Friday, January 01, 2021


Well, that’s January 1 pretty well disposed of. I kept asking myself, do I feel better without cider? But answer came there none.


Still no walk. Helen had a jolly evening with friends yesterday – most unusual for her – and spent the morning in bed with tea and paracetamol. It’s still very cold here, but the sun shone brightly. It was a shame not to get out. I’ll make a real effort tomorrow.


What I did do was open the Kindle on my lap, increase the type-size, and knit and read. I’ve finished “Rachel Ray” – all ends well – and advanced the central square of the hap considerably. I’ve got fewer than 100 stitches now (144 at the max) and it’s beginning to go a bit faster.


And I’ve actually got something to say. The new issue of “Knitting” has turned up (the British monthly magazine, not terribly good) with an issue devoted to Japanese knitting. At first I was disappointed because they didn’t have an article walking one through the thickets of a Japanese knitting pattern. I’ve still got “Knitter’s” for Spring ’97 (in the time of Nancy Thomas’ editorship – those were the days) – and, more surprisingly, I can still find it – in which Gayle Roehm does exactly that.


But what “Knitting” does have is a pattern by Yoko Hatta which they offer as a Japanese-style pattern, only in English; and also as an English-language pattern. It goes on for pages. But by the time you had toiled through it, you’d have grasped the elements of the Japanese system.


I had a Japanese phase, some years ago. I went to a lesson somewhere – I can visualise the scene, but can’t remember what or where the LYS was. And I’ve got a collection of Japanese pattern books and symbol dictionaries. I even knit an ear-flap hat from a Japanese pattern, back in those days. If I were to take it up again, I think the thing to do would be to get the general idea from the photograph and then use that and the charted stitch pattern or patterns to construct an over-all pattern for oneself. Swatching would be essential. Japanese patterns tend to the petite, anyway, and usually don’t offer much of a range of sizes. Many of the symbols in a charted stitch pattern are the same as the ones we use; that wouldn’t be too difficult to decipher.




I don’t know quite where to turn. I’ve still got that unread Barbara Pym. And I thought maybe Willa Cather. I learned today that the Duchess of Cornwall (=Camilla) is about the start a book club on Instagram. I’ve signed up, rather dubiously.


  1. Willa Cather is one of my favorite authors. I have reread some of her books many times. (And I am not all that keen on rereading.)

  2. We are reading "Barchester Towers." It's perfect as a page-turner - and there is the splendid tv version.

  3. I also love Willa Cather! I have read all her books. Her writing is splendid and the stories are quite good.
    I'm in the midst of a Barbara Pym, whom I love, but have neglected until she was mentioned here. Once again, thanks, Jean, for not only knitting but as a source of good reads!

  4. It was at K1 on Victoria Street, now sadly gone. I had made the journey from Aberdeen to participate.

  5. I toyed with the idea of doing a line of patterns a blend of Japanese-style but in English. Never made it to a real pattern, but I did have a good time learning how to read the Japanese patterns and figure out the basic symbols. I was browsing the Persephone Books website and ended up starting The Making of a Marchioness, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Mindless kindle reading while knitting it certainly is.

  6. As you know I am much too lazy to knit other people's patterns but I do like my Japanese stitch dictionaries! I also like the fact that the powers which govern such things in Japan have insisted on consistency. It would help so much if we did the same.