Friday 28 April 2017

Just Passing

I am getting giddy, the yarn should be delivered today.  Bless - it is the colour change blanket and I can hardly wait.  It's only 101 stitches, 182 rows and should be easy to finish (easier than the quick jacket I started then lost the pattern).  The YouTube video is here and the free pattern is here.  Of course, I've tweaked it a little, using a different yarn as I can't easily get hold of the yarn in the UK so I think I've got a slightly thinner yarn but I'm using the same size needles so it shouldn't be too out of shape.

I'm going to see how this knits up.  It's never going to be an inexpensive pattern, but it looks lovely.  I was thinking about it.  I'm sure I could tweak the numbers because it is a multiple of four stitches plus one so if I wanted a matching scarf I could do the same pattern but maybe cast on only twenty five stitches (as the tension given is 8 stitches to 10cm/4 inches so a scarf that is supposed to be 30cm or twelve inches wide would need 3x8 stitches, tweaking to accomodate the pattern repeat which is two plus one so twenty five stitches but as I'm using a different yarn it may be more stitches to 10cm which means that I would have to see how it worked out).

And then I remembered my great aunt.  I had quite a few great aunts, many unmarried and all of them variations on the theme of terrifying.  Even the nice one, who was considered safe and died at the age of 101, could terrorise the vicar if she felt it was necessary.  The one I was thinking of wasn't the one who knitted the sweater in three strands on what were then 000 needles (possibly USA 15?) but one who was a terrifying maths machine in the form of a tiny, frail, helpless old lady.  I didn't know her when she was younger (she was sixty four when I was born), but I suspect she started being a frail old lady in her twenties.  She never married and started work keeping the books of a firm in Liverpool when she was sixteen and left when she was in her seventies.  She terrorised three generations of the family firm.  When the rep came round demonstrating the new fangled adding machines, this great aunt beat them with pen and paper.  It wasn't just numbers.  She could smile sweetly at anyone and then totally demolish all pretense they had at any sort of ego or self worth and then carry happily on her way.

Maths great aunt loved to knit.  She didn't do the dull stuff though.  She liked doing intricate aran patterns.  She would placidly decide she needed a new cardigan.  Then she would sift through her patterns.  She would choose a size from one particular pattern, but she'd have a panel detail from a different pattern and a cable detail from a third and meld them all together.  The maths she would have to do to work it out must have been fearsome, with tension and pattern repeats and suchlike all figured out.  She did this for fun!

My grandmother was her sister in law and I suspect she suffered at times, but also loved her knitting and she never stuck entirely to a pattern either, although not to the same extent.  Neither did my mother, although she preferred crochet.  I think we are looking at a minimum of three generations who are just too awkward to follow instructions.  I also suspect that if I had been taught maths properly I may actually have been okay.

But I always preferred history anyway, and as a detail, the ridge pattern on the blanket reminds me of medieval ridge and furrow ploughing.  Medieval agriculture is its own kind of fascinating.  There have been some awesome bunfights over the origins of the shared field/strip ploughing used in medieval England, but their traces look so intriguing.  There's an article on Wikipedia (of course) which you can find here but it doesn't do justice to the absolute froth-at-the-mouth infighting about its roots.


  1. Goodness me....I couldn't even knit from one pattern let alone tweak or meld several patterns together-x-

  2. Groan. You had to make me look at that pattern lol. I might just have to add it to my list of 'to-do' projects. That yarn goes on sale sometimes so I might be able to get it cheaper. You're right the pattern does resemble the ridges. I hope you show us a photo as you knit it. Any day new goodies arrive is a good day!

  3. Your great aunt sounds like she was quite a character! I hope the yarn arrived and you are having fun knitting it up! Hope you take pictures of it as you knit, so we can all see the progress of the blanket. If you need any maths worked out, maybe bear can have some fun doing it for you! He might want to take up knitting, himself.