Now you may think tax and treasure could go together, but that’s not what I’m talking about!
It’s February, it’s time to fill in tax forms where we live in Switzerland (as with so many things, this can vary from canton to canton…). We aren’t taxed at source, here, and as we are self-employed, our income varies from year to year, our children grow older and their situation alters along with so many other factors. Just saying, getting the taxes sorted each year takes up a certain amount of time, requires coordinaton to pull all the necessary documents together and is generally not something we look forward to, no matter how well prepared we are. These days, we are helped somewhat by the fact that the council delivers a CD along with the forms and your computer can build on the data from the previous year – yay for those with terrible handwriting LOL.
Anyway, while my husband frowns over the screen and calls for various documents either spread around the entire room or still in files downstairs, I sit around until I need to scramble for this or that, make some copies, clear up a point or provide endless post-it notes, and instead of twiddling my thumbs, it’s nice to have something to pick up and put down easily without having to do much thinking – hence it becomes the time of year for blanket knitting (I have decided). A few years ago, I ordered some beautiful yellow-green-brown heathered wool directly from Sheteland, which felt like an enormous luxury and as if I was tapping into a great heritage. I’d planned to make a quite rustic cardigan but very soon realised it was so rustic, I probably wouldn’t wear it. What to do with 12 balls of fairly heavy pure Shetland wool?! I came up with another blanket pattern (the Hourglass Throw), beautiful but a bit too daunting in size to keep me going and probably not enough wool, and so initially decided to revert to a blanket pattern I’ve made several times in cottons and which whips up in no time, Brooklyn Tweed’s “Tweed Baby Blanket”, which begins with a very innocuous diagonally worked square (sorry if you’re geometrically challenged, there!). I was then basically too lazy to actually get the pattern out and just started off with my 3 stitches, increasing one at the beginning of every row, using a couple of the rewound balls and then from a randomly chosen mid-point when a ball ran out, decreasing at the beginning of each row – which leads to a pretty even square. While absorbed in this mindless knitting with no other distractions going on and in an atmosphere of great concentration as the big man hunched over his laptop, I started getting creative… The plan is now to switch to crochet once the square is finished, something fairly plain and simple and dense until the wool runs out. After that, my mind’s eye is envisioning some decorative wool embroidery around the middle square, perhaps with hearts in the corner and something that meanders between them… I’m quite pleased with the idea, but we’ve heard that before!! Well, we will see. The colour is really difficult to photograph, but as I have some golds and browns in my living room, it could look very nice indeed in here! And now for the treasure… At Restalrig, Edinburgh, there used to be a woollen mill, or factory which went under the name Munrospun. If you google this, it becomes clear that they were marketing many patterns and yarns throughout the 20th century and there are quite a lot of old patterns available.
My mother-in-law suddenly produced three sealed packs of knitting wool by Munrospun recently, dating from the mid-1970s, which means, my friends, that they are 40 years old!! Apparently, her mother travelled to the Lake District with a friend at around this time, and brought these packs back – two of them are for a child’s jumper or cardigan, one is for a ladies knitted dress, presumably intended for my MIL and her two sons, the younger of whom was born in 1974, so I think they must date from 1975/76, though it seems the factory stopped producing in 1973 (though this is difficult to verify online). Each pack contains a finished fair-isle yoke – the interesting part! – and enough yarn to finish each garment, fine 4-ply Shetland yarn in a pleasant mid-blue, neither quite teal nor yet Prussian blue. The children’s fair-isle yokes are mainly red, yellow and blue, while the adult-sized dress features some pink. The idea is that you pick up the stitches on either side of the yoke to make the appropriate sized garment and neck ribbing, presumably using steeks (oh oh…) if you intend to make a cardigan! Whatever the reason was, whether my MIL wasn’t taken with the colour or whether she was daunted by the hours of boring stocking stitch which knitting these garments would entail, I don’t know, but they have languished for nearly 40 years, apparently without being discovered by moths or taking on any funny smells – for which I thank her!! Theoretically, I could make these all up for my daughter and her two children (the children’s jumper is unisex), but realistically, I think it may well just be too much to contemplate – years and years of plain stocking stitch… Perfect condition!
Still, what a treasure!
And now for the P.S…. you probably saw it coming, but this was just too clumsy a combination and offended my aesthetic eye, so it has all been frogged, tinked, unravelled or whatever other imaginative words there are for undone! At present, I think it will just be enough for a pretty little girl’s cardigan, Alana Dakos’ Wee Wildflower (Nevernotknitting) as it really is beautiful yarn 🙂 But first to finish some other WIPs… now I’m one down LOL