Archive for December, 2011

Flower scarf pattern

18 December 2011

I made several of these flowers then put the project by for a while and had great difficulty working out what I’d done – I had to unpick quite a bit to reverse-engineer it. So I thought I should type it up in case I want to do it again.

Pattern is in US terms and I used a 4.5 hook.

Flower scarf

Chain four, slip stitch into first chain to form circle.

Chain three, nine dc into circle.

Cut and end yarn. Restart with new length of yarn in same colour, five chain into any of dc in previous row. (If you don’t end yarn and restart it’s difficult to get the dc in the next row evenly spaced.)

DC into next dc. Chain 2, dc into next dc, chain 2 and repeat round the circle – 10 dc in total, counting first 3 chain as one dc.

Slipstitch to join row. Into each gap, 1 sc, 2 hdc, 2 dc, 1 hdc (this is deliberately asymmetrical).

Fasten off first colour. Join next colour in any gap between the ten petals. Chain 5, sc into next gap, chain 5, sc into next gap and repeat round circle. SC in gap to end.

Into each chain-five space, 1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 treble, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc (seven stitches in total). Slipstitch and fasten off.

Sew in ends.

To make a scarf, I made 18 using two alternating colours and sewed them together. This made a scarf 186 cm long, wch is probably longer than needed. Each flower is 10-11cm wide, depending on stretch. I used acrylic for this (because I couldn’t find colours I liked in posher yarns).

I will link this from Ravelry.

Bias in book choice

12 December 2011

Letter in this weekend’s Guardian.

Following your article (Why is British public life dominated by men?, G2, 3 December), readers might be interested in my analysis of the choice of Christmas books in the Guardian, published the previous week. Books were chosen by 33 men and nine women. The gender imbalance in those asked to choose books might not have mattered if men and women were similar in their choice of books. But they were not. Among the books the women chose, half were by men and half by women. Among the books the men chose, three-quarters were by men and only one-quarter by women. The result was that the Guardian “recommended” 44 books by women, but 87 books by men.

Gender bias is often unnoticed. I suspect most readers will not have seen that twice as many books by men were recommended, compared with books by women. This is just one example of the way in which women’s contribution to culture is devalued and made invisible.
Jan Pahl
Canterbury, Kent

The article on lack of women is here and the book choices here.

Jan Pahl is Professor Emeritus of Social Policy at the University of Kent.

Harold’s Friends; or, The New Rector of Greythorpe (book #120)

12 December 2011

C A Burnaby, nd but BL earliest edition is 1890. The inscription is dated 1907.

Book cover

Inscription - London Road A G Church, Young Women's Bible Class, To Miss Kate Smith for regular attendance, April 1907

I like this bit of unashamed foreshadowing at the point Harold is kidnapped by gypsies:

‘I hope Harold got home before the fog began,’ he [the rector, Herbert] thought; ‘but of course he must have come back long ago. He will laugh at my losing my way in the garden.’
No, Herbert Westlake! it will be many a long and weary day before you again listen to that merry laugh, and gaze on that bright face you love so well. There are troubled waters to pass through, and severe tests of faith to endure, before you again press to your heart the boy who, unknown to yourself, has become part of your very life!

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Merle’s Crusade (book #119)

12 December 2011

Rosa Nouchette Carey, nd but the earliest copy in the BL is 1889.

Front cover

"She wept noiselessly towards us"

Merle is a strong-minded woman who wants to work although her uncle and aunt are prepared to support her on their limited income. She can’t become a governess, “‘not even a nursery governess'”, because of “the great difficulty and stumbling block of my young life”:

I had been well-taught in a good school; I had had unusual advantages, for Aunt Agatha was an accomplished and clever woman, and spared no pains with me in her leisure hours; but by some freak of Nature, not such an unusual thing as people would have us believe, from some want of power in the brain – at least, so a clever man has since told me – I was unable to master more than the rudiments of spelling. …
As a child I have lain sobbing on my bed, beaten down by a very anguish of humiliation at being unable to commit the column of double syllables to memory …
For a long time my teachers refused to admit my incapacity; they preferred attributing it to idleness, stubborness, and want of attention; even Aunt Agatha was puzzled by it, for I was a quick child in other things, could draw very well for my age, and could accomplish wonders in needlework, was a fair scholar in history and geography, soon acquired a good French accent, and did some of my lessons most creditably.
But the construction of words baffles me to this day. I should be unwilling to write the simplest letter without a dictionary lying snugly near my hand.

This early account of what seems to be something like dyslexia is interesting.

Merle becomes a children’s nurse, “‘the upper nurse, I mean; for, of course, there is an under nurse kept'”, as her employer says in embarrassment when interviewing her – “‘one feels a little uncomfortable at seeing a gentlewoman desert the ranks to which she belongs'”. Merle thinks that looking after children “would indeed be a gentlewoman’s work”.

In the picture, Merle is sitting down with one of the children in her lap. He has had a life-threatening attack of croup. His mother, who hates the social obligations of her position as the wife of a politician and philanthropist, has just come back from a party to which she went dressed as Berengaria, the wife of Richard I.

Merle is treated differently to the other servants, despite trying to know her place. She says

My mistress was very particular about this. She would never hear of my being out late alone.
‘It is all very well for Hannah or Travers [other servants],’ she would say, but in your case it is different.’

Much religion – Merle persuades her employer to live a less worldly life.

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Wonder if I’ll ever find a book where I’ve read all the books in the ads. I’ve usually read one or two. I must seek out “Miss Nettie’s Girls”.