Monday, July 18, 2011

St Swithin's Day came and went last Friday without my noticing. It was hot and sunny all day, as I remember. The weather has deteriorated markedly since, and remains "unsettled". I will have to add St Swithin to Sturtevant and the Oxford Latin Dictionary in my little list of the unreliable.

Work continues on the Mourning Shawl.

To recapitulate: this is “Granny Cheyne’s Shetland Shawl” from Margaret Stove’s new book, “Wrapped in Lace”. It is based on an antique shawl which was brought to her to be restored. The original was knitted by a Mrs Cheyne (no further name) who arrived in New Zealand from Shetland in 1874. The yarn was handspun from a New Zealand fleece.

I am knitting it for our niece, daughter of my husband’s sister who died in March. The niece’s initials, and her mother’s, and “2011” will be knit into the centre with the Rorem alphabet.

The shawl is knit in the traditional Shetland way: edging, four borders, central square. I am knitting the borders all at once in garter stitch, using Fleegle’s trick. I am currently a bit more than half-way through that part – row 59 of 102. It seems painfully, agonizingly slow after a few weeks out in the real world.

The lace, at the moment, is terribly easy, making it harder to concentrate.

I am beginning to fret about the centre. The whole idea of knitting the borders in one is to knit the centre back and forth taking in a stitch at the end of each row, leaving only one edge to be Kitchener’d at the end.

The centre is knitted on 120 stitches, and is itself 190 rows long. That’s not going to work. Can I add a whole extra 50 rows to the centre, so as to use up 120 stitches on each side? And what happens to the centre pattern if I do? It is fairly complex and needs to come out right top and bottom.

This needs some thought.

Which will of course involve Sharon Miller’s books, which reminds me that she announced a few weeks ago that they were closing the website and retiring because of problems with Mike’s health. Shock! Horror! For the moment they have decided to continue after all. Apart from worrying about the Millers, I worried about stash reduction. The whole idea of cutting back is that the world is full of wonderful yarns and I can order them from anywhere any time.

But the Heirloom Knitting yarns are unique. Perhaps I should lay in a stock of gossamer cashmere.


I saw Mr Hussain yesterday, who says that Good King Henry leaves are indeed bathua. His English is excellent but not native – I need to have a supplementary word with his wife who is Edinburgh born and bred. But I feel we’re getting somewhere.

1 comment:

  1. It would be a very sorry state of affairs if the Millers did have to give up. They were so wonderfully prompt when I dealt with them and very courteous. Sharon has done amazing things for Shetland lace work. Rumour had it that she was intending to produce a second volume for Shetland knitting but I imagine, even if true, that is also on hold.