Sunday, November 06, 2011

Mary, thank you tremendously for the offer of “Knitting on the Axis”. I misunderstood your first comment, as you suspected, and was going to say, Thanks, but I’ll take your word for it. But – second comment – if you really don’t want the book, I’d be very happy to have it. Write to me at the address in the sidebar and we’ll work out the postage.


I am 11"  into the sleeve of the small Brownstone, with a target of 16".  I may shorten it a bit – the last thing a boy wants is sleeves dragging in his soup.

Last night I wound the first skein of the three from Happy Knits. As I did so, I became uneasy – not about colour, but is this yarn finer than what I have been knitting with? That wasn’t it. I soon defined the problem – it doesn’t seem to be plyed. I wish I were a spinner and understood these things. I have knit with yarn like this at sometime or other – what was it? when? Manos?

The labels are singularly unhelpful. The skeins in the original order, now constituting Big Thomas’s sweater, were labelled “Tosh DK (formerly known as tosh worsted) 100% superwash merino wool”. The three from Happy Knits, one of which I wound last night, are “Tosh merino DK 100% superwash merino wool”. The yardage, gauge, needle suggestions, on the two labels are identical.

I also have two skeins from Jimmy Bean – “Tosh DK”. Nothing about “formerly known as…” Everything else the same – but the Jimmy Bean skeins are plyed.

Buyer beware.

I have joined in the unplyed skein and knit three or four rounds. The colour match is really quite remarkably good, even by this morning’s dim contribution of natural light. There is a change – the unplyed yarn makes a shiner, silkier fabric.

I think it’s probably best to go on like this – the three Happy Knits skeins might even be enough to finish, or at least to finish minus the collar. I am less confident about the colour-match of the Jimmy Bean skeins. Life is frot with problems.

If there is still something left at the end, I’ll go for a watchcap. Maybe for me.


I must press on – Sundays are hard work. But I want to say:

I have eliminated Gardening and Cooking from my Zite magazine (iPad app) and switched to World News. (Knitting is still there, of course.) The American slant is fascinating. It’s not that the news is different -- the emphasis is. Over here, we’re mostly concerned at the moment with the collapse of civilisation as we know it in the form of Greece, the Euro, and the implications for the world economy of what seems to be about to happen. Zite is anxious about the potential zapping of Iran. So are we, of course, but we lack that American sense of Israel as the 53rd state or whatever the total is by now. The Zite selections are by no means uncritical of Israel, but there is still that sense that Israel-is-us which is lacking here.

I wonder if I have expressed that clearly enough.


  1. If it's not plied and it should be to match the others, there is a slight chance that section of knitting will bias after washing, assuming you're using stocking stitch or a similar stocking stitch based stitch. It will not matter if you're using a garter type stitch or rib, or a moss/seed stitch type. The way to check of course is to stop, knit two identical swatches, one of plied, one of unplied, wash and compare.

    Of course if any biasing is slight you will quite probably think it doesn't really matter and it probably won't tbh, not in a small area. Apply the galloping horse principle! Another suggestion is to use this skein up in the sleeves and any rib sections though. If it is going to look quite dramatically different you could use a band of basketweave stitch for the upper arms perhaps, and in the main body? That would take care of any biasing, and also disguise any textural difference.

    I'd offer to ply it up for you but tbh it's not quite as simple as all that, due to the way commercial yarns are heat and chemically finished etc etc. It's doubtful I could make it match the other skeins any more than it is now.

  2. Hi Jean, it's Kate Davies here - glad to hear of your interest in my Textisles magazine - if you are still having problems with the download link just email me at and I'll be happy to help.

    Regarding the name of the sweater, I live near Warriston, and it was on my daily walks around there that I thought out the design. Might I say, with the greatest of respect, that your view of the area represents a rather new- town perspective? It is, in fact, one of the nicest places to walk in the city, with well-maintained paths frequented by families and folk of all ages. Warriston also supports a surprising amount of wildlife - bats, badgers, kingfishers, and quite possibly homosexuals, though I have never spotted the soliciting variety of the latter.

    All best

  3. Jean, I was quite interested in your comments on the news coverage/world view differences. I agree with your observation. My husband and I listen to a few different news podcasts and read some papers online to get that different slant. One of our favorites is Inside Europe from Deutsche Welle. It often has segments we refer to as 'another reason to hate the French..."

  4. A bit off topic, but Jean did you ever get that flu shot?

    Guess what, despite having gotten it, I caught the damned flu. I talked with my best friend who is doctor in California and she said that this year's shot may not be a good match for the strains going around this year. Ugh.

    Too sick to knit or really do anything. I have a hacking cough that sounds like a baby's croup, and I guess I will have to go to the doctor tomorrow because it is sounding suspiciously like bronchitis...

    Anyway, I always had faith in the shot. I guess I got unlucky this year. And yes I saw Jared Flood's new yarn and it all makes me want to drool. Especially the lace scarves, because lace scarves are really all the outerwear you need in Texas.... I am thinking of ordering some along with one (or maybe two of three) of the featured patterns.

    That is, of course, when I get well. Ugh flu.

  5. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Another person agreeing with your points concerning world views and news reporting. As a liberal thinker in a mainly conservative state, I rely on BBC News and other foreign media to get a more rounded spectrum of what's happening around the world. Sadly, too many Americans are trapped in the "Us vs. Them" mentality fostered by fear mongerers out to make political hay. They don't realize that there is only Us. Thank you for summing it all up so well. -- Joe-in Wyoming