Tuesday, February 18, 2014

No mouse, yesterday.

My new heading-picture shows the main desk at the Lerwick Museum, as you;ve probably guessed.

I'm well into the seventh repeat of the centre of the Unst Bridal Shawl, and, incidentally, nearly finished with the second 25 gr ball of yarn. All the yarn is bundled together now, in a bag called “Mousa Broch” I bought at Sandwick on Shetland. I reflected, too late, that that means I can no longer distinguish the balls I bought myself, over the counter in Lerwick, and the ones Jamieson & Smith later supplied by mail, same lot number.

But I know, at least, that the edging and the first third of the centre were knit with the original purchase.

For I am fully a third of the way through the centre – that's a respectable-sounding percentage. The total is not really 19 repeats, as I keep saying, but 18 ½, and I've now knit slightly more than 6 ½.

I have been thinking about the borders and the problem of producing garter stitch in the round. I tried without success to find Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer's account of wrapping-and-turning. I did find a video on the subject, not by her, but in it  the yarn was so thick, the stitches so few, and the magic-loop method involved so much pulling-through-of-cable that I didn't learn much.

I did stumble past somebody's remark that it's better, in this case, not to knit the wrap with the wrapped stitch.

But I can't quite, in the modern phrase, get my head around the idea. You start out, you knit around, you get back to the beginning and wrap the first stitch of the next round, and then turn the work and knit the other way. When you get back, a fortnight later, you need to knit the wrapped stitch. Is it possible also at the same time to wrap it again? (Well, yes, I suppose it is.) Or do you just wrap it every other round?

I've done a shawl this way. Maybe it'll be obvious once I get going. At each corner there will be a corner stitch with yo's on either side. I mean to wrap them all, so that there will be strong lines at each corner, although of course I'll only turn on the fourth one.

The other possibility is Fleegle's brilliant invention using two balls of yarn. Kate Davies has posted a tutorial in which she recommends that one. As I've said, I had a bit of trouble with it the one time I tried. I think the trouble was connected with remembering which direction I was going, despite marking the right side. This time, I have an unexpected ally in my needle – I have bent one end into a curve that fits the palm of my hand, as recommended somewhere by Sharon Miller. And that means I always know which direction I'm going in. Curved needle = right side of work.

Why did I do it? The Princess is knit entirely back and forth. I don't remember having any right-side-wrong-side difficulties with her. The needle itself is brilliant, easy to knit with, easy to see – and the stitches slip over the hasp (if that's the word) with ease. It is presumably one of the Inox needles Sharon sells.

Cats and Mice

MaureeninFargo, I agree with you that cats are not entirely consistent on this point. My happiest memory is the time – must have been in the late 60's – when our cat decided that her kittens were the right age for the Mouse Lesson, about five weeks She found one for them– I don't remember ever seeing a mouse in that house; she must have brought it in from the garden – and gave it to them. The kittens were delighted. They got the idea at once. They growled. The mouse enjoyed itself rather less.

Bur the best was the cat herself, sitting with her tail around her toes, fully alert, ready to intervene in an instant if the mouse made a dash for freedom, but otherwise suppressing her natural instincts in the interests of motherhood.


  1. An addition to the cats and mice stories-Once I called the cats to dinner and one came in from outside, spit out the (very) live mouse in his mouth, and waited for his proper dinner. And that mouse was either pregnant or sent out invites to all her friends because it took a while to clear the house of them.

  2. Allison4:47 PM

    "I did stumble past somebody's remark that it's better, in this case, not to knit the wrap with the wrapped stitch."

    Jean, I believe the comment is referring to not knitting the wrap itself; you still want to knit the stitch that is wrapped. My understanding is that the wraps just don't show in garter stitch so there's no need to conceal them by knitting the wrap with the stitch that was wrapped.

    Is that clear as mud?

  3. Ruth in Ontario, Canada9:29 PM

    A friend of mine sent her cat down to her basement (where she stores all her weaving equipment and yarns) to deal with a mouse. The cat happily returned to the living room carrying, not a dead mouse, but a ball of very tangled yarn. Clearly this kitty has its priorities straight!

  4. Anonymous1:31 AM

    When I knit my Color Affection Shawl it had wrap and turns in the garter section short rows that weren't picked up. I really don't see them. In fact, I have trouble finding them in sock weight.