Saturday, 20 December 2008


Not an entirely random curse. Last year sometime I came across a knitter - and I can't for the life of me remember if it was in a book or on a blog - who pointed out that actually we are pretty hard on ourselves these days. Once over a knitter would have had a set of needles - that's right, one set. A local yarn - that's right, one yarn, even if it was spun and coloured in a variety of ways, and pretty much one pattern to work from. Yes, the knitter would add variations, but that long-ago crafts person would have made the garment that was made and worn in their area: fair isle say, or a fisherman's ganseys. We want to be able to do it all. Knitting from around the world? Bring it on! Yarns in every fibre and every thickness? Yes please. Precision engineered needles in rare woods? I want them all! Not to mention techniques, fashions and constructions.

The connection with fishhooks? Well, according to the SF writer, Robert Heinlein, so far as archaeologists can tell, about five thousand years ago, on the banks of the River Nile, some smart soul invented the fish hook. The first fish hook was a simple curve. It's difficult to be sure of timescales when going so far back, but, again so far as archaeologists can tell, approximately one thousand years went by and then some bright spark came up with the idea of putting a barb on the fish hook. One thousand years. I say those words to myself sometime when I'm being faced with yet another computer programme that I have to suddenly become expert in at work. One thousand years, before somebody somewhere altered the original model with one modification.

So I needn't feel too bad that I can't do garter stitch short row sleeves, need I? After all, it was my first attempt at a sideways construction and sleeves done that way. It was pretty near inevitable that the first attempt would end up in the dustbin. The sleeves look fine, the jacket looks fine, but clearly they don't fit together!

I'm not going to do any more vintage patterns, not until I'm better at knitting. There's so little help in them. If there had been a schemata, I could have checked the first sleeve, and I'd have known it was far too large. Because there's no measurement given to check the sleeve against, I can't begin to work out how to get to the right measurement. What is it? What am I aiming for? I might keep this one in a dark cupboard for a while, just because I'd like to know what I did wrong, and the answer might pop up one day. The good thing about the sleeves being so wrong, is that I don't have to tackle the pockets and crotchet trimming - all of which threatened to consume hours and still look naff.

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