Sunday, June 09, 2013

The news is that John Lewis in St James Centre now has Rowan Art Yarn. Lindsay, their Rowan lady, emailed me yesterday. I have yet another prescription to collect from Boots this week, so I can finally have a look.

Yesterday was sunshine all the way, so the chillis had many hours on the doorstep. There is a great difference between the two Apaches – one has darker leaves and a much more positive attitude towards life. It was always the stronger plant, but I can’t see why they should be so very different. The faded flowers continue to adhere. I should know soon whether a crop is forming. It doesn't look as though they'll get out on the step today.


I went on with Stephen West yesterday. I knit his Garter Stitch Tab cast-on (Lesson One). Lesson Two was about directional increases. He offered two brilliant mnemonics: I LEFT the FRONT door open, and I’ll be RIGHT BACK. I did a few rows with four increases in each of the right-side rows, and went on to Lesson Three.

That concerns yo’s. The dullest of us could master the yo in less than the 15 minutes of the lesson, but it took me quite a while to grasp that he was not just substituting yo’s for the directional increases of Lesson Two, but also adding two more in each wrong-side row, extending the wingspan.

I have now also grasped that I am not knitting a Stephen West shawl (at least, not yet) – only a swatch. I’d like to do a Craftsy class that had a tangible result, like your Artemisia sweater, Elizabeth. This class doesn’t seem terribly meaty, compared to some, but Stephen’s ebullient charm makes up for a lot, and there may be fireworks to come.

And it has little perks like a real classroom class – he told us in Lesson Three about how he switched to continental knitting when he had a Christmas present project that had to be finished fast. He has rather an interesting way of holding the yarn when he purls – purling is the real downer, for continental knitting. I wind the yarn around the fingers of my left hand like a cat’s cradle (or dog’s dinner) and hate the process. I might have another try.

I was interested in your remark, Foggy Knitter, about EZ and double knitting. (The connection of thought between this paragraph and the last being Craftsy classes, of course.) Does anyone remember where the passage occurs?

And reading your blog sent me off in pursuit of London Underground socks. Do you mean this yarn from TrailingClouds? I fear it is going to go on my must-have list. The great thing about socks is that one actually finishes a pair from time to time, and goes on to the next. That Pakokku I ordered should turn up soon.

Queer Joe (who is engaged on a Blogathon, I think) had a post recently (June 7) about his WIPs. It made me glad of the relative good discipline of my later years. It is bad enough, being torn by all the patterns one wants to try next, without having them actually lying about. I used to have a lot. One day, in her adolescence, Greek Helen said, “What’s that going to be, if you finish it?” I was cured.

And, oh yes, Relax2. Two and a bit more rounds to go, before the underarm increases.

I won't be here tomorrow. I'll be taking the car to the garage for its MOT.


  1. Anonymous8:55 AM

    I was given a skein of that wonderful Tube yarn for Valentine's Day (my request - longer-lasting than flowers and not fattening, unlike chocolate!). It made a wonderful pair of socks and I could remember my hours rattling around the Underground as I knitted it. And be very thankful to live in the deepest countryside again after my London years!


  2. Re Stephen West. I recently knitted one of his designs: Spectra. This uses short rows and two colours. It looks great on him - very hip - but may overwhelm me. I think you made Wingspan recently? It has a similar "interesting when blocking but difficult to wear in reality" feeling to it. But then you have many grandchildren...

  3. double knitting-Knitter's Almanac,february chapter, p.19 in my edition (Dover), 1981

  4. I thought the EZ connection is that she preached to convert us all to continental knitting because it is faster. Do a dishcloth every night, I think that was the admonition.

    I knit for my pleasure, not to feed my family. I knit on the way my mama taught me!

    (I love reading your blog every morning. Thank you!)

  5. I am not a fan of double knitting myself, kind of gutsy. A friend is doing a stole that is double knitted and involves intarsia. Shoot me now.

  6. Ruth in Ontario, Canada2:23 PM

    Mary Lou, your comment reminded me of a class I took in double knitting a while ago. The teacher took a simple concept and managed to tie our brains in knots with it. Using two colours really complicates things...I keep meaning to go back and try it again but now feel thoroughly intimidated by the technique. I'm wondering if Lucy Neatby's DVD can rescue me.

    1. KarenE9:43 AM

      Give Lucy a try - her explanations are really clear and make sense. Anyone who comes up with the concepts of happy stitches that hold hands with their neighbours and sibling stitches to describe raised increases understands how to teach.

  7. Anonymous10:37 PM

    Thanks so much for the link to the "Mind the Gap" yarn - great reminder of my years in London (in the '70s, in my 20s) and I love the way it knits up. Stephen West - I'm very keen to begin his Boneyard shawl with the skein of Tosh Lace my stepdaughter has just given me - absolutely not until some WIPs are either done, or a bit further along.
    - Beth in Toronto (also in Ontario)

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