Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chilly?

I leave for Boston early tomorrow morning so that I can, if all goes as planned, speak in the evening to the new Common Cod Fiber Guild at the MIT Stata Center at 7 pm. If you're in the vicinity of Cambridge, do drop in. Guido, who is in charge of the whole megillah, said I could talk about whatever I want, so I've decided to talk about history and fiduciary policies of the Hanseatic League in the Eastern Baltic.

No. I'm kidding. But wouldn't that be hysterical?

If you haven't seen it yet, the new Knitty is up and I made something for it. Amy Singer asked if I wanted to write a column and she said it could be about whatever I want, so it's about the history and fiduciary policies of the Hanseatic League in the Eastern Baltic.

Omigod, that's even funnier the second time, isn't it?

Victorian PatternsNo, seriously, I have this new column in Knitty. It's about working with patterns from historic sources, which means those super-ancient knitting books that look like the typesetters just picked up the case of letters and threw it at the page, then tossed in an extra sprinkling of semicolons. I love those, with the half-sick love only a born masochist can muster. (I even put an essay about it in the little book.)

1840 NightcapThing is, a lot of the patterns–once you get past the rampant errors and the unfamiliar language–yield quite lovely objects. This issue's column offers a men's nightcap pattern from 1840, with a fancy lace edging that could be extracted and used as the cast on edge of anything you think would be enhanced by a fancy lace edging.

I'm terribly surprised to find the pattern is already in a bunch of Ravelry queues. It makes me wonder if, in our era of higher energy costs, nightcaps are due for a revival.

Is there a new environmental campaign in this? Save the earth! Knit a nightcap! Maybe I could get this on the "Today" show. I quite fancy a tete-a-tete with Matt Lauer.

79 comments:

Stitchy said...

With any luck, I'll see you tomorrow! Yay!

no-blog-rachel said...

I used to use a nightcap when going through chemo - though that was in Vermont and it's a tad chillier than CA. I wasn't used to the amount of heat you lose through your head when it's not covered! Now that the hair's fully back my brain would probably melt.

It's a beautiful pattern - I don't plan on making the nightcap but that edging could be used on a shawl I'd wear when coming to listen to you discuss the history and fiduciary policies of the Hanseatic League in the Eastern Baltic...

Nancy said...

Considering heating bills will be skyrocketing, your nightcap could save the world.

Riin said...

I've always had a fondness for semicolons; they're just cool.

Elizabeth L in Apex, NC said...

I can totally see one of these nightcaps in my sister-in-law's guest room. She's into the old English styling, and it fits perfectly. Not that I have time to knit stuff that isn't going to be worn (or even seen) often...

Can't wait to read the article!

Violinknitter said...

Well, since you're not going to give a talk about the history and fiduciary policies of the Hanseatic League in the Eastern Baltic, and you didn't write a Knitty article about it, the least you could do is give us a blog post about it. Oh, wait, never mind... I'm probably one of only five people who would find that remotely interesting. But surely you could bring in wool somewhere in the discussion!

Carole Knits said...

I've knit a few historic patterns for our Civil War reenactments and they are challenging to interpret, that's for sure. I love the night cap and think my husband would be smashing wearing it an event!

m1k1 said...

I have a reproduction of Mrs Beeton's book of Needlework, which has some delights. I've extracted a few edgings from it, so far,

a simple yarn said...

Heating, schmeating! Those nightcaps are a Dickensian fashion statement. Had a lovely old UK gent visit us in Dublin and he made his morning appearance in a striped-knee-length nightshirt seeking the first cup o' tea. Guess they still make 'em in the British Isles. Along with his mutton chop sideburns and beard he looked positively Victorian...or would that be Edwardian? Anyway, I'd say the only thing missing from that startling diorama was a knit nightcap. Wouldn't you agree?

Anonymous said...

Go ahead, give us your Hanseatic insights. While on the 2006 VK knitting tour I joined a walking tour of Bergen (Norway) with a local guide who gave us an amazing picture of life in that town during the Hanseatic era-- while looking at beautiful buildings from the period.
Btw, I could have used a nightcap to keep warm while undergoing chemo. Instead I draped a flannel pillowcase over my head-- during a California summer to boot! I don't see how bald men survive without wearing hats at all times.
Gretchen

Rudee said...

One benefit of long hair is being warm on a cold night. That said, I've been cutting my hair shorter and shorter in an effort to get all the color out of my hair and grow in the real color, gray. I've been considering how cold I'll feel this winter but, I think you've solved the problem for me. Thanks. BTW, I'd come and listen to you speak about anything.

