Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wooly Cornwall

I've recently returned from a trip to England, Cornwall mostly, and wanted to share a couple of knitterly things.

First is a wonderful story from a visit to, of all things, an old jail.

Bodmin Jail, abandoned from its original purpose in the 1920s has been converted into a tourist attraction. It's spooky; it's depressing; it's disheartening to see how badly people were treated in those early times. Capital punishment for property crimes, exile for stealing a chicken, the treadmill, oakum-picking, dark cold damp cells without a ray of daylight. The stories of various prisoners are posted around the place and make for very unhappy reading either for the meanness of punishment for minor crimes, or the terrible evil of some of the criminals.

One story stands out a bit more cheerfully from the rest, and it concerns a knitter. Two women were sentenced to the stocks. One spent her time in hysterical weeping and wailing misery. The other was provided (by her family? friends? knitting group?) with a bale of straw to sit on and her knitting. She proceeded to pass her allotted time contentedly knitting. And finished that second sock? In the immortal words of Elizabeth Zimmermann, "Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises."

The day we hiked to the Cheesewring on Bodmin Moor,

we stopped for lunch at a nearby village pub.

The weather was uncharacteristically fine, and while dining outdoors we were visited by free-roaming sheep and their new lambs that had the run of the place.

 All just as squeee-inspiring and Olde Englishe as you could possibly ask for.

Home From Sleeve Island

Hey, know what makes great travel knitting? (compact, simple-ish) Sleeves! Especially second sleeves. It only works for sew-in sleeves, not knit-on sleeves, because the idea is to not have the bulk of a sweater body to tote around, but for my second Brocade Leaves sleeve this was the perfect chance to git 'er done while miles away from the siren call of other projects.

If you're making them in sequence, not simultaneously, it's a good idea to bring Sleeve #1 along for frequent comparison. It's not much bigger than a sock, and you want them to match, riiiight? Periods of forced concentration (aka long airplane rides) enabled me to crank along to the last repeat of the leaf pattern. I'm home now, but so close to being done that motivation is not a problem. (Update: I am done!)

So after the sleeves are done and sewn on, the remaining challenge is the cardigan edging. I'm not an enormous fan of the plain blue edge of the cropped cardigan version. In fact, there are a whole bunch of different takes on this sweater as a cardigan. Take a look on Ravelry and see what I mean.

 I'd rather continue the picot edge theme of the hem and sleeves, with maybe a little taste of the contrast colors.

And then finish the whole thing off with nordic clasps. What do you think?