,
    Where in Monmouth County did you live? And when? I live just north of there in East Brunswick. After reading your blog for ages, I can't decide if you are a Scot who lived in the US, or a Yankee that moved to Scotland.
    Glad you are feeling beter. I can't wait to see the finished coat on the bear. I might just have to work on one for my Grandson.


  4. Stitch Diva has a tutorial on the crochet cast on over the needle. Purl the first row, then turn it around to start doing your rounds so that it unzips properly.