Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Here I am back. We had a good time. No apples – the tree has come down. Wind? Deer? It’s not dead, but all of this year’s apples are gone and many of the lower branches stripped bare. I think the problem may essentially have been a shallow soil. It might be worth our nice gardener’s time to move it into a better place.

I dug all the potatoes, and they are delicious. I was taken aback at how much effort I needed to expend on the job, and how tired I was thereafter.

I got up and watched the debate last night, as planned. I think it leaves us much where we were before, with the balance tipped slightly towards Hillary. Neither candidate disgraced him/herself.

My big problem was that the television picture was stuck in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and no amount of button-pushing could enlarge it. That didn't really matter for the debate, but the problem persisted this morning. I tried googling, and the only suggestion was to push the keys I was already pushing. I tried changing the batteries in the zapper, since that technique had recently worked so well with the mouse. In despair, I applied the ultimate sanction – I switched the whole kit-and-caboodle off at the wall, and on again. That did the trick.

No knitting to speak of – none, in Strathardle. I got my five rows of Uncia done on Saturday. I think Chart E is perhaps slightly easier than its predecessors. I’ll return to the fray today. The Whiskey Barrel sock is slightly advanced – the gusset decreases are finished, and I am steaming down the foot of the second sock. Now that I have got my television back, I can look forward to some "Victoria" and some hap-edging this evening. I’m keenly looking forward to Prince Albert.


You’re all of you right. I must have her spayed. My reasons for holding back are these:

a)       We believe, on slight but not negligible evidence, that a cat who has had kittens remains more engaged with the world thereafter.
b)      Perdita never purrs, except when she is nuzzling into my neck and pretending to be my kitten, kneading and sucking. I think, with kittens of her own, she might purr, and they would purr, their little bodies vibrating with the experience. And maybe the lesson would last, for her.

c)       That time she fell off a high shelf, and I took her to the vet several days later because she was still limping, and she was anaesthetised and x-rayed, and I tried to comfort her in the evening when I brought her home -- she hissed and spat at me. It was dreadful. Can I face it again?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Well, the secret of life – but we already knew that – is to set oneself goals.

 -- Yesterday I finished the heel flap of the second Whiskey Barrel sock, turned the heel, and have nearly finished picking up the gusset stitches.

 --  I did five rows of the Uncia, not without struggle. That is only going to be possible on days when I can do a couple of rows in the morning. Today should qualify.

 -- And at the end, I turned “Victoria” on again and added another edging point to the Hansel hap. I still don’t believe a word of it, but it’s wonderful wallpaper. Yesterday we had a "cameo" from the Duke of Wellington, whom I love more than most historical figures. Even in old age, I don't think he was like that. 

More knitting news – someone in the “Vintage Shetland” thread of the “Stitches in Time” group on Ravelry has actually had the temerity to ask for news, given that the website still promises publication for August 15. And we have been told that a new projected schedule will follow soon. Susan has finished chemotherapy for the moment, and now faces surgery.

Happier knitting news: I plod on with Flipboard, and today they came up trumps. Mason-Dixon knitting (I should read them much more often) recommend “Drop Down Easy Knits” by Gale Zucker, Kristen Kapur – and our own Mary Lou! Just the thing for one struggling with the Uncia, which surely qualifies as drop-down difficult. I ordered the book at once. Here in GB, it hasn’t been published yet.

The blog illustrates a log-cabin-type blankie which I will keep in mind for Hellie and Matt’s baby, when they get around to one. They used to say they hoped for a dozen. I’d better add it to a Ravelry list.


Helen and I hope to go to Strathardle tomorrow, returning early Monday. So, silence here for two days. No Uncia, either.

There is a basement-level flat on Cumberland Street inhabited by what we think of, on no evidence whatsoever, as the Mad Cat Lady. (It’s probably a male High Court Judge.) There is a cat flap, and a doormat in the shape of a cat, and a ceramic plaque saying “Attenti al gatto!”, and a lovely stone cat with flowers on it. Archie and I walked past it on our way home from the Gallery of Modern Art the other day, and I pointed it out and said, “I can hardly knock on the door and ask if she knows a tom cat.”

And Archie said, “Why not?”

Poor Perdita is in heat again. My husband remains very reluctant to having her spayed before she’s had one litter, as indeed do I. Yesterday I went twice to the door of the Mad Cat Lady, but no one answered. I’ll try again this morning. Courts don’t sit on Saturday.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Here I still am, not in Strathardle – and the sun is shining, contrary to yesterday’s forecast.

Whoever-it-was rang up yesterday morning to say that they will deliver my husband’s hospital bed at some time today, between 8am and 3pm, I think it was. I told my husband, at the end of yesterday’s visit, that my appearance at his side today was somewhat uncertain for that reason. And he said that we have a perfectly good bed and that he won’t use a hospital bed.

