Friday, October 23, 2009

I have now knit half of the increase-mitre of the ASJ, in a sense. In the sense that half of the stitches are back on the needle, and therefore half of the rows knit. But I’m not halfway through the knitting, because of the way the rows steadily increase. It’s worse than the Princess centre, because we’ve got two inverse triangles here, one for each mitre, and we’re increasing at the rate of four stitches every other row.

But I have allowed myself to nudge the Progress Bar forward, nonetheless.

I’m currently doing a stripe called Irving Park, one of two new colours I got the other day along with the additional Panopticon yarn. The names of the Lorna’s Laces colours are not the least of the joy of knitting with it. My other new colour is called Pilsen. Something to do with beer? Relevance is often far to seek, but the names remain fun. Both Irving Park and Pilsen are basically red.

I’ve probably got enough yarn now to knit two or three sock-yarn ASJ’s. Better than worrying.

My initial brown stripe, vaguely meant as an edge, was a mistake, as I vaguely thought at the time, because the cast-on edge isn’t an edge in the finished garment. Where this is going to matter is on the sleeves, where stitches must be picked up and knit downwards. The broader stripe in mid-sleeve will make the extension look dreadfully like an afterthought.

Yesterday, I thought of the (really pretty obvious) solution, on the good old principle: If you can’t conceal it, make a feature of it. All the brown stripes on the lower sleeves will be broader than usual.

I first met the Surprise Jackets in an article in the Sunday Times many years ago. It was the first I had heard of EZ. You could send in a stamped, addressed envelope for the BSJ and ASJ patterns. I did, but only (alas! alas!) for the baby pattern, and it came back on a mimeographed sheet. Very second millennium.

The Sunday Times version of the BSJ is double-breasted. I haven’t seen that anywhere else. It’s nice and cosy for babies, and I always knit it that way, but laid flat and buttoned, the side edges are pulled slightly forward which mars the perfection of the geometry. I wonder now if the Sunday Times ASJ was in any way changed from EZ’s original?

I have annotated that mimeographed sheet, now reduced to near-tatters, with the names of the many babies for whom I have knit the pattern through the years. The first is “Bernadette Ogden” – Hellie’s code-name in the womb, and Hellie will be 23 next month.. The ASJ apparently first saw the light of day in ’81, according to Meg’s note in The Opinionated Knitter. Five years previously, to spare you the arithmetic. The BSJ is older.


I bit the bullet the other evening, Wednesday to be precise, and emailed that shop in Sweden about buying Rauma Finullgarn for the Grandson Sweater. As yet, no reply. Maybe the woman who knows English only comes in on Tuesdays, but that seems unlikely.

The Faculty Meeting Knitter is knitting a wonderful moebius cowl.

Judith, I didn’t know Franklin was coming back to London, and I’ll miss him again – I have a Retinal Vein Occlusion appt at the eye hospital on November 11. It’s getting a bit like Evangeline. But we’ll meet in Stirling next August, insh’Allah.


  1. As you may know, many of the Lorna's Laces names are places, neighbourhoods, or streets here in Chicago. Sometimes the color references are still obscure, even though I know the area that they are named for. Pilsen is an area with a high Latin-American and Mexican population… does the yarn reflect those cultures?

  2. I have an ancient baby surprise one pager, ordered from EZ back in the late 70's early 80's - it is not double breasted, though, that sounds like a cute variation. Any photos of those babies in the double breasted version?

  3. As Matthew noted, both Pilsen and Irving Park are areas of Chicago. Pilsen is a heavily Latino area now, though it was originally settled by eastern European immigrants (and the name is after a town in the Czech Republic) and has loads of decorative murals and colorful buildings. I always liked that colorway. Irving Park is an area on the north side, not too far from where Lorna's is. It's pretty but I'm not sure what the shades of red have to do with it, though when I think of Irving Park I think of old brick buildings and trees. I'm still holding out for a Lorna's colorway for my neighborhood, though right now it would be a pretty uniform grey as it's another foggy, rainy day and you can't see much at all out there!

  4. Gerri in St Paul3:32 PM

    I went to comments to explain Pilsen but I see that has been nicely taken care of. Sabrina, I know what you mean about wanting your neighborhood's color. I have two skeins of "Devon" for the avenue, sitting in my stash.

  5. I still have those EZ patterns from the eighties. I knit several baby versions and an adult one for myself (free pattern available at the same time) in extra chunky leftovers in my stash. I gave it to the Oxfam shop only last year as I find down here in Sussex winters are mostly not cold enough for very thick jumpers. It too was double breasted and made me look a bit like the Michelin Man.

  6. =Tamar4:07 AM

    I was thinking of Pilsener beer, which I encountered in 1968 as exported from then-Czechoslovakia.
    The Chicago neighbourhood makes more sense.