Sunday, 10 February 2008


A friend mentioned to me the other day that someone she knows is expecting triplets. "That's plenty to be going on with" as my Great-Aunt Mabel might have said. Just after that there was a picture in the paper of a "triplet"of Welshmen who were celebrating something like their 68th birthday. This must be pretty unusual. The only other triplets I know of are Len, Con and Margot, daughters of my favourite heroine Josephine Maynard (nee Bettany) in Elinor M. Brent Dyer's wonderful Chalet School stories. This trio of triplets started me thinking about the number of threes in my knitting at the moment. Just after I finished my last entry my package arrived from Jamiesons of Shetland. I was very impressed because they managed to match the lot number for the pink wool I need to complete my North Star Arctic Lace scarf. So I've been drawn away from my cardigan-designing into almost completing that project this week. It's got lots of threes: 63 stitches, 9 repeats of the star pattern and I'm using three different colours. I've got one more star to do and then I need to decide what to do about finishing it off. At the moment the lovely Mogit brown shade will be hidden at the back of the neck when it is worn and I want to make more of a feature of it as it really works well with the Candyfloss pink. My spinning teacher Carole suggested that I add a picot or lace edge in the Mogit which I think is an excellent idea. If I was starting again I would do the garter stitch border at each end in it but I can't go back now and an edging is the next best thing. This says something about the advantages of planning all the way through before you begin; on the other hand there are always ways out of a difficutly. There is also something to be said for seeing what works as one goes along, which is what I'm finding with the cardigan design.

There are lots of threes around in this project as well. I'm working on the two fronts and the back in tandem (is there a word for in threedem?) and I'm also doing blocks of colour in groups of three using a slip stitch design from Alison Ellen's The Handknitter's Design Book. I've set the design up to the point where I need to shape for the armholes and I'm now planning what to do after that. I'm really enjoying working on this project and trying out different ideas that at the moment are working well. Rowan Wool Cotton is a delight when it's knitted although like all cotton yarns it can be quite hard on the hands while you're actually knitting with it. My skin gets very dry and my hands ache. My third project this week, has helped counter these difficulties: learning to spin.
Up to my arms in fleece with Carole and another spinner, Jill, was a great way to spend a Friday. No problem with dry hands when they are covered in lanolin! The Oxford Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers has loaned me a lovely Ashford Joy spinning wheel and sold me a beautiful Jacob's shearling fleece. Carole had Jill and I feeling the fleece for its different textures and characteristics, then I learnt how to tease out the wool ready for carding rolags. Then there was fifteen minutes or so of just treadling before actually starting to spin. The end result looks very slubby and lumpy to me but Carole tells me that it will be just fine once I've knitted a square with it. I need to keep practising teasing, carding and spinning to get more familiar with the process - some pictures next time. And of course there are my other two projects to continue with. Then there's the rest of the wool that arrived from Shetland: wonderful shades of Moorit Brown and Natural Black and the exquisite Cobweb Ultra 1-ply lace in Natural White. Not to mention the rest of my enormous stash... But that leads me into projects four, five and six, and onwards to infinity. At the moment three at once seems plenty to be going on with.