Thursday, January 26, 2017

Yesterday was the Bard’s birthday and even in our toothless states, we managed to ingest some haggis and neeps and tatties. A dear friend sent me this. I hope it was taken yesterday.

Thank you for your help with the centre of Mrs Hunter’s shawl.. I  have tried to do some actual thinking today, never a process I enjoy.

Here are the "givens":

1) To make a square in garter stitch, cast on some stitches and knit twice that many rows.

2) To make a centre square in a borders-inward Shetland shawl, knit back and forth from one side, taking in a stitch alternately from the adjacent sides. At the end, graft the final row to the live stitches of the fourth side. That means that you will knit twice as many rows as you have stitches on each of the four borders. Thus making a square. See above.

OK: Mrs Hunter – who is writing a pattern in which each of the six parts of the shawl are knit separately and sewn together afterwards -- says to cast on 143 stitches for the centre. So you would expect 286 rows, or thereabouts. But no. She gives a 20-row pattern and then says:"Repeat rows 1-20 incl. 11 times."

That's what I didn't really face up to until yesterday. That sounds like 220 rows. Or if the instruction just quoted means "11 more times", it would mean 240 rows -- still well short of the 286 needed for a square.

I've looked up the closest parallel I could find -- Amedro's "Phillip and Michael" shawl. Sure enough -- twice as many rows as stitches. Yesterday I was thinking of decreasing abruptly down to 110 stitches, so that I could knit 220 rows as Mrs Hunter specified (maybe). But now I don't see much point in that since Mrs Hunter apparently wasn't aiming for a square and I am.

Now I think I’ll just decrease down to 141. 140 (=280 rows) allows me to fit in 14 repeats of the 20-row pattern, and the extra one allows for Mrs Hunter’s “K. 2 rows” at the end.

Well, that’s all pretty boring. I’ll let you know how I get on. I’ve reached row 78, of 86, of the border pattern, so all this arithmetic will start happening in real life pretty soon.

I got my copy of “Wool Tribe” today, the EYF magazine. There are some mildly interesting patterns for accessories, and some articles – but the big thing is the plan of this year’s layout. Jared has taken a big space in the concourse.

Students – that’s me – can get in an hour early on the opening market day. I didn’t avail myself of that, last year, and still don’t know how it works geographically – something about going around the back. But this time I mean to try, in the hour before my class with Hazel Tindall.

Baa Ram Ewe will be there, sure enough – I’m sure if I turned up and asked how many skeins of their Dovestone DK was required for the shortened version of “Ancasta” as mentioned but not specified in Laine, they’d be able to help. They must be even more irritated then I am.

There’s an article in Wool Tribe about a walk you might like to do in Edinburgh, of which a major feature is the Sheep Heid Inn in Duddingston. They mention a number of notables who have dined there, starting with Mary Queen of Scots, but, oddly, omit the most recent. The Queen herself, who almost never eats out in public, went there for a meal last summer after a happy day at the Musselburgh races.

It is hard to write about her from Edinburgh for an international audience, because she is not “Elizabeth II” here. But you can get a long way by just referring to her as “The Queen”.


  1. Jean, you could probably send Baa Ram Ewe an email asking them to bag up an appropriate quantity of yarn for you to collect from their booth. Even if you changed your mind on seeing it they would probably appreciate the efficiency.

  2. Anonymous6:11 AM

    A pattern including holes will open up more than plain garter stitch.Perhaps this explains Mrs Hunter's numbers?

    1. =Tamar6:52 PM

      Oh dear, that sounds as though swatching will be required. Perhaps it should be done before the next skein is attached.

  3. Wish I were going to EYF. Just listened to Melvin Bragg's gang on Mary Queen of Scots. It was fun to see some of the places in my minds eye from my visit. I'm glad you have the mathematically among us helping with the thought process. I am not one of that gang.