Thursday, November 18, 2010

Another new follower! I am sort of ashamed of myself for having let you know how much I treasure them -- but enormously grateful for the recent influx.

No more news. I’ll phone our niece this morning. She has a part-time job – not through choice; these are hard times – which means she works Monday-Wednesday. I think, despite the loss involved of both income and status, she is not sorry to have the extra free time. Certainly not now that she has been catapulted into the eye of the storm.


I have never tried day-and-day-about before. It’s interesting. One begins each morning longing to carry on from the night before.

I finished the interminable k1b, p1 rib for the wurm-ified hat, did the increase round from 132 to 192 stitches – my arithmetic worked, always gratifying – and the first purl round, the beginning of the Wurm pattern.

To my surprise, neither the Sock Yarn Slouch Hat pattern, which I am essentially using, nor the Wurm itself, gives a measurement from cast-on edge to crown. The slouch hat says to knit 55 rounds. (I must have done exactly that, last Christmas – I am nothing if not a blind follower.) But no gauge is given. I would guess 10 rounds to the inch, but it’s a guess.

The Wurm gives a gauge, but it’s in st st and using a heavier yarn. For the body of the hat, she gives the pattern – purl 5 rounds, knit 4 – and then says “repeat 10 times (or after you reached length)”.

Wurmification will pull the work up, garter-fashion, so "55 rounds" may not be an accurate guide. We'll have to eyeball it -- I’m not seriously worried. I’ll knit happily on, and keep you posted. The decreasing will involve another decision – the Wurm does them fast, in a knit section. The Slouch Hat is more leisurely.

Wider World

I belong to the HistoricKnit group on Yahoo, waiting for news of the origins of the term “Kitchener stitch”. I don’t, otherwise, pay much attention, but I learned this week that “Sandy Black, a professor of fashion and textile design and technology at the London College of Fashion, has completed the manuscript for a new book on the knitting collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum.”

The link is to something called the Fashion Encyclopedia. I was amused to find that “Sandy Black helped lead the knitwear revolution of the 1970s. Out went the cozy image of old ladies making socks around the fire, in came fashion knitwear, and a craft was turned into an art.” It's my favourite knitting cliche -- out go grannies, in comes fashion. Examples can be found through the ages. I’m not at all sure that the very first VKB doesn’t begin on a similar note – I’ll look it up for you, and report tomorrow.

Whatever -- her book on the V&A collection is eagerly awaited.


  1. I expect - and likely others have said the same - that the "not your gran's knitting" trope is perpetuated in every generation by people who feel they need to justify their knitting to themselves as much as to others.

    Of course, it's also possible that it's just an outgrowth of each era's preference for its own sense of fashion. Everything that came before is for "grannies", and therefore couldn't possibly be "fashion".

  2. I don't remember Sandy Black at all from the 70's and I was part of that "knitting revival" wavefront, given that I started knitting seriously in about 1973 and was pretty closely invoved with the evolution of my local Old Lady yarn shop into Trendy Knitting Boutique. (Banks of Beaufort was one of the poshest yarn shops in Edinburgh in the late 70's.) I recognise a couple of Prof Blacks patterns now I've Googled for them, but she was hardly a Great Guru name like Kaffe Fassett.

  3. Anonymous12:10 PM

    Sandy Black did some design work for Rowan, very early on. I think she featured in both Magazines 1 & 2 - back in the 'good old days'!!

    Re the slouch hat. When I made it, I cast on 128 sts, so that I could then increase every 2 sts to end up with the required 192 sts - I couldn't understand why Sandra Bichlmayer didn't do this in the first place, it kinda makes sense? I think the tension of most sock yarns is 42 rows to 10cm, so the 5/4 ridge pattern will be more like 50 rows to 10cm - maybe try 72 rounds and see if it looks right? (Although I notice that the decreases on Wurm are much more rapid than on the slouch hat, thus making it more boxy and wormlike - maybe go for a straight 80 rounds and shorten the row numbers between decs?)

  4. Ruth in Ottawa2:10 PM

    Hello, Jean - I seldom leave comments on blogs but I have to say how much I am enjoying yours, having found it recently. It is the first thing I read when I turn on the computer in the morning (well, the second thing actually, after the weather forecast - we Canadians are obsessed by weather!). My very best wishes for your SIL's recovery. BTW, I agree with Mel about the generational aspect of fashion. Personally I tend to ignore trends and knit what suits me, regardless of what others might think!

  5. I love see new followers and comments too. It's cheery way to start the day.

    Hope your SIL continues to do better.

    Where would the world be without the grannies?

  6. Ah, I have her first book somewhere - think it is called The Knitwear Revolution or somesuch.