Saturday, March 30, 2019

I’m getting along nicely. I’m nearly halfway across with the bind-off. The ends-to-be-woven seemed to stretch out to the horizon, but when I tried folding that edge over on itself I was surprised and very pleased to see that I am nearly halfway on that one, too.

Here’s a pic of a finished corner:

KD says to block by soaking, pressing the water out, stretching out nicely, and pinning. That last seemed excessive to me, for a casual garter stitch hap. But in the issue of Knitting (the British magazine) which came today, there is a plug for KnitPro “Rainbow Knit Blockers”. A new product? We like KnitPro.

They’re sort of like combs. You buy a whole box of them, some more or less square, with four pins, others twice the size and therefore rectangular, with eight pins. It would certainly make blocking easier. And for something like the Dathan (or any other) hap, it would obviate the dreaded scalloped edge.

Has anybody used them? Am I right to be tempted?

I felt I had made enough progress with hap-finishing that I could allow myself to start the baby sweater, on the principle enunciated yesterday. The yarn I had in mind turned out, as soon as I had it in my hands to start winding, to be lace-weight. So I have chosen a nice sock yarn from my stash, a company called Knitglobal, a shade called Mountain.

The yarn is sort of greeny-grey. The sweater is knit bottom-up and circularly. I’m nearly finished with the initial garter-stitch band, and I am very pleased indeed with the way the yarn looks..

I felt a twinge of unease because, many decades ago, a friend told me that it was unlucky to knit for a baby in green. An Irish friend, at that. But then I thought of how my son-in-law Edward told Rachel not to wear old-new-borrowed-blue at her wedding to him because “God’s love is not so constrained”. I fancy the same might apply to knitting for babies.

Unless the parents would worry. Is this superstition in common use?


I learned a new Italian word this morning: mito, meaning, literally, a myth. I already knew that much. Applied colloquially to a person, it means a star, a legend. My tutor used it to describe John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons. Apparently his cries of “Order! Order!” have endeared him to the hearts of the Italian nation.


  1. I have had the Knit Pro blockers for a few year and heartily recommend them. The new ones I think are multi coloured whereas the ones I have are cream. I have actually bought a second set. Once you buy them, you’ll wonder how you managed without them.

  2. I have been meaning to acquire a set of those blockers, I hear they are just the ticket.I have never heard of the knitting green for a baby being bad luck. There are superstitions about wearing green being bad luck, but suppose it depends on the culture. Anything knit with love should be the best of luck!

  3. I also highly recommend the blockers, and I also found that a shawl of any size needs two sets. I also recommend that you buy the foam squares to pin things out on. WEBS has a set from Knitter's Pride that have both the pins and the mats together (although they are brightly colored which I am not totally fond of; the KnitPicks ones I have are white pins and grey mats.) Once the mats are linked together you can move them carefully around. This could make it possible for you to block on your bed and then move the whole works to the floor when you need to sleep. Well, if you could keep the cats out of the room. Never mind.

  4. I support the blockers. I also use blocking wires for straight sided items like shawls. Many fewer pins required.

    You can also thread a fine cord through the edge of the item and stretch it under tension, which also eliminates the dread scalloping.

  5. Well, I ordered Polliwog yarn yesterday in two shades of green. Parents both of Chinese descent so I was thinking if something good with that complexion and with no Chinese bad luck or mourning associations.

  6. Now reading "The Claverings" which is suffused with a sense of doom. I am enjoying Trollope's use of racing/hunting metaphors as the seedier characters discuss the courting of Julia.

  7. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Love that quote of Edward's. Hope I can remember it when the occasion arises. I have heard people practically "wax rhapsodic" over blocking wires. I tend to make small items so I've never tried them. Chloe

  8. I, too, like using the blocking pins. They go very well with the pinning mats or a large Styrofoam board. I have to admit I have 4 boxes as a result of blocking a very large shawl. I was glad to set the T-pins aside.

  9. Another vote for the blocking pins. I received a set for Christmas and absolutely love them. Between them, my blocking wires, and foam blocking mats (ok, I bought the foam play-yard mats with the alphabet on them at the toy store-vastlymore economical) blocking anything is a breeze. I will happily find another use for my T-pins.

  10. =Tamar4:18 PM

    I've never heard of that particular superstition. Poor old green gets a lot of flak; I've read that it used to be a difficult dye to achieve and was therefore thought magical, but I've also heard that green racing cars are involved (wrecks in UK hence bad, but wins in USA hence good). And then there's "green on [day of week]", which was always nonsense. I like Edward's quote.

  11. Anonymous3:14 AM

    Green dye used to be made from arsenic, so was fatal. Finding a safe chemical dye for green clothing (let alone food) took a bit longer than for other colours. Alison Matthews David in _Fashion Victims_ explores this fascinating history.