Thursday, April 28, 2011

Off to Strathardle. Back here probably on Wednesday. I could do with another couple of days for recuperation and ironing, but we have engagements in Edinburgh next week, including the exercising of my husband’s franchise. If we don’t go to Perthshire now, it will be more than a week before I can get the seeds in. It means we’ll miss The Wedding, as we don’t have television there – but some things are more important than others, and broad beans come into the former category.

In fact, I have an old laptop computer there, of glacial slowness. That’s the one I’m thinking of replacing with something new and wonderful, now that I know our rustic broadband access is not password-protected. I ought to be able to coax it to show me the dress, at least. And I’ll need to have it fired up on Sunday evening – KnitNation is going live! You mustn’t use that link until 8:10 pm BST that evening, by which time I should have secured my place in Franklin’s classes.

I spent a little time yesterday designing (grand word) my Aran sweater for the Games. My idea is to use Starmore’s Killeany pattern (“Aran Knitting”) in the 7-8 year old size for the general idea, with the Celtic pattern from St. Brigid, same book, as the central pattern flanked by EZ’s Sheepfold and Ribbon Cable from the Aran pattern in “The Opinionated Knitter”. We’ll worry about sleeves when we get there.

I’m puzzled about size. Starmore uses 106 stitches for a front or back in that size, using her Bainin Aran wool (which I will use) on 5mm needles. Gauge is 19 sts to 10cm measured over “sand stitch” and results in a 27”-28” sweater, she says. EZ uses 108 stitches in her 2-ply Sheepswool on “No. 5” needles with a gauge of 5 stitches to the inch measured over st st to get a 42” sweater.

Do I foresee a swatch? Size doesn’t matter a bit, it’ll fit somebody, but I’m curious. And, of course, a child's-sweater amount of yarn will not be enough for a 42-incher. My design as constituted at the moment has 109 stitches.

The next question will concern circularity. Do I dare steek-and-cut, EZ-fashion, with such relatively heavy wool? Why doesn’t Starmore do it that way? Now that I’ve written my size question out, above, it sounds as if EZ’s wool must be even heavier than Starmore’s, an argument for going ahead with steeking. I’ll start off in the round and see what I think.

Try it and you may, I say.

As for colour, Starmore’s Bainin yarns are named after mountains and I’ll have to have Schiehallion, a dark green, whether I like it or not. It’s a relatively local mountain when you’re in Strathardle, and connected (in some way I have never entirely grasped, no doubt because of not paying attention) with my husband’s family, the Robertsons – his mother’s maiden name.

I’ve reached row 34 of the Mourning Shawl border, and discover a major mistake in row 33. I should have done a k2tog,YO,YO, k2tog in the middle of each pattern repeat, and I didn’t. I’m putting them in now in row 34 and I don’t think it will make any difference at all to the overall effect. But this may well be a sign that it is time to lay it aside and knit an Aran sweater for the Games.


Thanks, Theo, for the offer to convert docx’s. I’ll take you up on that the next time I get one.

Jeanfromcornwall and Kristieinbc, thank you for the kind words about Sam the Ram. He is good. He lives on the shores of Loch Fyne now. I saw him last weekend, and was rather impressed myself.

Stash haus, I had already read your blog post about the memorial service for your father-in-law, who donated his body to science. It was well worth reading again.


  1. Steek without fear, say I, because it's only fear that keeps people from doing it in the first place.

  2. I have steeked several heavier Aran sweaters. Here's a link to a photo of one of them, you can at least get an idea of the heaviness of the yarn. I think it was from Schoolhouse, the 3 ply sheepswool.

  3. Here's hoping your class registration went as planned!

  4. Anonymous11:01 AM


    I am a Canadian reader who is curious about "exercise my husband's franchise". I understand most of your terms, but that one baffled me. Would you enlighten me? Thanks very much. Love the tales of your farflung family and of your knitting projects.