Saturday, September 10, 2011

Twelve rows to go. But today’s excitement is that I am going for a walk with our niece, so there will be no opportunity to nip in and knock off a row or two between domestic chores. Indeed, since she is the Intended Recipient, I’ll have to bundle the whole operation out of sight before she comes – we’re starting from here and planning to walk along the water of Leith to the Galleries of Modern Art where we will have something nice to eat and perhaps cruise the gift shop before walking back.

Our route from here to the nearest Water-of-Leith access point takes us past the little post office to which my Package should have been delivered by now. We’ll stop by and see if it’s there. If it is, I doubt if I will be able to resist carrying it about all day. The Post Office will be shut when we get back in the afternoon. The premises are also a shop, and they’re nice people – maybe they could put it under the counter for me. More likely, I won’t be able to part with it.

On sober reflection, I think a swatch is the way to go. I did one for the Grandson Sweater, I seem to remember, and it’s one of my more successful recent efforts.

The trouble with a sleeve, if knit bottom-up, is that the ribbing pulls the work in and you’d have to knit quite a lot of sleeve before getting an accurate reading on the gauge. The same trouble applies to a “swatch cap” – so you have to cast on a circle and knit for a while without ribbing. It could be turned into a cap eventually, by picking up stitches and knitting the ribbing downwards. But you can’t do that right away, because the swatch might need to be ripped to supply yarn for the end of the sweater. I don’t know what happened in the end to the Grandson circlet. I suppose it must be in the stash cupboard somewhere.

(Round-and-round gauge is slightly different from back-and-forth – hence these stratagems.)

It would be interesting to discuss these problems with Meg. I do envy your great good fortune in having been to Knit Camp, stash haus.

Maybe she knows her yarns well enough that gauge can be largely assumed. That’s how peasant knitters must have operated – you spend your life knitting Fair Isle or Aran, you get to know your gauge and can indulge in flights of design without anxiety.

Contract knitting

“Inverallan” – see yesterday – is still in business, but only just. According to a supplier of their sweaters, The Mandon Store, location unknown, prose uncorrected:

”Inverallan is one of the last remaining few original hand knit companies left in the Aran district of Scotland. originally set up by a consortium of Fisherman's wives who made purely for there husbands. the brand has continued in its cottage industry fashion, hence the knitters signature on each garment. the company has however called it a day so this may be the last chance to ever own an piece of history.”

The sweaters retail for £200, so the knitter gets 10% if things haven’t changed since 2003. I have a couple more observations to make on the subject, but right now I’d better get on with sourcing some sandwiches for my husband’s lunch.


  1. I think you are wise to do a gauge swatch. And I think you are right about Meg - she has knit with the same yarns for years, so knows exactly how her work knits up. If you complete the hat it could be a Christmas gift for someone on your list.

    I can just picture you walking around today with the parcel tucked under your arm. How could any knitter walk away and leave such a tempting package behind?

  2. Anonymous3:42 PM

    My knit in the round tension and my back and forth are really different. However, I find that my tension on 24 stitches knit in the round is exactly the same as 60, 90,120 knit in the round. Therefore, I cast on 24 stitches and put 8 on each of 3 dpn's and knit for an inch or two. It doesn't take much time and is always accurate - FOR ME. I do know that, as knitters, we are all different - but it works for me.
    Ron in Mexico

  3. Anonymous5:53 PM

    I was very interested about the Inverallan story yesterday. I wonder if that is why many of the current initiatives to encourage home handknitters to supply retail are in the form of collectives - like the one for the Moray Firth ganseys. I'm not sure it would ever be commercially successful to apply minimum wage rules to knitting - perhaps only small accessories in very high-end markets.

  4. Kristieinbc has it right. Meg uses the yarns available at Schoolhouse Press. I remember her saying that the unspun icelandic is her favorite to work with and she uses it most.

    As a beginning (very tight) knitter, I remember the absolute frustration I had when working with the unspun. After more experience I've made a shawl out of the unspun and had very little difficulty with it pulling apart continuously like I had in my first attempt.