Monday, December 15, 2008

Home again, successfully. Yesterday was devoted to convalescence. Today the Christmas scramble begins anew, and rather pleasantly so, for Helen Chronic-Knitting-Syndrome and I are going to have our own little Christmas party at a local estaminet.

I had my recent eBay purchase delivered to her (the bound volume of early Vogue Knitting Books), so I should get that today. The seller sounded a bit scatter-brained, and December is tough for everybody, so I didn’t want to ask her to wait a week to post it. And I wanted even less to have it fester for a week in the Sorting Office.

Helen emailed me with details while we were in London. There is no doubt at all that I’ve got a bound volume of issues Two through Twelve, Spring 1933 through spring 1938. Covers and advertising pages are missing. That’s sad. But for £13.50 it’s an astonishing bargain. In November of last year, numbers One, Two and Three, bound together, fetched £112.

[The model Jean Shrimpton – elderly British readers will recognise the name – got her big break in the Vogue Knitting Book. It was a three or four page colour spread advertising, I think, Bernat Klein yarns, just at the time when colour printing and hand-painted yarns were simultaneously taking off. Shrimpton went on to model for the VKB itself, and eventually to appear on its cover, and indeed to pop up everywhere for a few years. I mention this as an illustration of why it’s sad to strip a magazine of cover and ads.]

So, as I’ve said before, I’ll go on looking for issues 6, 7 and 8 in proper, separate form. But this means that in a sense, at least, I’ve got them all except for Spring, 1940.

While we were away, my Orenburg sampler from Heirloom Knitting turned up. I long to drop everything and try it. “Everything” means Christmas knitting, which I annually swear not to get involved in; and the need to knit a Christmas tree ornament. I’m well on target, but they must be done.

And while visiting Heirloom Knitting just now for the sake of that link, I was led on to Renaissance Dyeing. Oh, for another lifetime!


I think the most memorable and exhilarating thing we saw in London last week was the exhibition of Richard Serra’s huge welded steel sculptures at the Gargosian Gallery near King’s Cross. But the high point of the week for me was this. It’s in the textbooks, and I have long loved it, but never expected to see it face to face. It lives in Urbino, where it belongs. It’s currently in the Renaissance Portrait show at the National Gallery. Unfortunately my husband’s stamina, usually invincible, gave out that afternoon, and I wasn’t able to spend the time I would have liked with it.


  1. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Your painting's colors would make a lovely sweater. The tracery in the top left corner would even make an interesting motif, repeated in a line. Many lifetimes would suffice for me. I've kept Christmas knitting to a minimum this year, only to replace it with other time intense handmade presents. Ah well.

  2. Anonymous3:12 PM

    Oh I wish I had not followed the link to Renaissance Dyers.
    I really want the Thanksgiving Shawl in madder.

  3. off to check your links -- and of course saw Gossamer yarn on Heirloom knitting and what to try it on something SMALLER than a whole Orenburg shawl LOL, so I hope they post to the US.

    oh, and then your next link .... good thing I am leaving the mountains this am (with 22+ inches of snow) and can't linger with my ccard .....

  4. Renaissance Dyeing - she had a design contest this past year, connected through Ravelry. I planned an entry but too many other things got in the way.

    My favourite are the woads.

  5. Anonymous6:44 PM

    Glorious Urbino - makes me think of Florence, only place I've seen for-real Urbinos. Great bit of trivia about Jean Shrimpton; I hadn't heard of the VKB connection. She was truly lovely, and others who were young in the 70s may remember what a couple she & Terence Stamp made. Off now to look at Renaissance Dyers...
    - Beth

  6. Thanks for the information about the reprinting of Shetland Lace by Gladys Amedro.
    My copy arrived from Amazon UK today. It is an excellent quality book. I have never seen the book before but have long coveted it and the £22 for a brand new copy seems good value. The new book is well presented, lots of colour pictures of the projects, which seem new, plus black and white details of stitch close ups. It looks like all the best quality knitting books and has a handy abbreviations list on the back cover flap.
    All in all an excellent reprint.

  7. Jean, you don't have to be elderly and British to remember Jean Shrimpton. At least, I think I'm not elderly, though come to think of it... : 0

    In Toronto, as kids in the mid 1960's, we used to cut pictures of Jean Shrimpton, Penelope Tree and others out of the magazines and paste them into collages.

  8. Anonymous1:51 AM

    Jean Shrimpton, so beautiful, I wanted to look just like her. I saw her first in the Yardley ads - wore Yardley lavender much of my life. Thanks for reminding me!