Monday, 22 October 2012

Interview with the Headmistress

The following girls should go to my study:

I expect an immediate explanation
of why you have kept secret
from poor, hapless MrsM
the fact that circular needles
are not just for circular knitting.

MrsM is not very bright
and she has struggled for a lifetime
with extra long needles, stitch retainers,
tired arms and squashed knitting.
She was extremely distressed to discover
that these could all have been avoided
if you had introduced her to
addi premium circular needles years ago.

You are all experienced knitters
and I am very disappointed with you.
You should have realised
the pitiful depth of her ignorance.
Please consider if there is anything else
that you should be sharing with MrsM
to help her adjust to knitting in the modern era.

You may go now.


Miss Bain, High School, Carlisle
© Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick

The delightful image is from
an 1890 photograph album of Headmistresses
archived in the Modern Record Centre,
University of Warwick.

Some of these formidable women
may have been educated
at Royal Holloway.


  1. I feel relieved.
    I don't knit.

  2. They are a revelation, aren't they? I don't think I will ever knit on straight needles again.

  3. can't imagine she ever had a problem establishing or maintaining discipline ...

  4. Yes, you need addi or knitpro though - with some the stitches catch and tighten where the needle meets the join. I avoid lots of stitches these days as my thumbs and wrists complain - definitely getting old, sigh...

  5. I immediately sat up straight from my slouched position and tried not to fidget when I saw that rather stern lady and recalled the scary headmistress who spent 8 years of my school life addressing me as "Angela" .......even though my name is Jennifer....I was too terrified to correct her. To this day, when someone says "Angela", I half rise, in case it is me they want.......

  6. The wonders of modern knitting tools....
    Have you tried Knitpro interchangeable needles? You can buy cables in different lengths then screw on needle points of the required size.

    It is possible to knit an entire blanket one one set of needles....with no sewing up!!


  7. Liz in Missouri (USA)October 22, 2012

    I remember! I remember! I am a self-taught knitter and I remember my reaction being much like yours the day it dawned on me that I could go back and forth on circular needles. I thought I was the most clever person in the world and wondered if anyone else knew about this. LOL! I have to say though that my 14" straight needles remain a staple.

  8. I wish that they had told me too! I don't like using them very much though, the transition from needle to cable is disconcerting.

  9. (Hanging head in shame.) Dare I ask if you know about the Magic Loop? That way, you never need to have circulars in any length smaller than 24".

  10. Please accept sincere apologies and I promise not to keep secrets again Miss.

  11. Am writing out my lines now in a bold, clear hand ... I must not keep secrets about knitting, I must not keep secrets about knitting ... Will go and stand in the corner later xxx

  12. Phew, very relieved not to be on the list but did know the secret. However for peasant-style knitters like me it is no good. We need to tuck the needles under our arms at all times.You Mrs M are obviously a Drawing Room knitter and hold your needles proper.i would have expected no less:-)

  13. Circular needles with interchangeable tips. Oh yes. You too can have 15 unfinished projects on the go at once.

    I even just bought a circular needle that claims to be suitable for sock knitting. Can hardly wait.

  14. Oh no. I'm obviously very late for my appointment with the headmistress. Double demerits!

    I actually learned to knit on Addi circular needles and have always felt a bit stupid for not being able to knit with straight needles!

    K x


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