Saturday, April 02, 2016

And another follower! Hi!

A good day, yesterday.

First of all, I met one of you – we’ll call her J. – and her Oberlin-graduate daughter Emily (see yesterday’s comment). We met in Kathy’s Knits and did a certain amount of yarn-buying all around, and then went around the corner to Angelina’s for coffee and scones and talking which could have gone on a lot longer.

I bought a set of graduated yarns, partly, perhaps, inspired by the class I had taken with Carol Feller at the EYF., partly because I don't like to leave an LYS (or an independent bookstore) without buying something, Emily asked what I was going to do with them. Good question. But I think I have at least a tentative answer – her mother J. was wearing her Relax and I suddenly remembered how much I love that pattern, both the knitting and the wearing of. So maybe one day I will do it again, with the graduated yarn as stripes starting near or at the bottom. All I need to do is to find the right madtosh near-solid for the rest of it. And time, and time.

Later, I started my half-brioche sweater. How very second-millennium it felt, to be knitting k1 p1 back and forth in DK over 83 stitches! But it produced a deep rib very briskly, and I have now gone on to the real pattern.

This time I really mean to figure out what I am doing – or, rather, what the yarn is doing. The effect, on the right side, is of a rib with the knit stitches in one colour and the purls in the other. The reverse is messier-looking. I got Marchant’s book out. The net result was to confuse, but I have at least discovered that she regards k1b and p1b (which is what I am doing) as producing an identical result to slipped stitches paired with YO’s and knit or purled together as one on the next row (which is her preferred technique).  

I have other books besides hers, including the XRX “Knit Below”. It is obvious from the beginning that this group of stitches admits of a great deal of variation.

My pattern, at least, is easy and stress-free.  It involves nothing more nerve-wracking than knitting or purling into the stitch below the next stitch on the left-hand needle (which is – if you’ve never tried it – a remarkably easy and comfortable thing to do). The stitch itself, when thus inevitably slipped off the needle, forms a sort of YO over the stitch just knit.

I’ll continue to report on my discoveries, at least until I slouch back and just enjoy the process.


The gov’t has just made a “living wage” mandatory for all workers over 25. I wish I knew the carers who are keeping my husband and me afloat well enough to ask how much they earn by the hour. They are all skilled and pleasant and patient and efficient at their difficult job, some more than others but all well within acceptable parameters. Some are employed by Edinburgh Council – the famous “care package” that my husband couldn’t be released from hospital without – and some by a private firm which provides us with invaluable help for a few hours daily – so that I can get out and meet knitters, among other things.

The “living wage” sounds to me far too little to reward what they do. 


  1. What a lovely encounter! I have to ask -- which "Relax" do you mean? There are many on Ravelry, including one by Jo Sharpe that appears to be a pillow. :-) The Rowan one, which I would consider a contender, is short-sleeved in the photos, making it an unlikely choice for Edinburgh in early spring.

  2. I agree with you about the wages paid caregivers: my MIL (who lived with us until her death last month) had wonderful people and I am sure, sure, sure that they were underpaid.

    I also agree with you about Relax. I have knit two (one, in dead grass green, I was wearing when I dropped off a lavender plant and a gardenia plant at your doorstep) and another in Carol Sunday's Milano colorway. It's a terrific sweater to knit and wonderful to wear.

  3. Anonymous12:26 PM

    I too agree that careworkers get insufficient recognition for the demanding job they do. Helen (anon)

  4. I am sure that the caaregivers will have to be getting at least the minimum wage for the time they are with their patients - it's the law. What I am not so sure about is whether they get paid for the time travelling between homes where they work. Many of the companies that employ them regard this as the same as commuting.