Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Fishwife posted a link to Kate Davies’ blog in her comment yesterday. Don’t miss. It’s about Debenham’s selling a rip-off of Kate’s famous o w l sweater. I calmed down a little after I had had time to think about it – Debenham’s is not taking any of Kate’s income away. Nobody who was thinking of buying the pattern and knitting the o w l would change her mind when offered the chance to buy a shoddy-looking ready-made instead.

But it still hurts.

The Zauberball socks progress nicely – I might even reach the heel today. Our niece for whom I’m knitting them has small feet, like her cousin Rachel and Rachel’s daughters (and my mother). James’ wife Cathy comes into that category. Helen and Ketki and I are rather more substantially endowed.

I am not going to be able to resist all these enthusiastic recommendations for the Sidewinders. Gretchen, thank you in particular for that tip about getting the row tension right, and then adjusting the stitch numbers as necessary. For the one-sock-vertical-one-sock-horizontal joke – who would wear those, among my recipients? the question needs some thought – it would have to be Sidewinders rather than the new Knitty pattern, Longitudinal, because that one is in garter stitch.

On the other hand, Longitudinal also sounds a lot of fun, and I am grateful for your tip, Kristie, of starting the long Magic Cast-on at a point where the Zauberball changes colour.

Alexander’s socks, finished while Mr Murray was losing his tennis match on Sunday, are the seventh pair I’ve done this year (plus the snood for the Games, and my husband’s v-neck madelinetosh which he wears almost daily and which looks very good). The first two pairs, though, were just done in the same-old-way, to replenish my husband’s sock drawer. The excitement of discovering the possibilities of sock-knitting started subsequently, and seems endless – especially now that longitudinality has been added to the mix.


The dining room ceiling acquired a layer of plasterboard yesterday, and today – they have already arrived – it will be plastered. They are pleasant and self-sufficient men but still a worry.

I have gardening news, but it will have to wait.


  1. Anonymous9:08 AM

    I disagree with the theory of casting on at a colour change in the yarn on this particular occasion, although I always do for conventional sock patterns, as it makes for a pretty cast-on edge and is easier to match for the second sock of the pair. If you do cast on at a colour change using Judy's MCO, the result will be just one half-row of a different colour and then a band of the next colour around both halves of the sock. I think this could look quite bitty, but guess it's up to personal choice.

  2. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Kate's Owls pattern is no 12 on Ravalry ATM, maybe this cloud has a silver lining? Anyone buying the pattern to support her will hopefully look at her other designs and fall in loved - such a variety and well written patterns too!

  3. Isn't it nice to have got a sweater design/yarn choice just right? When you see someone wearing it almost daily you know you did. I have never made one of those sideways socks, so have nothing to add. I admire your perseverance in exploring all these new techniques, thou. Perhaps I'll get inspired.

  4. I forgot to add that I have just started Book 3 of the Ann Cleve's mysteries set in Shetland, thanks to you. One do the protagonists is starting a series of fibre workshops to teach traditional techniques, and is worried that a murder will be bad for business. (My library had all of the books.)

  5. I agree with you in one sense about Kate and her o w l s - people who buy those sweaters in Debenhams are not the same people who would buy the pattern and make it for themselves. But, I dont think that is really the point here. The point is - that as the real designer of the o w l s, Kate should be a)credited and b)paid.

  6. Jumping in late with this, but sad to say I don't think Kate Davies has much chance of claiming the Debenhams design as a rip off of her own. She potentially has design rights in the UK to the three dimensional aspects of the design - a fitted sweater with a true circular yoke that is proportionately cabled (that they are owl cables is, as I understand it, irrelevant, as she says herself she didn't invent that particular cable and the type of cable constitutes surface design which would only be covered if Davies had registered the design).
    The Debenhams sweater is not fitted, and the cabled yoke has a seam at one shoulder and is clearly applied rather than knitted on. *And* there are owl cabled yoke sweater designs out there going back to the 60s that Debenhams could claim to have copied.
    Would there have been the same fuss if Debenhams hadn't applied the 'eyes' to their design. I'm guessing not. But unfortunately that detail is again surface design and not a structural element.
    Debenhams may of course choose to settle in some way to avoid all this negative publicity, but that's another issue.