Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ah – the secret is to turn Neil Macgregor on as soon as I’ve booted the computer, and let him talk while I read emails and look at the Lolcats and warm up the brain cells with a jigsaw puzzle. That way he's finished before I’m ready to start writing.

He was talking about a stone chopping tool in the one I listened to this morning, the oldest man-made object. And knitting could be said to feature, obliquely, when he said that it is a human characteristic to make things more complicated than they strictly need to be. (A simple woollen tube, with tubular arms attached, would keep Joe warm. The Grandson Sweater doesn’t really need patterns.) The theme of the whole series is going to be that we define ourselves as human by making things, and coming to depend on the things we make.

He said that the best thing about being Director of the British Museum is that every so often he gets to hold something from the collection in his hands. It reminded me of a passage in Diana Cooper’s “The Light of Common Day”, the middle volume of her autobiography: “He suggested on Sunday that we should all go over to Windsor Castle and see the library there. ‘No one ever sees it…It’s a bit off the beaten track. There’s an awfully good fellow there called Mr. Morshead. He’s most awfully nice. He told me the other day to go over any time I like.’”

The speaker was Edward VIII, the King of England.

Anyway, knitting

I am within a scant half-inch of the neck shaping. Today should be the day.

The girth looks less alarming now that it's also got length. The bottom edge is still curling.

I’ve been studying Slicer-Smith as much as possible, in the intervals when the computer is being particularly slow. I think I’m beginning to get the idea of the Harlequin Coat. As well as wanting a day off to start that hat, I want another one to knit a gauge-square in Koigu.

I haven’t figured out yet how to alter the size. The schematics seem to show three sizes, so there must be a way. The issue there is, who to knit it for? Unless I am going to enter my Edith Sitwell phase, it will be far too dramatic for me and anyway I don’t lead that sort of life. Cathy is a possible choice, distinctly stylish, and the one among daughters and daughters-in-law who probably moves in society the most. Cathy is tiny. Greek Helen is another possibility, but she’s in line for a shawl.

The hat: Tamar, I’m going to knit it, as I did Lizzie’s, with two strands of sock-weight-wool held together. That produces a very firm, cosy fabric and I think obviates the need to line it completely.


  1. Is the ribbing on the seater 2x2? I think that tends to curl up more than 1x1. It will probably sort itself out in wear, but I can see how it must annoy you.

    I wonder if a few rows of reverse stocking stitch just after the rib would make a difference, since something about the way the stitches lie make it want to curl away from the purl bumps. If you couldn't face the purl, you could always turn the knitting and knit in the opposite direction for the rows it would take.

    Which is all very well, but you are hardly going back to start this one again!

  2. I have the skirt section of the Harlequin Coat finished. The skirt is the same for the medium and large sizes. The skirt is knit first from the waist down then knit from the waist up. I don't have the book with me but as I remember the gauge square is knitted on the same size needles as the squares around the bustline of the sweater. That is where the size is determined.
    This is probably as clear as mud but when you start just do the directions step by step and all will become clear.

  3. I think you'll find that Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There hasn't been a King of England since 1707. But of course you know that.