Wednesday, March 08, 2023

 There has been no more news from Perthshire. Helen said she would be back tomorrow. We shall see. Computer weather seems to suggest that Kirkmichael is bitter, bitter cold but dry. A few flakes of snow have fallen in London, sending the nation’s weather-writers into a tizzy of excitement. There has been nothing like that in Edinburgh yet; just much cold.


Again, I didn’t go out. I’ve been exercising conscientiously.


And knitting. If I ever knit one of these haps again – it’s not impossible – I’ll leave one corner open and knit the garter stitch border back and forth. I found myself wondering today, as I toiled through yet another enormous-seeming purl round, why purling seems so uncomfortable. I am self-taught, in early adolescence. My mother didn’t knit, and grandmothers, who both did, were distant. I drop-and-throw. I have many times tried to teach myself a more efficient method, including doing that Craftsy class on Portuguese knitting. No luck. Arne and Carlos offer some hope, perhaps. Anyway, looking at my hands, I don’t see why drop-and-throw purling should be much different, as a physical experience, from drop-and-throw knitting. But it is. And this seems to apply to other forms of purling as well.


Wordle: I allowed myself to be seduced today by the NYTimes’ subscription offer, which would include a commentary on my Wordle technique. The result is that I have lost my stats. It doesn’t really matter much. I know that my percentage was 90. It will probably be better from here on out. And my commonest score was 5. I was hoping to get the 4’s to overtake it. Maybe I can even achieve that. I was more careless in my early days, and used a lot of Jean-words. I try much harder now to make every word, after the two starters, a possible answer.


Today: Silence, so far (6:15 p.m.) from Alexander. That’s most unusual. His wife Ketki is alive, anyway: she and her sister-in-law Rachel both scored three. Mark and I got four. Thomas and Theo, the young generation, needed five.


  1. Mary Lou9:34 PM

    I often wonder about the dislike of purling. Is it because we learn to purl after we learn to knit that it seems harder? I've occasionally considered teaching a beginner class to purl before they learn to knit, but it seems a bit unfair. Perhaps if I asked them first.

  2. I haven’t yet purled Fair Isle but I don’t really mind purling otherwise. When I first learned to knit as a child purling was just as necessary so I did it without thinking negatively about it. When I came back to knitting in 1998 my goal was to knit Arans and purling was just as necessary as knitting the cable work so I thought nothing of it. When I decided to learn to knit Continental so I could knit Fair Isle with both hands purling was a bit intimidating. I perfected my Continental technique by knitting lace but it was mostly garter so purling came later. It has become more natural lately as I’m in a Haapsalu shawl phase and I find I don’t mind purling at all. Maybe it’s all in my head…..

  3. =Tamar3:27 AM

    I made the usual beginner mistakes; later I learned about combination knitting and how that method deliberately uses what other methods call a common mistake (wrapping clockwise for purl stitches, I believe), and I think it may be a more natural way for our hands to move. But I am habituated to the standard way now; to change I would have to think too much about every stitch. If I were to knit a hap I would bring the yarn over my left shoulder for rounds that were all purling (as is done in parts of South America) because I find that makes purling as easy as regular knitting if not easier. But I don't like it for knitting or mixed knit-purl work. I once heard of a TV episode that had an opening scene with a room full of knitters, each one using a different method. I'd love to have seen that! I heard that Polish knitting is very different, but no details of how.

  4. It's not the purl I minded so much as the remembering to get the yarn forward or back. I remember when I used really long straight needles that rows of purl were easy if I held the end of the rh needle under my arm and only moved the yarn and lh needle

    1. Anonymous6:38 PM

      The beauty of Norwegian purling is that the yarn stays in the back all the time -- genius! Arne and Carlos have a wonderful video of Carlos demonstrating it, if you're interested. Cam

  5. Anonymous11:16 AM

    I’ve heard and believe that purling is more irksome with English/American/throwing than with Continental (which is what I do). I don’t know about drop and throw but I think it is similar to English throwing. I think the easiest purling of all would be in garter stitch using the Portuguese method. Just a flick of the thumb all day long. But like you, Jean. I can’t get motivated enough to become comfortable with it. It just feels too alien. It’s just a good back-up plan if you get arthritis or other injury in your fingers. Chloe