Seven Frankish Sisters…er, queens

Knitting: I’m trying to stashbust, I really really am, trust me on that one, dear reader, but sometimes my designs end up orthogonally positioned to the existing stash. And then Jon at Easyknits offers free shipping and Tott admires some yarn and and and.

Music: There’s nothing quite like Philippe Jaroussky singing the Domine Deus from one of Vivaldi’s Glorias. Well, except maybe Joshua Bell playing Brahms.

Book: I’m reading Fridtjof Nansen’s På Ski Over Grønland in a very handsome edition from the local library. Let me regale you with stories about the width of sled runners and the weights of different woods.

Oh wait, let me not do that. My personal milestone this week (as opposed to a personal millstone) does involve a book, however. The first scarves from the Not Quite Samite collection were knitted back in the summer of 2014, so this collection has been two and a half years in the making — but let’s not think about that egregious timeline cos it’s finally finished and you can now buy all 7 patterns together as an e-book!

Seven Sisters

Here are some sample pages from the book — manuscript images and medieval accounts of Merovingians accompany the eponymous scarves:

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If you feel like busting some stash and marveling at the murderous deeds of Frankish royalty, this might totally be the thing for you!

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‘I will make you brooches’

With profuse apologies to Robert Louis Stevenson.

I will knit you sweaters and socks for your delight
With Malabrigo in the morning and Kureyon at night.
I will make an afghan fit for you and me
Of Manos and Wollmeise and leftover Kauni.

I will knit my mittens, and you shall have a toque
with bobbles and Viking cables and a scarf to match it, too.
And you shall scour the roving so that it’s clean and white
as fresh snow in the morning or moonbeams at night.

And this shall be for spinning when no one else is near,
The rolags from my secret stash, of baby camel and cashmere!
That only I will knit, that only you will wear
With peeries, waves and peaks from the Isle Fair.

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Songs about spinning

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Ever since I got my Louet Julia, my spindles have seen little spinning duty. But there’s hardly any point in busting out the wheel for a single rolag…this one courtesy of Deb at my favourite Fondant Fibre. So I’m going to spend Sunday afternoon spindling while listening to folk songs.

Spinning Wheel, sung by Nana Mouskari

Mellow the moonlight to shine is beginning
Close by the window young Eileen is spinning
Bent o’er the fire her grand grandmother sitting
is crooning and moaning and drowsily knitting…

Llangollen Market, sung by Siobhan Owen

While thinking of my Owen, my eyes with tears do fill,
And then my mother chides me because my wheel stands still,
But how can I think of spinning when my Owen’s far away;
Why, Owen, did you leave me? At home why did I stay?

And while definitely not a song, I just discovered that BBC Radio 4 has a whole collection of knitting-related programs!

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Sl 2, k 1, p2sso…

The language of knitting abbreviations is a world unto its own and, as I haven’t bothered to teach my spellchecker these terms, it’s spent most of the past 5 years furiously underlining all my perceived spelling errors in red. I’ve gotten so used to it that the angry underscoring hardly registers anymore — but somehow I ended up right-clicking to see what suggestions it would make for kfbf (knit into the front, back, and front of the same stitch).

Apparently afbf, bfbf, cfbf, and dfbf are perfectly cromulent words…

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“Ein messesondag klar”

Ein messesondag klar
på gamle prestegård
Det var så fint å sjå
der gamle kirkje lå…

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February blues

The cold has finally come to Norway!!! And because I dislike wind on my face, I decided to knit a cowl: Jotunheim. Free pattern, anyone? 🙂

As you can see, dear reader, the light box produces its share of execrable photos. It does, however, make this blue — which is rather matte and blah in real life — look rich and lovely. Now, if only it could similarly transform the sport weight sock yarn into cashmere or 18 micron merino…

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If you wondered where “Jotunheim” came from, you won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve been reading Neil Gaiman’s latest: Norse Mythology, a retelling of some of the Norse myths. These are stories for reading out loud. For dark winter evenings and overcast days and too-long train trips. They are straightforward and tinged with tragedy as if the gods know that their adventures, no matter how much laughter and awe that they induce, will only lead them to Ragnarok.

On a musical note (pun totally intended), I’ve gone from The Clash to Antonio Caldara. This aria! And this aria! FROM AN ORATORIO ABOUT MEROVINGIANS! And then this whole cantata! I am quite convinced that one could await Ragnarok without worries or anxiety as long as one were not deprived of this music.

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Res nova

Hey there, dear reader! There’s no art here, none, nada! 😉 Instead, inspired by Hege, I’m here to write about knitting, music, and to a lesser extent my reading habits. There’s so much more than merely knitting to share with you and I hope that you’ll afford me the indulgence.

On the knitting front: a top-down Faroese shawl with shoulder shaping. The design is based on one I did a few years ago, the 17th of May shawl. That pentagon shape gave me the undeniable feeling of drowning in lace, and I mean that in a bad way. So the last few years have witnessed my attempts at a half-hexagon and a half-pi, and any assumption about my dissatisfaction with those shapes would be quite correct. Hopefully this iteration will be the last. It’s simple enough to have accompanied me so far through seasons 4 and 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (over the course of which Odd-Even has become a grudging fan). Now onto seasons 6 and 7 — I’ve only got about 430 nupps left to go on the edging.

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As for books, I haven’t excised fiction from my life entirely, but with the exception of my definite weakness for historical romances, my consumption of it consists almost exclusively of re-reading favourite novels from my adolescence and, of late, French comics acquired on Amazon — and what a goose chase it has been through their sites in the UK, USA, and Canada to find Le Château des Etoiles. The technical French put paid to my ambitions to translate it into Norwegian, but an English edition will be published in September. In the meantime, even if you don’t read French I’d recommend a long luxuriation in Alex Alice’s art.

And now, drum roll please, because I recently discovered The Clash. Right, you might say, so how does someone with my politics, music tastes, and access to the Internet spend 20 years knowing their name (vaguely, and often confused with The Who and The Cure and The Damned) but not their music? I’ve got no answer and no excuses, but they’ve been a soothing influence for the past 10 days. Such a description is perhaps paradoxical given that every run-through of the playlist necessitates Palestrina motets and masses to clear my head, but given the state of the truth these days, I feel no particular need to defend my contention that The Clash are both cacophonous and calming.

May the knitting gods be ever in your favour, and keep you from the frog pond.

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