Saturday, October 26, 2013

Helen and her boys have (for the moment) vanished as suddenly as they arrived. She is in Venice with her husband David, a slightly belated 50th-birthday treat for both. Mungo and Fergus are staying with a friend very near here. The friend will take them on Monday morning to different schools where each will have a “taster” day of boarding school life. Helen will get back on Monday (if the threatened storm confines itself to southern England as promised) and retrieve her sons on Tuesday.

So Monday afternoon is my big chance to have her measure me for Herzog’s CustomFit. I’ll have a look at the website before then and decide whether to proceed. Indeed, I could then measure her.

I moved peacefully forward with actual knitting yesterday – if I can put on a bit of speed (=three rounds instead of two), the current rank of sheep will begin to acquire faces today. A day or two more will polish off this particular chart. The Milano/Relax3 still has 4cm to go before the underarm shapings -- as I remember Relax1&2, it pretty well knits itself from there.  I’m knitting the final stripe in the original colour sequence – ready to start over. It's looking great.

I read Mary Thomas on Shetland shawl construction. Today I’ll try to have a look at Heirloom Knitting. Thomas’ method involves a fair amount of sewing. Maybe that’s what they did – what they do. She would have it that you knit one-quarter of the edging; pick up stitches and knit one border inwards, decreasing at the edges; insert a row of eyelets and knit the centre; and then do three more pieces and attach them.

My first lace knitting, a shawl for Rachel before she was born from a Paton’s leaflet, was designed by Mrs Hunter of Unst (it says) and was knit in five separate pieces, later to be seamed. But that is more likely to be Paton’s way of doing things in the 50s, than Mrs Hunter’s idea.

I was interested to see that Mary Thomas says “The work was done on two needles, a third being used for knitting”. I must have read that passage at least a dozen times without noticing – but now I’ve seen it done!

Only this morning, however, do I worry about that technique in relation to lace knitting. It’ll work fine for Fair Isle, where the fabric is relatively tight and the yarn adhesive. Indeed, the system is said to allow the knitter to take her hands off it altogether, leaving it suspended from the belt, when she has to attend to something else.

But does this work for lace? Lace stitches are notoriously keen to escape. I’ll have to go back to Unst and arrange a demonstration.

Mary Thomas says that Shetland lace pattern stitches are few in number, “only ten being truly native”. She illustrates them, and has been widely believed. But surely that’s nonsense.


I often turn up in Zite these days. Yesterday an article of mine appeared illustrated with a picture of a woman I had never seen. Half my age, head only, grinning idiotically. It was rather unnerving.

1 comment:

  1. I saw that article on Zite yesterday and thought it was very strange. It made me wonder about the accuracy of some of the other things I look at on Zite.