Tuesday, 23 March 2010


Last weekend,  John and I went to Glasgow for a wedding.  We stopped on the way at Sedbergh, a little town on the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, although nowadays it is in Cumbria.  It is in beautiful countryside and surrounded by hills and has been designated England's Book Town, which was the point of the visit.  (Who chooses England's Book Town?  I've no idea.)

There are several secondhand bookshops in the centre of the old part of the town, which consists of two streets, Main Street and Back Lane, and not much else.  We had been to Sedbergh once before, and I spent most of that visit in the Sleepy Elephant bookshop on Main Street, which has a good selection of knitting books, as well as clothes and other crafts.  Last time, I bought a copy of Kaffe Fassett's Glorious Knitting and a very nice handbag.  They also sell a range of soaps and other toiletries, and there is a strong (pleasant) smell of lemon from that around the knitting bookshelf.

Vogue Knitting 1993
This time, I found several copies of Vogue Knitting magazine, from various dates between 1987 and 2001, priced at £1.50 or £2.50.  Many of the patterns in the earlier issues are BIG jumpers with REALLY BIG dropped shoulders, which would not be wearable without adaptation now.  But even when there are not many enticing designs, there are interesting articles.  For instance, in the Autumn 1993 issue, there is a piece by Elizabeth Zimmermann on the history of i-cord, which I had never heard of before I started knitting again, but seems to appear quite often in knitwear designs these days.  Idiot cord is what we English call French knitting (don't know what the French call it), which we used to make when we were children on a wooden cotton reel with four nails in the top.  Elizabeth Zimmermann  figured out how to knit it on double pointed needles and then developed various ways to use it.  She says that she renamed it i-cord because she thought that the name "idiot cord" was rather rude.

So that was a very successful bookshop visit.  We also went to Westwood Books at the far end of Main Street, which also has a section of knitting books.  More useful still, since it's a very large shop and John spent a long time there, it has coffee and very comfortable sofas.

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