Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sorry about yesterday – James and his family came back here, on their way south, and took me out to lunch. Somehow, the day doesn’t seem to involve as many hours as it used to. I sleep a lot.

Archie and Fergus are sleeping here at the moment, as Helen has a houseful. Archie and I sat over the kitchen table yesterday and hatched a plan. It is beginning to look as if my idea of going to Greece at half-term with Fergus and then driving back with the family through Italy and France, is going to come unstuck over Orla’s Christening (for whom see above) in London in late October.

But, hey! I can go to Italy by myself any time! I had been thinking about this on Tuesday, and googling various ideas, and somehow came up with Palermo. And yesterday Archie and I more or less agreed that we could go together in the first days 0f 2018. He doesn’t have to be back at university until the 12th.

He sounds quite keen. Palermo has a compact historic city centre, and is full of glorious architecture and interesting museums and good food. It is utterly encrusted with amazing mosaics – but Helen won’t be with us. For me and for many (but not Archie) it is the city of Giuseppe di Lampedusa, author of Il Gattopardo – close to being my favourite novel in any language.

His palace in Palermo – he was a Sicilian Prince -- was destroyed by an American bomb during the war. The bomb that provoked the book: Il Gattopardo is a fictionalized family history, completed in the ‘50’s but only published after his death. Don’t fret, he had several other palaces. And Archie and I can at least walk along the street where his palace was. And the next time I re-read the book, I could walk with Don Fabrizio in those very streets.

It could happen.

However, we’re meant to be talking about knitting. (Google suggests that Palermo is weak on LYS’s.) I’m finishing off the swatch for Miss Rachel’s Yoke.

The guest on Fruity Knitting this time is Nancy Marchant. I’m tempted to do a brioche swatch. She said in the podcast that K1, k1B produces the same fabric as all this brk and brp stuff which confuses and irritates me. K1, k1B is how I first met brioche, in a VK pattern in the 50’s. A whole dress which I finished and assembled and couldn’t have worn more than once because it stretched and sagged.

Marchant said that the different approaches produced different gauges. That’s what I want to have a look at.


  1. What a great jumper! I've never read Il Gattopardo. I'll get right on it, as they say. You are a never-ending source of inspiration, Jean. I do remember knitting a sweater in fisherman's rib, which I think is similar to Brioche, and it taking forever, because each row did not add much to the length.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful trip!!!

  3. Anonymous1:29 PM

    MY GOODNESS, Miss Orla look splendid in her Pollywog! The colors you chose compliment her hair and delicate complexion. Grandchildren are such a pleasure to travel with... what a flurry of family plans you are making. Have fun and enjoy:)

  4. What sweetness that baby is! The colors you chose are perfect for her. I have Il Gattopardo as an audio book, but have been saving it for a long trip. How does the movie version stack up? Burt Lancaster as a Sicilian prince. I have seen that.

  5. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Lovely sweater! Great to see the baby's smile this morning!
    The Palermo plan with Archie sounds excellent.
    I am also working on a Sicily plan for 2018 but in early May. The more I read, the better Sicily sounds! A place where one could have so many pistachios that pesto can be made with them ...
    Yes I too need to read Il Gattopardo - hold placed at the library.
    Can you still fly to Greece and fly back in time for the christening? Or just plan a Greece trip later on in 2018?
    Travel planning always improves my mood.
    have a good week

  6. Anonymous2:05 PM

    Meant to add I had not tried brioche previously but a friend asked me to knit a shawl in two-colour brioche along with her - Veera's Flyway Twist.
    I am using the brioche knit and purl without incident so far. Just have to get used to knitting each row twice ...

  7. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Polliwog looks beautiful on Orla who seems to have a delightful disposition. I took Nancy Marchant's brioche class at a Vogue Knitting convention years ago. She is a delightful person but I found following her instructions a little confusing, probably because she was forced to go fast because of time constraints. Mimi Kezer does a great job on her video if you Google her name and "brioche stitch". (She also has two wonderful videos on German short rows. She's a wonderful teacher). Nancy said in her class she is a friend of Elise Duvecote who is a big proponent of Knit One Below and has a book of those patterns out through XRX. Apparently they are great friends, Nancy said, as long they talk about everything but brioche stitch:-). XRX has great photography but I'm not always crazy about their color choices, although Elise does have a quite a few beauties. You can peruse them on Ravelry (I sound like a commercial, but I'm not:-).) Happy travel planning, Jean! Chloe

  8. Diana5:45 PM

    Lovely baby, Jean. The colors you picked for her sweater suit her coloring beautifully. I am curious now to read Il Gattopardo. We'll be back in Italy in 2020...

  9. Anonymous6:25 PM

    Would a free October tempt you to go to Shetland Wool Week this year?

  10. Polliwog is gorgeous, and the smile on her ladyship's face just completes perfection.
    That is one of those photos that deserves to be framed.

  11. I had to think for a moment and then realised it is "The Leopard" in English - thought it sounded familiar but couldn't work it out. (Too early in the morning here.) But, the Polliwog looks excellent. That neckline makes so much sense for a young one!

  12. Thank you for the reminder of the "Buachaille" song!