Jenna said...

Socks and a nightcap in bed - not the sexiest look my husband ever sports... but if he's warm I'm happy. (Very happy really, when he's warm he radiates heat so I get warm as well. Works out nicely)

Lovely pattern - I will likely end up on my head (can't see him sporting lace) but I do think I'm going to have to knit this up.

rams said...

I, too adore semicolons, even though Vonnegut called them "hermaphroditic transvestites."

Wait for it.

meezermeowmy said...

Umm, I'm not sure Matt Lauer is up to discussing male bedclothes with you! VBG!

'tis a handsome garment. Not surprised many want to knit it! Oh, and yes, I read the article. Also well done!

Lori said...

So does this mean that you are working your way through the twelve volumes of Weldon's?

Cindy said...

Oh, Franklin, you would so overshadow poor little Matt. I love the nightcap, but with naturally curly I so do not need one.

soxanne said...

I think Matt Lauer would rather talk with you about the history and fiduciary policies of the Hanseatic League in the Eastern Baltic, but what would I know?

Off to read the new Knitty...are any of the calendar boys going to be wearing a nightcap?

Sue said...

go for it!
Make a matching set.

=Tamar said...

I wore a nightcap all last winter. It was amazingly helpful. It wasn't a bespoke nightcap, just a beanie.

I'm fond of semi-colons, too.

Wouldn't the Hanseatic League have controlled the wool trade as well? How much did that affect Baltic knitting styles?

Kristen said...

Hey, I've been to Tallinn and had lectures on the history and fiduciary policies of the Hanseatic league there. It wasn't all that bad. ;)

la takahashi said...

But specifically the history and fiduciary policies of the Hanseatic League in the Eastern Baltic during the early 13th century on Tuesdays in spring. Good luck on your talk wish I could be there. :O)

Benita said...

Well, this is just too freakin' cool! My degree-in-Medieval-History husband is going to get one of these made for him for this winter. Considering he's getting a wee bit more than a little thin on top, he'll love it.

Thank you!

Tenacious said...

All these semi-colon lovers joined by knitting, too sweet!

Trish said...

Why yes, it was even funnier the second time.

Mary Ellen said...

I'll be there tomorrow night too! So excited!!

Anonymous said...

It was funnier the second time!

Tini said...

AM I'm the only one who would love to have heard you talking about the Hanse in the Baltic. (since I'm living close to a couple of hanseatic cities in the western part of the baltic that seems to be very interesting....)

JoVE said...

Having visited Lubeck (imagine the umlaut, please) last fall, including the most wonderful town museum there, I would also be interested in the Hanseatic League lecture. Unfortunately, I live nowhere near Boston.

and I did laugh. Both times.

Geek Knitter said...

I love the nightcap, I just can't see persuading my husband to actually wear it!

Rosi G. said...

Congratulations, cariño! You did a fantastic job on the column.

I also got an email from Knitting Daily saying I'll get a free Panopticon tote if I preorder the li'l book. I'M SO THERE!! I'll be the envy of everybody on the Q train!

Judy B said...

Love the night cap. We often turn down our heat in the winter (can get to -42 degrees C outside) at night to save energy and money. Often wearing a hat is the only solution to sleeping through the night. I'll be casting this on right away.

Meredith said...

Reading through the other comments has made me realize that I have no particular feelings, one way or the other, toward semicolons. I do, however, quite like the word fiduciary.

Also, I hope you have a guide (person, not a book) for the Stata Center. Although it's got what are pretty much the nicest lecture halls on MIT's campus, I never really did figure out how to navigate that remarkably Suessian building.

Jo Anne W-M said...

the history and fiduciary policies of the Hanseatic League in the Eastern Baltic - I think you must read too much!
Matt Lauer could really use one of those night caps. His hair is getting pretty sparse. Maybe you should send him one.

some random redhead said...

Wow. Shows how much I know. I didn't know that fiber grew on the common cod.

mwknitter said...

Years ago, when I was first divorced & raising 2 kids on my own, I lived in an apartment (2900 block of Sheffield - fancy condo now I'm sure). I would have loved a nightcap then, In fact I may make it now. I love a cold bedroom with lots of warm covers but what to do about one's head is always a problem especially for those of us with short (or no) hair.

mwknitter said...

forfot top mention that the apartment had space heat which meant NO heat in the bedrooms!

Vicki Stammer said...

Dearest, darlingest Franklin,

I just received Interweave's email and ordered your book. Cannot wait to see it and to stuff that little tote bag full of wool!

