Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Little to report, needless to say. Last night we watched an inspiriting propaganda film made in 1942, The Day Will Come, or some such title, about Norway, Preminger. A good deal better for knitting-to than French subtitles. I am half-way across row 39 (of the 46 rows of the 10th repeat). The only place to go is on.

I have been reflecting – this is a very obvious and banal remark – on how important it is in lace knitting to keep an eagle eye on the row below -- or the row two below, if you’re doing the kind of lace with blank rows in between. I don’t think any of us can remember which type is meant to be called Lace Knitting and which, Knitted Lace.

I have an uncomfortable feeling that I went on far too long in my lace career satisfied to live with the vague feeling that Things Are Not Right, hoping that at least it would all go right from now on. It’s very easy in most lace to see at once whether it’s right or not, and to supply an extra YO (by picking up the thread between the needles) or K2tog as necessary.

I won Vogue Knitting Bk No. 38 on eBay yesterday evening – it was cheaper than No. 53 which I had lost earlier in the day. I am hugely enjoying this new, stress-free bidding. There’s another one (of the coverless ones in my collection) coming up tomorrow. And if anyone is interested, there is an unusually rich crop of 50’s VKBs on offer at the moment.


Cynthia’s enthusiasm for Marjorie Allingham (comment, yesterday) reminds me of a space-filling thought I meant to write a couple of days ago. We recently saw some of “The Bourne Identity” on television, but didn’t persevere to the end. It had some splendid explosions and some wonderful cityscapes, but the central situation seemed more than a bit flaccid.

It was Allingham, as far as I know, who came up with that particular McGuffin, in “Traitor’s Purse” published in 1941. Her hero Mr Campion wakes up in hospital suffering from amnesia but with a grim sense that there is something terribly important he has to do. I don’t think I will spoil it for anyone still fortunate enough to have the pleasure of a first reading to look forward to, if I say that in the end, he recovers his memory and succeeds. The second McGuffin – the important thing he has to do – is equally good.

I believe contemporary reviews said, Rattling good yarn, Mrs Allingham, but the ending is a bit improbable. After the war, it turned out that the Germans had had the same idea (or maybe they read the book). They didn’t succeed with it either, frustrated, perhaps, by some unknown, unsung Campion.


  1. I really enjoyed Traitor's Purse thanks to your introduction to Allingham some time ago. I also really enjoy WWII propaganda films, I must try to track that one down.

  2. Anonymous3:08 PM

    I have read all or almost all of the Allingham books. They are great reads. I also have enjoyed the PBS shows here in the States that were on 15 years ago or so. The actor who played Campion was the same fellow who played one of the Dr. Whos and was Tristan in All Creatures Great and Small. They were humdinger shows. The man who played the faithful side-kick was also very well cast. Hester from Atlanta

  3. What a wonderful post - don't know whether you meant it to be funny but oh, Jean, I laughed my head off. "Flaccid" plot indeed, and how wonderful that it was done already in 1941. Nothing new under the sun, certainly.

    I believe "knitted lace" is the every-row business, and lace knitting the other. Eunny Jang maintains, though, in her blog's intro to lace that there is not really a historical basis for that differentiation - that it is based only on a glancing reference by Margaret Stove.

    Whoever she may be.

  4. Anonymous8:27 PM

    Sometimes when I want to confirm I have the lace knitting and knitted lace thing straight I go to Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting site and look up Pattern 9, The Rosebud Shawl. That was my first piece of hers so I know it was plain knitting every other row and she has the description there. There she says, "The Rosebud Shawl is a pretty piece of Lace Knitting, meaning that every 'other row' is plain knitting."

    I generally remember it by the noun...lace KNITTING = knitting every other row, knitted LACE = lace every row.

    Many people feel it isn't important but Margaret Stove wasn't the only one who made the distinction...

  5. Anonymous10:08 PM

    Love the Campion series and enjoy rereading them on a regular basis. It is great that more people are becoming aware of her excellent writing. I also like the distinction between "knitted lace" and "knitting lace" as there really is a difference. Given the long history of Shetland lacework, I'm inclined to go with Sharon Miller on this one. (Nothing against Ms. Jang, of course.) - Joe-in Wyoming

  6. Anonymous11:48 PM

    I remember it by calling the one "lacy knitting" and the other "knitted lace".

    The House at Hyde Park includes the Household Book of Sara Delano Roosevelt (Franklin D. R's grandmother), which has a description of Kitchener stitch as "to finish toe of stocking" near a pattern for a knitted helmet. The authors make an educated guess that the note is circa 1915, as there are no dates on the original notations. So no real addition to information there.

  7. Anonymous1:37 AM

    I haven't found the books yet but really enjoyed the films. Campion is British but my husband says his own family came from Ireland.
    --Aarlene Campion

  8. again, catching up.

    I'm always intrigued by "how" these old Vogues show up -- people cleaning out their mother's things, finds at jumble sales, or die-hard "sellers" ?