A Reply to the “Knitting Mania”

I happened to see this in my work twitter feed:

So of course I needed to find the whole poem. ‚ÄúThe Knitting¬†Mania‚Ä̬†has been transcribed by The Knitting Genealogist. The original can be found in the Gale database¬†19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II. (Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian¬†(Southampton, England), Saturday, December 11, 1847; pg. 7; Issue 1269.¬†Sourced from the British Library.¬†Gale Document Number:¬†R3208548744).

[After I posted this, I learned from meta-cat that it was reprinted in the “latest issue of Knitting Traditions, a Piecework special issue from Interweave Press.”]

A response was published a few weeks later, which I have transcribed below.

Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian (Southampton, England), Saturday, January 01, 1848; pg. 7; Issue 1272. 19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II. Sourced from the British Library. Gale Document Number: R3208786495

A Reply to the “Knitting Mania,”

My knitting friends have taken, sir, a great offence I find.
At these remarks addressed to them‚ÄĒthey think them most unkind;
And have requested me to write immediately, through you,
A short reply to him, and all the “anti-knitters” too.

The nobler sex (?) may smoke cigars as often as they please,
And waste their time and money in such low pursuits as these;
And yet the innocent employ of knitting they condemn,
And women must not work in peace without consulting them.

But while this grumbling brother tries his sisters to deride,
I fancy all the industry exists upon their side;
I don’t suppose he works too much, or else he would not feel
So sadly vex’d and discomposed at their perpetual zeal.

And after all, why does he thus the “knitting mania” blame?
Is it that women ought to have a nobler work and aim?
Is it that they should cultivate their minds with ardent care,
And of the wealth of intellect possess their proper share?

Ah, no! such blessed truths as these to him are dull and dim;
He murmurs that they do not knit nice comforters for him!
He frets because a button is not always in its place;
Oh! selfishness is plainly stamp’d on his fault-finding face.

I speak with boldness, sir, because I am myself exempt
From this sad knitting which excites our poet’s stern contempt;
I mention this to prove I am a fitting judge in strife
And not to recommend myself as his appropriate wife.

His wife! oh no! I’d rather be unmarried all my days,
Or practice knitting till I won all his four sisters’ praise,
Then wed myself with one who deems that women’s loveliness
Consists in mending day by day his articles of dress!

Pray, Mr. Editor, can you reveal this grumbler’s name?
I have no doubt he kept it back for very fear and shame;
Ladies, whether they knit or not, such cowardice detest,
And therefore I subscribe myself,

Yours truly,
Katherine West


Playing with dyes

2012-08-001In late June, M had a use it or lose it vacation day, so I went up and we played around with an assortment of Gaywool dyes that she had acquired. Neither of us had every used these dyes before. Neither of us wanted a measure carefully kind of day, so we messed around to see the colors. We did make small samples and we did take notes on what we did. I don’t have the notes, so this is from memory. The colors we had were: Azalea, Orchid,¬†Mulberry, Cyclamen, Watermelon, PawPaw, Tomato, Madder Orange, Daisy, Bluegum, Blueberry, Lucerne, and Cedar.

2012-08-010Batch 1 was on my portion of Dolly, the Texel sheep. I used something like Azalea, Orchid, PawPaw, Tomato, Madder Orange.  It looked like there was still dye left, so I added  grey wool (1/2 Romney, 1/4 Corriedale 2012-08-011cross, 1/8 Karakul, 1/8 Suffolk cross) that had been hanging out here for years (that I got at a guild annual meeting from Robin, who had bought the fleece years before and used what she wanted).

2012-08-007Batch 2 was some of M’s Dolly fleece. She used something like Mulberry, Cyclamen, Watermelon, Bluegum, Blueberry. We used the same grey wool in the exhaust bath but we turned off heat when we went to lunch. No color went into the wool and we redyed it.

2012-08-002I think batch 3 was Daisy, Bluegum, Blueberry, Lucerne, and Cedar. This was on a batt of white wool, perhaps Corriedale. 2012-08-004Exhaust bath was the same grey wool, except we added mordant because it seemed like the blue wasn’t getting picked up. I don’t recall what mordant.

2012-08-008Batch 4 was largely some handspun yarn labelled “I didn’t spin this” that became much prettier after the dyes. M tried an orderly choice of colors, thinking in a circle. We had been thinking linearly before, which meant the first and last colors often were not good next to2012-08-009 each other. We did an inadequate job of tieing the skein so M wound up with a bit of a mess and I didn’t get photos in August. I think this was with the skein. And I think this blue one is the exhaust bath, with mordant added.

2012-08-006Batch 5 was a bit of an attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, trying the colors we didn’t like so well. It worked OK on a batt of some white wool. The grey wool was below and the batt didn’t allow even penetration of the dye. 2012-08-005And these colors were on grey so not so great. They do a look a lot better dry than they did wet. I know we use Daisy, and maybe¬†PawPaw, Tomato, Madder Orange, and watermelon

2012-08-013M and I got together again in August to start carding the wool. It didn’t take quite that long for the wool to dry, but it felt a bit like it took that long. We started with batch 3 exhaust. It was crocking terribly. The batts look nice, though. In order to be more even, they will need more passes to mix them together. We may work with 4X and mix gradually from blue to green. But that’s a lot of carding and we haven’t gotten back to it yet.

Fall 2012 Spin-Off

The new Spin-Off came a couple days ago.¬† A few things of note — I liked the idea of using handspun as in overshot weaving demonstrations. Only small amounts are needed for bands in overshot, and each band can use a different treadling. The group designed it so the results could be cut apart and sewn into small bags. This seemed like a good, collaborative demo for our group. There was also a scarf made of novelty yarn (specifically coiled yarn), made by sewing the the yarns together using a water soluable stabilizer. This seems like a clever way to show of yarn of this sort.

The issue also had a list of helpful websites, which was largely youtube videos. I think Interweave really ought to put this on their site because typing in a bunch of youtube URLs is really irritating. But since I did type them in, here they are (with abbreviated descriptions). I haven’t watched them yet, but now may remember them when I want to review one of these techniques.

Back to knitting. (At this point, it would be nice if DJ likes the end result, but it doesn’t really matter because this pattern and yarn are exactly right for what I need right now.)

How is it September already?

I was a complete dud at the Ravellenics. It required too much concentration to do what I chose and August was not good for that. The little knitting I did had to be easy, comfort knitting.

2012-08-017A couple weeks ago I was on vacation and bought some yarn to make something for my sister. I bought Paca-Peds H-T sock yarn with the intention of making a small shawl or scarf (disappointing her that I didn’t feel like making socks). I hadn’t realized that it was actually 2 hanks – one small one in a solid color specifically for the heels and toes. I lost the label, but I think it is mixed berries, with pink as the contrast. (I’m including links both to Ravelry and also elsewhere since my sister isn’t on Ravelry and I want her to be able to see something).

Looking around Ravelry for patterns, I saw A Breath of Fresh Air (also here) and¬†Wingspan (more examples here). I decided on Wingspan.¬† I started knitting, but I’m about to rip it out. The pattern looks really cool with long sections of color, but this yarn has short runs, which I don’t think will be as good. The skein is 2 yards, with about 17-18″ navy, 10-11″ mulberry, 8″ pink, repeated.

Looking at Ravelry again, I have decided to try Multnomah (pattern here).