Sunday, October 27, 2013

Here we are.

As you see, the initial curl is following me up Rams&Yowes – it is now encroaching on the second row of sheep. This makes me feel as if I’m not making any progress at all, whereas in fact I am moving slowly but steadily forward.

And here’s my beloved Milano/Relax3:


Sharon Miller in “Heirloom Knitting” says that the traditional way is to knit four pieces, each consisting of edging and a mitred border, leaving all stitches live; then lace them together at the corners with herringbone stitch; then start the centre on one set of live stitches, taking in a stitch from one side or the other at the end of every row. If there’s one thing I enjoy more than another, it’s that process. At the end, graft the centre to the live stitches of the fourth edge piece.

This makes a good deal of sense, as compared to Mary Thomas’ statement that the centre is knit onto the first edge piece before the other three sides have come into being.

And it also goes a long way towards solving the problem that I created for myself yesterday – how is lace managed with a knitting belt? The answer is that only two needles are required, since no more than a quarter of the stitches are being worked at any one time. There won’t be an extra, hanging needle. And maybe they had invented point protectors for themselves. And maybe fine lace was knit by fierce elderly women who weren’t to be disturbed for the purposes of cutting peat or changing nappies. I'd still like to go back to Unst and see it demonstrated.

And the whole problem of how-to-do-the-borders-in-garter-stitch also disappears. It is a 20th century creation, resulting from the invention of circular needles. It's enough to tempt me to master herringbone stitch.

I wish Sharon Miller would lead a little tour to Shetland. I would whip off my apron and be out the door like a shot. She never seems to do anything like that, never appears at knitting jamborees. She rang me up once, when I had written something on-line about starting the Princess edging, and needed to know that I was using an unsuitable yarn. 


I signed up yesterday. The website seems firm and capable. Judging from the sheer number of beta-testers and their sweaters, Herzog has worked this out with some care. I think I have decided to measure Helen if she’ll let me, rather than have her measure me. I haven’t knit her a sweater for a long time.


  1. Anonymous8:38 AM

    Good morning, Jean, I hope you are well. Lovely progress on Rams & Yowes. I have the kit, too, not yet begun.
    Please take the opportunity of Helen's visit to get your measurements taken as well. It does not preclude knitting her a sweater! Best Wishes, Marilyn in Minneapolis, (awake at o'dark hundred)

  2. Anonymous8:46 AM

    p.s. Love the "fierce elderly women" remark, I believe I have a new answer to what do you want to be when you grow up. Marilyn

  3. The women who knitted those shawls could not have done the rough work surely? The yarn would have been too fine and would have snagged on hands which dug potatoes and cut peat.
    I believe Sharon Miller's husband has been very ill and that they had to cut back on a lot of what they were already doing but I am with you...I'd be on a plane to join you!

  4. If you find the sensation of lack of progress on Rams&Yowes annoying, there is your solution - always keep a potato handy!
    i seem to remember reading in Sharon Miller's 'Shetland Hap shawls' that the member of the family who did the lace knitting was always "excused the rough" which might coarsen the hands. After all, they were making their contribution, and their hands were the important tool.

  5. Ruth in Ontario, Canada1:23 PM

    Rams and Yowes is looking splendid. What a terrific sweater that pattern could turn into (Kate, are you listening??). I too love the "fierce elderly women" bit! It gives me something to aspire to.

  6. Sharon Miller trip? I would use my frequent flyer miles for that one.

  7. Leslie Bagatelle4:40 PM

    Rams and Towes is coming along nicely. If the curling bothers you, why not try a damp towel on the finished part over night and see if that helps...not a true blocking, but rather a temporary taming! Who is going to be the very happy recipient of the blanket?

  8. You can store several measurements. By all means get yourself measured too.

  9. I would think that corks would have worked for needle protectors.