Thursday, November 26, 2020


Another pleasant day, weather-wise. Another good walk. Helen and I are contemplating attempting two circuits of the garden tomorrow.


And I’m somewhat further with the Evendoon. The colours have been straightened out, anyway. All my life I have been congratulating myself on having a passion that required so little physical strength – I could go on knitting into extreme old age! It’s still true, but I’m not doing much. I thought today I would try watching my once-beloved quiz program, Pointless – and found I was watching a prime ministerial coronavirus program instead. Not much knitting got done.


Mary Lou, I have very little experience with the Magic Loop but it certainly seems worth trying. It used to make me feel as if I were tripping over my shoelaces.


“Knitting” magazine arrived today – the British one. There are two interesting articles about sheep farming. One is from where Wensleydale sheep (a rare breed) are raised for their wool, never for eating. The magazine is going to take us through the shepherd’s year – this article is about introducing the rams to the ewes; the next, in the spring, will be about lambing.


The other is about on the island of Colonsay, where they use the waste products from a local gin distillery as a source of natural dyes. Their yarn is too heavy for my taste. The Wensleydale yarn is better. I think I knit with it once, many years ago, purchased at a fair of some sort, made into a striped sweater for Helen’s husband David. If I’m right, it was lovely stuff to handle.


Newspapers have been grumbling again recently about how farmers have to compost their wool and spread it on the fields because nobody wants it. Newspapers don’t know that sheep bred for their meat don’t often produce much of use in the way of wool. An exception might be Shetland sheep – but they are small animals and I don’t think their meat is much exported from Shetland itself.


  1. Any time you find yourself watching an unscheduled prime minister, hit the button for BBC2- they make sure we folk who think Pointless is important can still get it. After all, people who are very important like to watch it. I find myself wondering if Her Majesty hits the button, or if she feels that her sense of duty must keep her watching Her Prime Minister.

  2. I think magic loop is tricky to start from scratch, so to speak, but if you already have stitches going, like a top-down sleeve, it is easier to get in order. Two circuits!! Applause!!

  3. Anonymous12:04 AM

    Please don't entirely dismiss fleece from commercial flocks. Mule and Masham ewes (the breeding flock) are sired by Bluefaced Leicesters and Teeswater or Wensleydale tups and these crossbreeds can produce a worthwhile and versatile fleece with a lovely bit of lustre to it. Really nice to work with and spin and wears well too.
    If you'd like to try some of the yarn, Halifax Spinning Mill produce it. And no, I don't have any connection with them, other than they carded some fleece for me and made a very good job of it.

    Helen (anon)

  4. I agree about the Wensleydale yarn; it's lovely. I made a shawl with West Yorkshire Spinners Wensleydale and it is wonderful. Very soft (even tho a bit hairy) and light and warm. It is not a smooth yarn so a bit of attention is needed and it doesn't show off stitch patterns very sharply, but the finished shawl is wonderful to wear. I hope those who raise the sheep are able to keep the breed going. It's nearly as soft as merino but with a lot more character and wooliness. Sorry to gush but I do want people to know about this yarn!

    1. kayT You are absolutely right - I have three skeins of it I received for Christmas last year and it is a delight to work with!

  5. Anonymous12:41 PM

    Once you get into it Magic Loop develops it's own rhythm which is quite pleasant so I hope you don't give up on it right away Jean. Maybe start with an "easy" yarn that slides easily along the cable. It is so handy as a technique. Chloe

  6. Anonymous2:21 PM

    A couple of more things -since you are knitting in a circle you can divide your work anywhere so do not do so where your stitch markers are likely to fall off the needles. Try two stitches before or after the marker, for example. Also be sure to give a tug between needles so you don't get "ladders." And like any knitting, the first few rows are always the hardest. Persevere and you should start enjoying it. I found hats in worsted weight to be a good first project. Oh, sorry, one more thing. Be aware that your gauge may change with ML. Hope some of this, at least, was helpful. Sometimes too much information can be daunting. Chloe

  7. Another thing you can do is knit as far as you can, then, pull the RH needle, leaving some of the cord, knit the next stitch and keep going. The "gap" if any, will vary from round to round. My preferred method is magic loop, though, because the tension is more even.