Monday, October 16, 2017

No storm here so far, although it’s been a wet, grey, discouraging day. Radio and television have placed reporters at various strategic west coast spots, the way they do on such occasions. One of them said, on the radio news, that he had seen a sea gull flying backwards.

A better day’s knitting, today. Rachel’s Yoke is not quite as blissful as I had anticipated. Maybe after another decrease round things will begin to fall into place. It’s looking good. There are nine six-round “ribbons” on the yoke. I’m halfway through the second of them. A picture soon, when I’ve reached the third.

Here are my cats, this morning. Perdita turned around and growled and stalked out of the room shortly after the picture was taken. The object between them is a catnip rat, the gift of a dear friend to Perdita when she was a kitten. I don’t know where either of them is this evening. I may soon have to go to bed without shutting Paradox into the dining room.

Nancy Marchant’s cowl class at the EYF – the one I succeeded in getting – requires one to cast on 96 stitches with two colours, using the long-tail cast-on. The instructions with the class notes don’t suffice, at least not for me, but she does it in her Craftsy class and in her books, so I have no excuse for not mastering it. I will have to start working on it soon after the new year.

I think the grandmother who taught me to knit just showed me a backward loop. I learned the long-tail cast on, I think, from a friend at Hampton Elementary School in Detroit. I do it, as she showed me, by wrapping the yarn around my left thumb and knitting into it.

I don’t think I had ever seen the cat’s-cradle method (which everybody, including Marchant, seems to use) until the happy day a few years ago when I took two classes with Franklin at Loop, having travelled down to London on purpose. (I got to meet Shandy that day, too). He cast on something during the lesson. I was tremendously impressed. But I've never actually done it myself.

Isabella, thank you again for pointing me to Jacey Boggs-Falkner’s Craftsy class on spinning. I’m two lessons in, and enjoying it tremendously. I restrained myself with some difficulty from rushing out and buying a wheel this morning. Do you know what a Short Forward Draft is? (Well, obviously, you do, Isabella.) What a tremendous amount there is to learn and do, absolutely fundamental to knitting. I’ve left it awfully late. 


  1. I only knew the knitted cast on for many years, till a friend showed me the two-handed long tail. The cat's cradle method is faster, but ends up the same way.

  2. Carol M10:07 PM

    You sure keep yourself busy - I love hearing about your activities. Hope the storm weakens.

  3. Aha, another one falls down the spinning rabbit hole. You should come along to the Edinburgh Guild some time...third Saturday of every month at Craiglockhart Church Hall. Next meeting is this Saturday, as it happens, so if you wanted to try out a wheel........;)

  4. I learned the cat´s cradle method at elementaty school, and never knew there were other ways to cast on until I bought my first English knitting book somewhere in my early fifties.

  5. My great-aunt taught me the cable cast on which I used for years. My mother taught me a cast on knitting a loop off my left thumb, which is a variant of long tail. I didn't trust it for large numbers until someone told me how to estimate the length of tail needed.

  6. Anonymous12:22 PM

    Do tell me how?! I always use too much which feels wasteful. CarolG

  7. Anonymous1:21 PM

    The current Craftsy knit-a-long Tealeaf Sweater with Bristol Ivy includes her saying in the first lesson that she can’t do the cat’s cradle long-tail cast-on. So you are in good company here!

  8. My chief memory of that day at Loop is of Franklin talking for three and a half hours without a break. Strangely, I don't recall the cast on. My mother used the thumb method but I just knit on the stitches, using a cable cast-on because it makes a firmer edge.