Friday, November 14, 2014

I've just ordered some Christmas cards -- one thing done, in a world where evety day adds a couple of ominous items to the list of Jobs Undone.

Yesterday was fairly exciting on the knitting front. I finished Archie's raglan increases and, a couple of rows later, the plackets. The sleeves have been left behind, the whole joined into a tube. Such fun! Laying it out as best I can on top of the sweater he left behind here, the size looks very good. But that's no real substitute for trying-on.

Now that I've embarked on the (rather lengthy) home stretch, I think I want a 80cm circular. I feel sure that that's what I started with, but if so I can't find it. Or at least, can't find it in Symfonie. Odd, because one thing that is fairly orderly amidst all the disorder here, is knitting-needle-storage.

And the postman was kind yesterday, too: Magnusson's “Icelandic Knitting Using Rose Patterns” turned up, and the new IK

The book isn't quite what I expected. The first third is the result of academic work the author has done, studying and classifying the insoles traditionally knit for Icelandic slippers. They are no longer knit, she says, but well-preserved in museums. There are lots of illustrations.The slippers themselves were made of sheepskin or fishskin, simple ovals gathered into a boat-shape.

I had a wild moment of thinking that there was a wonderful Christmas present I could at least parly knit – but no. All the sheepskin slippers I could find on-line were the usual sort (like my husband's dearly-loved pair from L.L. Bean) with woolly insides. And although fishskin belts and bracelets are available, I could find no slippers.

The colourful insoles would have been completely invisible in wear, of course. (Somewhere amongst all the books in this house is a picture of the top of an Amish stocking, brightly decorated and also completely invisible in wear. But I can't, for the moment, think what book it could be in.)

In the rest of the book, the author uses designs from the insoles on sweaters and things, not very successfully to my taste.

IK is full of delicious, snuggly winter things, both in the text and the ads. I wonder if the Fall River Cowl on the cover could be adapted for the skeins of Jared's Shelter yarn which I was given this week? There is a great deal to be said for knitting something red during these most trying weeks of the year.

There's an article by Donna Druchunas about a musk ox farm, which set me off thinking about qiviut. I knit with it once, an Amedro stole for my mother. It's pretty wonderful. The trouble with qiviut, if it could be said to have a trouble, is that it is the colour of musk oxen. They are more closely related to sheep than to oxen, Druchunas says, but their hair clearly lacks wool's wonderful capacity to take dye.

The best solution is probably the mixtures. Things seem to have moved on in that respect since my qiviut phase. The best I found, with a little mild Googling, was the Royal Blend, 50% qiviut, 50% silk, at Windy Valley Muskox.


  1. I understood those to be inserts for Icelandic shoes. When I was there and looking at them in museums, my feet hurt thinking about feeling every rock and twig as I walked.
    Minnetonka Moccasins makes a moc with no attached firm sole. The inserts could work in those.

  2. Anonymous9:37 PM

    I like it Jean when you buy ready or nearly-ready meals - there's lots of good stuff here about knitting, in fact I could spend all day following up your various links and consequently, not feeding my children properly........

  3. Well done on your knitting progress.

  4. Could the Amish stockings you are thinking of be the ones in IK’s Knitting Traditions no. 2 (Winter 2011)?

    I so enjoy reading your blog. It’s so well written and humane, right in the middle of that tradition of British writing celebrated by Slightly Foxed (q.v.), and the fact that it clearly serves an essential purpose in your own life only adds to its value. Thank you!