But one thing about this issue from Spring 1995, twelve years ago, struck me as I leafed through it again. Not a single web address. Not a single email. Hundreds of lovely colourful advertisements, dozens of articles, features, suggestions, query letters - but nowhere that wonderful link which enables us to check instantly, send an answer, order some yarn, see the colour better, download a pattern, make a new friend, sign up for a camp or a class, discover a whole new way of trying a pattern or stitch.
In that spring of 1995 I had returned to academia, actually to the hallowed halls of Oxford. A fairly demanding job I'd been doing (getting independence back for an exceptionally small English county which had lost it and been absorbed into a neighbour twenty years earlier) had been successfully completed (cheers outside the House of Lords at midnight). I'd been thanked and paid off. And I decided to have a really really self-indulgent treat and sign up for a Masters in Local History at Oxford. (Yes, it does take quite a lot of the readies to sign up for anything at Oxford, not to mention rather respectable previous references. But it was worth it. Oh boy was it worth it. Wandering down Broad Street dressed in charity shop rejects, with your arms full of books knowing their authors were probably living a few streets away, it was heaven.)
The point however is that at Oxford they were just about getting into the Internet in a big way. The world's best young brains were working things out and then being headhunted to Silicon Valley or New York. But before they left they gave us lectures on how to use this new medium in our studies.
It was all very very new to me and I didn't understand the half of it back then (having a brilliant scientific mind doesn't always mean you can convey your ideas to a class of mature students, as I've discovered), but one thing excited me a lot. 'You'll be able to visit libraries without having to travel,' they said. And downloaded (very slowly, this was 1995) a picture of an incredibly rare medieval text in the Vatican library to prove it. Now this, I thought, is a good idea. Of course I then discovered that you couldn't actually open the books and see spiders scuttling away into the darkness, and was disappointed, but I was hooked all the same.
Now if you've come to the Net fully-fledged so to speak, and have always known you could look up lists or or products in different countries at the click of a mouse, then you mightn't realise just what a leap that was. Heavens above, when I wanted a special text in my earlier student days (always assuming I was able to find out that such a text existed), I had to order it through Inter Library Loan which could take up to a year and usually did. Now - but you know what it's like now. The world is your oyster, but an awful lot easier to open that the said bivalve.
And what goes for academic study goes tenfold for knitting, doesn't it! Sitting here this morning with the sun shining (briefly) outside and the daffodils blowing in West Cork, I can check colourways at Fleece Artist, yarn outlets in San Diego, the weather up in Lapland (Lene, hope you are feeling better, I've had that bug too and it is taking forever to go), top-down sweater patterns at Mary Maxim (well I could if her page wasn't down right now), besides getting advice on toe-up socks and downloading a new shawl design. Later on I'll be listing the spring cotton and linen yarns on eBay and seeing who wants them. With pictures. And I'm telling you all this on my weblog. The friends I've made across the world in the past seven or eight months. Who have all shown me their own pictures and the things they've made.
A whole new world. And it would be a bit hard to go back now, wouldn't it? Can you imagine trying to manage without being able to order, check, see, confirm, get ideas, chat, show? Those of us in Europe probably wouldn't even know about Knitter's, much less IK. I know I've said it before, but we are in the midst of a new technological revolution which will change the world - is changing it - even more than the invention of the steam engine and the Spinning Jenny. And it has made so much difference to the knitting world, hasn't it? I know it has made seismic changes in mine and made so much more creativity possible.
I don't know how long it was after that Spring 1995 issue that Knitter's began to move into the Internet world. It would be fun to check. If you have all yours in date order, you might look it up.
The Celtic Vest moves slowly onward. For some reason the fronts are giving me much more trouble than the back. It has something to do with the patterning in orderly rows and the increasing/decreasing at irregular intervals. I've had to frog back several times (although the gripping Ireland/England rugby match yesterday, played for the first time ever in historic Croke Park, might have had a lot to do with some of those errors) and am sick to death of it by now.
Here it is so far: the back, one front, and about a quarter of the second front. (Hey, Dez, Angeluna, tried your hints of photographing red against charcoal grey, and it worked!)
But just to show that an image only tells half the tale, here is the full picture uncropped:
Muffy was fascinated by the vest and says she wants to make one just like it. In green maybe. Don't know myself if she'll be up to the Lavold motifs, but it would be a mistake to prevent her trying, wouldn't it? You never know what a dog can do when she's really keen.
It gets tiring working on the same project on and on, doesn't it? I know several of you feel exactly the same. If it weren't for Angeluna hounding me on relentlessly - which reminds me -
Oh Ange-l-u-u-n-a, would you be a sweetheart and just nip out and see if it's stopped raining? Thanks pet. I'd go myself, but I'm at a tricky stage on the computer...
Now, QUICK! Gather round the rest of you before she gets back. She won't be long. Look at this.
This is a swatch for the Berroco Tierra in my hand-dyed cashmere/silk. Isn't it gorgeous?
Actually it's half of the front cast on already. I reasoned that since each pattern repeat is 18 sts and you work one pattern before casting on the next 18, I might as well keep going on the swatch and make use of it. It is delectable. You do have to use a cable needle for the twist, though, as it's 5 sts over 5, which is a bit too many to just slip off the needles and twist free. Hate using cable needles. They take up so much time.
Whoops, she's back. Eyes front.
Had a nasty shock the other day - a yarn customer emailed to say that the stuff I'd sent was underweight and under yardage. Horrified and of course sent off more right away, but HOW did that happen? I always wind on a few more grams every time I make up a skein, to make sure they get full weight and then some. Rushed out and bought another scales, digital this time, to double check against my trusty mechanical one, and have done some hard thinking on the yardage question. Now this is another issue I've raised here before, and you've given me some useful hints, but can anyone tell me how to measure the yardage in a skein exactly? I suppose I could leave the yardage off entirely, but I think it's very useful to know it, as otherwise you can't assess how much you need for a particular pattern. I looked out my lovely niddy noddy that I bought on Quadra Island last autumn, and found that one wrap all around measures 2m exactly. I'll try counting as I skein (as long as the dogs don't distract me and I lose count half way through a huge skein of laceweight). Other suggestions very much welcomed. I feel like a guilty criminal, misleading innocent customers!
In fact I'm worried about even listing any on eBay tonight. But I have some lovely cotton/linen blends that are so right for spring that I really want people to have them. Dilemma.
So worried was I about the yarn shortfall that I took Sophie down to Killarney woods yesterday afternoon to relax the brain (mine, not hers - she doesn't have that problem).
It's still pretty brown there, as you can see, but the mossy trees were beautiful
and every rock had its rich coverlet of moss and ivy and tiny plants.
Nature is always a beautiful healer. Came back determined to do better. Now I shall skein up some of those gorgeous linen/cottons and just to show I'm determined, I'll take that seductive denim cotton slub and skein that up for eBay too. That way I can't start a new project in it!