Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tomorrow is the day I switch ISPs, so it is safe to assume I won’t be here. (In fact, at the moment, I can’t connect today.) I haven’t yet received the box of kit from BT – which will include a wireless router they call a “hub” – but I am confident it will arrive. I am hopeful (but not confident) that I will be able to do the rest myself. I’ve already got the User Guide, from which I deduce that the hub will be pre-set to talk to BT. That should help.

If I fail, I’ll get a man in right away. This week is unusually fraught with event; that won’t help.

Since I can’t (yet) connect this morning, I can’t re-read yesterday’s comments, but you are right, Lisa, that there seem to be two Geoffrey Duttons, of almost identical age and not entirely dissimilar careers, a world apart. I faffed about for a while yesterday trying to see if they might not be the same man after all, but I agree there were two. In a few hundred years’ time, art historians will find it very hard to believe that there really were two French 19th century artists named, respectively, Manet and Monet.

(I’m connected! Hello, world! Perhaps for the last time.)

As for Kaffe, my belief, on not much evidence, is that he designs fabric, knitting patterns in that sense, and the knitty-gritty of transforming his ideas into garments is done by someone else. But having started to formulate that idea, I remembered the dramatic coat and the bat-winged ikat in “Glorious Knitting” – he must at least have wanted to achieve those shapes, even if someone else actually did it.

I think, in fact, that “Glorious Knitting” shows a certain amount of transitional discomfort on this point. “Knitting patterns” meant something slightly different then. People expected shapes and texture. That’s why they chose that – rather awful, to my taste – thing with a peplum for the cover of the first edition of “Glorious Knitting”. And why my sister-in-law said, when I showed her the book back when it was new, “It’s just colour”.

I don’t believe, in short, that the over-the-shoulder way of knitting was something he insisted on. It is interesting to learn from Judith’s comment that it is a 19th century technique. I did it for his Arabic patches sweater in “KF at the V&A” and didn’t much enjoy the process.

I've finished the ribbing for the right front of the Green Granite Blocks, somewhat slowed by skein- and butterfly-winding, and am now embarked on the pattern. Knitting only half-a-row is going to be fun.

Lisa, I’ve never attempted intarsia in the round. I’ve read about it. I know it can be done (although at the moment I can’t think how). In fact, in a situation like this, I don’t mind purling. The whole experience of a KF design is so different from other knitting anyway.
Helen's shawl

I took some pictures yesterday of the lace yarns I’ve rooted out of stash for Helen’s consideration:

Lorna’s Laces, “Helen’s Lace” (appropriately enough):

Cheery Tree Hill suri alpaca in the colourway “Martha’s Vineyard”. This was an extravagant purchase of mine at Stitches East in ’02. Memory had suggested that there was some possum yarn in the blend, but memory erred. I wonder if it would do for the Dickinson – observe the ball already wound in the middle of the pile:

James’ and Cathy’s Christmas present to me in ’08. It’s labelled “cashmere”, but Cathy says not:

Some purchases of my own made in Beijing on our one glorious visit, in ’05 perhaps. The colours are wonderfully Chinese-looking. I’d love to use them:


  1. I consulted the senior member of the household on the subject of Geoffrey Dutton and he says G definitely did not own a garden in Scotland - but his wife (Ninette - whom he eventually divorced) would have enjoyed one even more than he would. If you Google their names you can find pieces about both of them and Anlaby - the Dutton family property. All a bit bohemian but Geoff introduced me to some very interesting writers from time to time.

  2. I use BT and have found them extremely helpful. If things do not work you phone up and a person in India sets up your system for you very carefully, very clearly and very very helpfully is my experience. I had a problem in that my wireless would initially not work and so connected to the adsl cable the person in India guided me through changing the settings and it worked! I hope the changeover goes as smoothly for you.

  3. Welcome back to the online world!
    Let's hope it continues to work.

  4. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Jean, I am always amazed at your vast knowledge of knitting history and styles. I would read your blog just for that information, even if it weren't also filled with fascinating tidbits about people, gardening, scotland, art, family, etc. Thanks for making me a person with a more rounded sense of all the interesting things there are to learn about the world!

    Barbara M.

  5. Good luck with the change-over. I'm thankful for computer-savy sons and daughters-in-law who help me out.
    Janet, now in Seattle and that heavy computer I lugged along the way is all hooked up.

  6. Intarsia in the round is a bit of a pain. I did it once and swore I would never do it again. Once you knit your bit of intarsia and leave the colors behind, you knit back around to it. Then you flip your work around to purl the intarsia part. This involves slipping stitches twice (before you purl, and after) when you have to purl the intarsia part. As much as I prefer to knit in the round, I don't think I'll do intarsia that way in the future.