Friday, April 04, 2014


Thank you for the link to the Icelandic knitting man, Theresa. Isn't he wonderful?

All went well with the shawl yesterday. I've switched from a 60cm to an 80cm needle, to accommodate all those stitches I keep adding.

The question of what actually happens at the pivot is one to enliven the wakeful hours of the night. Every round begins with knitting those two stitches, and every round ends with them. Does that mean that they get knit more often than other stitches, or not? I keep changing my mind, on that one.

Allison posted a comment yesterday saying that I have to wrap when I turn, or the whole thing will fall apart. What happened to her comment? I've got it as an email, with the others, but it doesn't appear on the blog nor is there any sign of Allison's having deleted it. But I think that the fact that the pivotal stitches are at both ends – like those naughty little boys who used to run from one end to the other at a formal school picture-taking session, and appear twice in the photograph – means that wrapping may not be necessary. Knitting those two stitches first from one direction, then from the other, locks them in. I think.

It's too soon to say for sure. I think, at least, that the last few rounds have beeb tidier at that corner. Progress was slow yesterday, not due to any one of my frequent crises but just because there was lots of lace knitting. The motifs involve action on both sides of the work – and then there are a few peaceful rows with only the lattice frame, on the right side, and nothing but plain garter stitch on the wrong side, as a reward.

And the current motifs are at their widest point at the moment. I've reached round 24.

The puzzle about whether wrapping is necessary, and whether the pivot stitches are knit more frequently than the others, both are connected with the fact that circular knitting forms a spiral. The rounds aren't quite stacked on top of each other like rows in back-and-forth knitting. In this case, not a spiral but more of a zig zag, with each round folded back on the last.

It makes my head hurt to think about it. But it's the sort of thing that EZ revelled in. And Cully.

I'm glad you're enjoying your shawl, Jane. It's addictive, isn't it? [And I'm glad you had hot water when you needed to clean the car!]

We're now getting awfully close to the moment of departure for Strathardle, on Monday. I'm scared – am I strong enough? Is my husband too frail? – but it's got to be faced up to. Our niece is an infant teacher, the school holidays are about to begin, she's willing to come up with us. It's an opportunity which must be snatched.

And I've got Easter and Loch Fyne to look forward to, beyond.


I'm glad it's still there. The instinct, back in '45, must have been to bulldoze it. Sometimes I think we have too much of Holocaust Memorials and Holocaust Days. It can become like looking at the sun, producing blindness. I know people – and I think they are more dangerous than Holocaust-deniers – who think the Final Solution was just another atrocity in mankind's appalling history, to be compared with this or with that.

I'm glad Archie saw it. His history teacher sounds like a good man. Archie was also shown the building in Berlin where they met to plan the Final Solution and arrange the details, he said. I had never heard of it.


  1. KarenE11:17 AM

    Knitting the pivot stitch at each turn should hold the shawl together. A quick sketch (knitting not being to hand) suggests that if you knit the pivot stitch at the end of the round and slip it at the beginning of the round it should be knitted once every round (or knit at beginning and slip at end). Knitting it at beginning and end will lead to it being knit twice per round. I'm not sure that it will be noticeable after blocking.

    I hope that you enjoy Strathardle - carpe diem is even more important as we get older

  2. I suppose I can see your point on the Holocaust memorial days etc. but I can find Nov 11th hard each year because the emphasis is so firmly on the soldiers and it is right to mark their sacrifice, but so many civilians have lost their lives in these wars, not just in the Holocaust and you can feel that there is no space to commemorate them. It is also a reminder of the awful banality of evil and how easily it can creep up on us.

    Hope Strathardle goes well and that you have the strength you need

  3. Allison1:46 PM

    No, if you're knitting both stitches, there should not be the problem I mentioned. I thought the purpose of the two stitches was to allow you to knit the first and wrap the second at the end of every round.

    Don't know what happened to yesterday's comment. You're right -- I did not delete it.

  4. Anonymous3:06 PM

    My mother was a high school drama teacher, and was producing the play "The Diary of Anne Frank". A man who taught with her came to rehearsals to help manage the students. It turned out that he had been in the army in WWII, and had been one of the liberators of Auschwitz. He showed us a "yearbook" the Germans printed about Auschwitz. The pictures showed their "accomplishments" proudly...and I'll never forget them!

  5. "Every round begins with knitting those two stitches, and every round ends with them. Does that mean that they get knit more often than other stitches, or not?"

    If you do it the way I envision it, every round begins by slipping the wrapped stitch (unknit!) and knitting the next stitch. The slipped stitch is the last stitch to be knit in that round.

    If you knit the wrapped stitch at the beginning and the end, that corner will be very different from the other three, and will probably never lie flat, because it will have twice as many rows on those two stitches as the rest of the shawl has.

    Does that help?

    I hope you have a lovely time in Strathardle; we'll miss you every morning!