We have our very own knitting Thurber, and we just couldn't be more pleased.

Congratulations on this auspicious event in your career!

Vicki Stammer

amysue said...

It's good to know I'm not the only one who promptly printed the pattern and put it in my queue. My husband shaves his head and likes to wear something at bedtime in the winter-he'll love it!

daisy in the shenandoah valley said...

Go, Franklin! You're talking at my alma mater. Course III, Class of '83 (that'll mean something to the nerds there, but not to the rest of the world) Any chamce it'll be taped?

Yes, please, a post on the Hanseatic League. I would be fascinated.

Ellen-Mary said...

I pre-ordered the 'little book' months ago. I have a Fibertarian tote bag I use for my art class. And honestly, Franklin, I would listen to you speak about the history and fiduciary policies of the Hanseatic League. If anyone could make that entertaining it's you.

Ann (yet another) said...

My Dad uses a watchcap I made him as a nightcap. Go figure.

Alas, I am known for my abuse of the semi-colon. Sigh.

OTOH, I'm in for a discussion of the Hanseatic League any day.

Hester from Atlanta said...

At a fairly young age my grandfather became almost completely bald. Every year for Christmas for the 15 years of his life, my mother would sew him a sleep hat out of flannel - usally red. It was always a cone shaped hat, very similar in shape to the one in your picture. He said it was something he looked forward to receiving every year and it was always his favorite Christmas gift. How smaltzy was this!!! Best - Hester from Atlanta

Carie said...

Save the Earth, knit a nightcap has a good ring to it - I think you may have something there! I really enjoyed your article in Knitty and I'm looking forward to the little book and the next Knitty

Anonymous said...

I can't believe all of these comments are about the nightcap! How about those men?!!

Franklin, I will arm wrestle you for the first guy in that line up, and believe me, I will WIN!!

See you at Yarn Con.

Leslie said...

And we got to see the famous, gentlemanly Tom in Knitty too. Lovely edging - I'm already planning a little something with it.

Have fun in Beantown - bring warm clothes!

Anonymous said...

Sign me up for the lecture on the Hanseatic League. As I re-read Buddenbrooks every 4-5 years (and I'm getting old so that's a bunch of readings), I can see dear old Herr Kroger in his nightcap.

obscure on Ravelry

emilyoboe said...

I am one of the queue-ers; I plan to knit it as a cap of the non-night variety! also I look forward to your future unearthings of old patterns.

Trish in MD said...

Hi Franklin,

I have a question about the pattern.

There's an abbreviation that appears throughout, SKP. I checked the Knitty abbreviations list and I see SK2P and SSK, but no SKP. Am I missing something? Thanks for the clarification...

Trish

Judy in Indiana said...

I can hear it now, you saying something like "Matt, YOU don't know the history of knitting, only I know the history of knitting." And later you can get all snippy with Oprah and jump on her couch.

Except you have much better manners than some people, and would never do such things.

Knittingand said...

The topic of your column is one VERY dear to my heart. I just finished a brioche pillow from a pattern written in 1846. As soon as it was finished my teenage daughter ran away with it :)

Here it is in my Ravelry projects
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Knittingand/for-a-brioche

Knittingand said...

er, the last word in that url is "brioche"

It's cut off when I look at it

Lynda the Guppy said...

I always have to cover my head when I go to bed. If the top of my head gets cold, I get a migraine. All the women in my family have this same problem. LOLOL.

claudette-malta said...

You make my day when I switch on the computer and find a new post, even if on the history and fiduciary policies of the Hanseatic League in the Eastern Baltic... love the nightcap but it's still sooooo hot this part of the world.

Becky said...

I'm so jealous of those Bostonians! I was even considering sending some of my non-knitting Wellesley friends...but figured they'd look at me weird. I'm totally thinking about that nightcap but instead of chilly winder nights, it would be more for the ridiculous AC in the summer - I am in Florida after all...

Knit Purl Gurl said...

The nightcap is gorgeous! I can't wait to read your column! Oh, BTW- I preordered your book (and am getting the free tote to go along with it) and can't wait to embellish my coffee table with it. :)

String Bean said...

I love that pattern. I'm knitting it with some purple Rowan. It's on Ravelry.

kmkat said...

Nightcap: maybe. It gets pretty darned cold here in northern WI in January, and we tend to conserve on the heat.

I just pre-ordered the little book from Interweave. Yay!

Alwen said...

Yahoo Historic Knit group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HistoricKnit/

2200 members, more (so far!) than even the Ravelry Historic Knitting group.

