Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Mark of Thanks

I love a mystery. The written sort, especially when it's real Golden Age, or set in that era. There are some wonderful authors doing the latter: Carola Dunn, Kerry Greenwood, and Rhys Bowen, for example. (Daisy Dalrymple, Phryne Fisher, and Lady Georgie.)

The most recent in Ms. Bowen's 30s series is Naughty in Nice, and it's as charming and interesting as all of her books are. I recently won a copy in a drawing from a librarian who reviews large numbers of books online and features them on her blog. She then very kindly gives them away in drawings. No strings attached. Not only that, they are sent with remarkable speed, and a hand-written note.

I wanted to send her something in return. Not another book, goodness knows how many she must have, not even including the ARC (advance reading copies) and other review copies she has lying around, but something book-related. As I knit, I thought a knitted bookmark would do the trick.

Firmly knitted lace, with a touch of starch, in fact. So I've been noodling around with various small "knitting pins" and crochet cotton. I started with American size 4s. Much too big. And quite floppy.

Then I choose the next extreme. I dug some Victorian steel DPNs out of my needle stash. They're so tiny that I don't have a needle gauge to size them, but at a guess they're at least 000s. Perhaps 0000s. Or smaller? (I have sewing needles that are thicker.)

The resultant fabric was beautiful, but it was murder just to make a knit stitch, to say nothing of a SSK. I couldn't even get beyond Row 8 of the pattern.

So I decided to slide back to the middle (in more ways than one); the first needles were from the 1960s, the second pair ca. 1860, and these needles are ca. 1930. These are size 15 Aero Knitting Needles, from England. They're coated and nicely pointed and slippery. The fabric is firm, but a touch of starch won't go amiss. And last night I sailed through the first two repeats with no trouble at all, so I think I'm on to something!

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