Thursday, January 09, 2014

I had a successfully strenuous day yesterday, above 7000 steps on my pedometer which is twice what I register some days. I feel the better for it. There was also some excitement, unrelated to my trudging about, and I feel like that character in Greek mythology who couldn't bear the secret he knew and eventually solved his problem by digging a hole in the ground and shouting into it, “King Midas has asses' ears!” I'll tell you next month.

And I got my seven scallops done – the day's target for the Unst Bridal Shawl edging. I should pass the half-way point on the second side today.

I should mention that the yarn is wonderful, Jamieson & Smith's Shetland Supreme 1-ply lace weight. I wish I could remember the details more accurately: on our first day in Shetland, at the museum in Lerwick, we learned from our delightful guide on the Textile Tour that this yarn had recently been launched, as a collaboration between J&S and the museum, to reproduce as closely as possible in commercial terms the yarn that the old shawls were made from.

My very first venture into fine lace knitting, Amedro's Cobweb Lace Wrap for Rachel's 40th birthday – that takes you back! – was knit with J&S cobweb yarn. It wasn't very strong, it even broke in a couple of places. I didn't use it again. (Somewhere in the introduction to Sarah Don's Shetland Lace book you will find that the same thing happened to her.)

This yarn is entirely different. Inspired by what I had heard about it, I bought three balls when we finally got to J&S on the last day. I can't find a weight on the ball band – that's odd. I thought it was 50gr. Blame my old eyes. 400 meters, anyway. The first ball, with which I am knitting the edging, is beginning to look slightly diminished. The pile of edging already surprises me with how light it is when I pick it up.

I think it comes only as I have bought it: white. Not stark white, more what a shirt I bought recently called “winter white”. It's strong. I would almost call it crunchy. I am sure it will block to glorious dimensions. I'll surely have to order more at some point. Will these three balls see me through the borders? The transition to the centre would be a good point to switch lot numbers. Fingers crossed.

However that works out, this shawl will always have the special merit of having been (partly) knit with yarn I bought that day, standing on my own feet in Lerwick.

I started the Princess with a cone of silk I had acquired from somewhere, and failed ingloriously before I got away from the starting gate. Franklin has an account, with picture, of a similar experience. If I apply myself, I might be able to retrieve it from the bottomless lake of the Internet.


  1. While "standing on my own feet in Lerwick" , that is exactly my memory each day as I knit with the Jamieson & Smith two ply yarn. I held it double when I knit up a Seriously Simple shawl from Ravelry. It will last til the cows come home, or at least until I've left this mortal plane.

  2. I am in awe of your lace knitting capacity!

  3. =Tamar5:17 PM

    Franklin's post was May 22, 2008, called "Knit It Like Nietzsche".
    I am as always in awe of your dedication and ambition, knitting such wonderful work despite your busy schedule.