And just think if the Hanseatic league had supported the Dutch colony in what became Manhattan, rather than jerking it around on a short chain. We might be breien instead of knitting. (See Russell Shorto's Island at the Center of the World.)

Ooops. Er. I guess they didn't say I could talk about whatever I want.

Elizabeth said...

I think I would love to see a tete a tete with Matt Lauer...and a fancy nightcap might just have to go on my ravelry list. To bad I was in Cambridge last week and not this week!

alligator said...

I loved the article in Knitty! I really liked that you pointed out that the edging could be used in lots of other projects and not just the nightcap! That was really clever.

Diane said...

Fabulous article Frankin, and I love, love, love the Nightcap. I want to make it for my boss as a gag gift for Christmas this year. Where in the world did you get the Steinbach Wolle Maxi though? I've been searching the web and coming up short. I suppose any fingering weight good quality cotton would work (like Dale Stork maybe). What do you think?

~ Best, Di

Knitting Painter Woman said...

Are you related to Barbara Tuchman? Or Peter Gay. I'm sure either could (have) given you a run for your money on the Hanseatic league.

Guido from Boston said...

Your lecture on history and fiduciary policies of the Hanseatic League in the Eastern Baltic was truly enlightening. I can't wait to have you back someday to talk about ancient ruins and architecture of the mayan people.

oh yeah.. you totally rocked it tonight.

Guido

The Gravelcat said...

Read your article in the new Knitty :) I live in the tropics, so this nightcap would be considered fancy dress. However I love the yarn you used and the lace edging! Lovely!

Elysbeth said...

Love the nightcap, I've been using a polar fleece one.

Come to Pittsburgh and discuss the Eastern Baltic, we'd listen!

Joli Gee said...

This is the same kind of nightcap worn by the "patriots" during the French Revolution. Perhaps Madame Defarge made one (in red of course).

Anonymous said...

Given the rise in world fuel and food prices (You Americans are moaning about your 'cheap' [to us Brits] petrol prices? sheesh!)
Those Victorian nightaps may well make a big comeback. As we - and especially elderly people lose a huge amount of body heat through our heads, they seem a marvelous knitty way to conserve heat and help save the planet at the same time!
Turn the thermostat down to conserve oil, gas and electricity and knit yourself and your friends a bodyheat conserving nightcap.
Can something be cool and hot at the same time? Yes, a nightcap can if you want it to be. Think stripes or lace or entrelac - the possibilities are endless.
Thanks for your fascinating and humorous article in Knitty and look forward to the next one.

ella at the river said...

Franklin,

Over and over again you are so funny. Yes it was even funnier the second time around.

I appreciate your humor and your work in the world of knitting.

Elizabeth

Puss-in-Boots said...

Night caps, eh? Nuh, the mental images do nothing for me...please don't go there, Franklin. I'd have to have a conniption otherwise...

kdy12570 said...

I, too, would love to see you with Matt Lauer--Where in the World....

Elizabeth said...

Saw you at MIT, enjoyed it very much. Especially great you brought that scarf. But dude, if you have any references to the Hanseatic League in the eastern Baltic would you send them to egburns@verizon.net. I am wondering if trade patterns of the Hanseatic league might have been part of the cross fertilization of knitting patterns. Sadly, I'm entirely serious about that.

dragon knitter said...

i d on't think matt lauer is ready for you, dear heart.

Diane said...

Just what you need, one more friggin comment (delete it, no one will care!) So are you suggesting that you can manage to tie in merchant trade associations with knitting? hot topic. With international yarns available left and right, but all the "green" topics flying around maybe there's room for a new trade group to manage it all? You can be head-honcho.
BTW, I use nightcaps because my darling wife keeps the house insanely cold to lower the heating bills. Good thing I knit! Woolie slippers, hats and sweaters are donned INSIDE our house!

Lisa said...

Just reading the word "fiduciary" makes my I.Q. drop. Please stop using it. I can't afford it.

Thank you. ;-P

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LAURA J said...

Franklin -

Hate to bother you - and I hope I'm not going to be proved a fool... however... I'm in the midst of knitting the NIGHTCAP, and I'm in a pickle. The pattern has rounds 13-22 for the band, then says to repeat twice more, which brings me only to round 42 when I'm done with the 2nd repeat (after the initial set). The Peak starts with Round 63. Did I miss something? I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing from round 43-62. I feel like an idiot - I could GUESS by looking at the picture, but this is a gift for my partner's father, and I want to get it right. I'm sure hoping you could help me!!!
Thank you. -Laura

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