Monthly Archives: January 2007

"Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it."

Over at Knit the Classics, knitters read a different ‘classic’ novel each month, and are challenged to come up with a knitting project that matches the novel in some way. December’s novel was, appropriately, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I decided to knit this cap, for reasons I shall explain further below (along with the pattern for the cap). Time will tell if it’s at all clever or just plain dull ;)

(Bob Cratchit’s stocking night cap – or is it Scrooge’s?
Briggs & Little sport-weight 1-ply)

By the end of the first chapter of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge makes his way back to his large but cold and dark house. Despite the fact that he is extremely well off, he doesn’t even bother to light all the gaslamps in his home because light costs money – “Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.” He dresses in simple bedtime attire and eats a bowl of gruel before retiring – “Thus secured against surprise, he took off his cravat; put on his dressing-gown and slippers, and his nightcap; and sat down before the fire to take his gruel.”

We aren’t given an impression at this point of what the home life of his clerk, Mr. Cratchit, must be like, but given the miserly wages that we are led to understand Mr. Scrooge pays him, we can assume it is quite meagre. By the time we see the Cratchits on Christmas Day, we are shown that their merry feast is gratefully received but still quite sparse – the goose isn’t very fat, and Mrs. Cratchit frets over the pudding because if it doesn’t work out there is nothing else to serve instead.

It occurred to me, reading these passages, that Scrooge and Cratchit’s day-to-day home lives are actually quite similar on a material level – the only difference is that Scrooge keeps himself in a simple and modest lifestyle because of his miserly inclinations, but Cratchit is forced to do so by necessity. I began thinking of the kinds of basic, modest garments they might both wear – knee socks came to mind, particularly with the cold winter – and eventually settled on the idea of the night cap. We know Scrooge wears one and I can only guess that Cratchit does, too.

In my stash I have had a couple of skeins of very simple, very utiliatrian sport weight wool from Briggs & Little, just waiting for a project to complete it. I thought it matched the basic materiality of A Christmas Carol‘s humble beginnings quite well, and so the nightcap pattern seemed to fit. Here is the pattern, for those of you who would like to try it!

Scrooge/Cratchit Night Cap

22 ins circumference, 19 ins (approx.) from brim to top
(to modify the size, simply add or subtract from the given # of CO sts by a multiple of 4)

1 skein Briggs & Little sport weight 1 ply (or other sport weight yarn to substitute, approx. 420 yds), dark grey

1 40 cm 3.5 mm circular needle
1 40 cm 3.25 mm circular needle (or DPNs)
1 set 3.5mm DPNs
tapestry needle
stitch markers

6 sts/8 rows per inch on 3.5mm needles, or needle size required to match gauge


Available here.


Filed under free pattern, knit the classics

January things

Blogger has been gabbing for several days (possibly weeks) now about the New! And! Improved! Version of Blogger! And how we’re all supposed to switch over right now! Act now! So finally I did, only to receive a screen that said something along the lines of “Oh, but we didn’t mean YOU were supposed to have the new Blogger.” (Well, it said something more like “We’re sorry but your blog isn’t able to switch over yet. We don’t know why and you’ll just have to try again later.” Still. BAH.)

So, me and my old and antiquated and not-yet-new-and-improved version of Blogger are contemplating one of my yarny Christmas gifts, from my sister:

(4 skeins of Noro Silk Garden, colourway 201)

It’s a little more in the earth-tone area than what I’d normally purchase for myself, but the purple and blue jewel tones are just lovely. Provided that 4 skeins are enough, I think I will earmark these for Poppy. I’ll have to think of what other yarn to combine it with…but since this would technically still fall under the category of “buying yarn to complete a project with stash yarn”, I’m allowed to do that, right? (Look, 3 days into the new year and I’m already stretching the rules of Knit-From-Stash ;) ) I won’t rush into this though, I’ll just let the yarn sit and I’ll contemplate the colours and what shade to make the bodice to go with the Silk Garden sleeves/shoulders.

Speaking of my sister, though, she has succumbed to the peer pressure and gone and gotten herself a blog: Under the Influence. Her most recent post there is a nice summary of our activities from Christmas through New Year’s, which handily saves me the trouble of doing the same thing. Feel free to go over and say hi, she’s nice!

(January socks – Fortissima self-striping yarn, 2.75 mm DPNs)

I finished these on New Year’s day, but the bulk of the knitting was done in 2006, so I’m adding these as the last of the 2006 FOs to the list at the sidebar. Heh. I wasn’t wild abou the colourway when I first started, but now that I’ve finished the socks it’s starting to grow on me. They look good with jeans, and I like the teal stripe quite a bit. Very wearable.

One last picture and then I’ll skeedaddle back to the New Year Decluttering – my (almost) finished first Baudelaire! ;)

(Baudelaire #1 – Fortissima Socka, 2.75 mm DPNs
Still life with Christmas cacti and Noro Silk Garden ;) )

I started these socks back in November, got 2/3 of the way through Sock #1 and then promptly abandoned it for other things. I took it along on our brief New Year’s trip and finished it with the exception of the cast-off – the pattern calls for the sewn bind-off which I’ve never done before, therefore I have to go and look it up. So it’s just patiently waiting for that final step and then I’ll be sure to start up on Sock #2 before I take another 2 month hiatus on it ;)

Happy, Happy New Year, and many Happy Knitting Adventures await I am sure!


Filed under baudelaire, finished object: socks, socks