That’s what he used to say. It was his agreement to give a hospital bed a try which has inaugurated these strenuous efforts on the part of the hospital to get him home. Sinking of heart.


On the other hand, it was a very good day for knitting. I started the heel flap of the second Whiskey Barrel sock. I’m going to need to wind the second 100 gram ball of yarn pretty soon now – that really feels like progress.

And I finished Chart D of the Uncia. I am impressed with the speed with which you have reached Chart A, Shandy. If it’s any comfort, I think A is the most difficult of the ones I have so far surmounted. But I agree with you, that the problem is, one expects to be able to anticipate YO’s and cable crossings, as in one’s previous experience of lace and cable knitting, and, on the whole, it’s not happening.

I have about 150 rows to go. That sounds like a lot. That is a lot. But it occurred to me in the night – a good time for thinking – that five rows a day will polish it off in a month, so that’s my goal.

Sharon, you’re right not to start the Haps Book with the Uncia. I had a reason to do so, eventually to be revealed. But I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as this. (Now that you’ve got a television, Sharon, you can watch the presidential debate. That’s going to be worthwhile, whatever; and my husband won’t be home yet, surely, so I can wrap myself in my dressing gown and watch, whenever.)

Later on yesterday, I did another edging point on the hap shawl while watching the end of the first episode of “Victoria”. Much better knitting-television than "National Treasure". I think I’ll persevere with it.

AND the morning mail brought me the latest issue of Amirisu. It was an indulgence (=expensive). It’s wonderful. I am particularly taken with a sleeveless vest which has a diagonal zipper, like a biking jacket. Now if only Franklin would come to the EYF and teach his zipper class…

(The class list will be up in a week or two, with registration a week later. Oh, the excitement!) 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Happy equinox, everybody! I often think of the calendar year in terms of the Musical Cars competition which ends the Strathardle Highland Games every year. Cars drive round and round the field, and when the music stops the passenger leaps out and tries to secure one of the stakes in the ground at the centre.

After many years as a spectator, I drove and Joe Ogden ran a few years ago. We did rather well, although we didn't win. One tries to drive a little faster at one or two unfortunate points in the circuit – especially when driving past the dancing platform. This quadrant of the year – from here to the solstice – is definitely on a level with the dancing platform.

Otherwise, I have little to report.

My husband was unusually sleepy yesterday – “Have they drugged me?” I sat with him for an hour and a half, or so, knitting away. He didn’t even ask about coming home. We’ll see how things go today.

Helen and I are thinking of going to Strathardle tomorrow. There are apples to be picked and potatoes to be dug, and water to be drained for the winter. If I’m not here, that’s why.

My poor sister is terrified by the election. Understandably. I am obsessively interested in it, and glad to be viewing it at one remove. I hope Monday’s debate will be see-able on our television if one is willing to sit up until the middle of the night.

Apart from the Whiskey Barrel socks, I reached row 241 of the Uncia – seven rows to go in Chart D. I am beginning to get the hang of what’s going on at the moment, and can knit (slowly) across without much peering. Everything will no doubt change in Chart E.

And, later, I watched “National Treasure”. It was undoubtedly “good” but I doubt if I’ll go on. No one in it was very nice. I found I couldn’t knit as I watched, but I persevered and did another edging point on the hap shawl afterwards. Now that I’m back in the saddle, I’ll aim for one a day. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Neither of the last two days were really all that strenuous, but I’m tired and am taking it easy today.

My husband is to come home, when we get the “package of care” –which could still be weeks away, or perhaps not. Carers will come in four times a day and will do all the moving. I am forbidden to attempt it. If we have a diarrhoea crisis, we ring somebody up. I still have to cook and do the washing and feed the cat and be at the receiving end of the bad temper. But we’ve got to try.

The Whiskey Barrel sock made progress yesterday – I’m not many days away from the heel.

I didn’t get any Uncia done yesterday, being totally shattered by the time I finally got home from the hospital; but I’ve done three whole rows this morning, and hope for more before the day is out.

I got an email the other day from Colorful Stitches about three rather wonderful shawls. I can’t seem to persuade it to come up as a web page. Two Manos, one Berroco, blocks of colour in all three cases.

The new Knitting magazine has, as usual, nothing to tempt me. I sometimes wonder whether my disdain is due to the fact that their photographs aren’t as brilliant as other people’s, but I think it’s not that. I think the patterns aren’t as good.

At the end of every issue we have the Purl Princess, who irritates me a good deal. But she has a point, this month – knitters wear shawls, and love them. But nobody else. “You can’t even buy them on the high street; perhaps a floaty chiffon wrap or a woven pashmina, but not a triangular, semi-circular, circular or square knitted shawl”.   

I am much tempted by the new television series called “National Treasure”. I recorded the first episode last night. Perhaps I’ll sit up tonight and watch it and get back to edging that hap for Emmett before he leaves for college.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

We had a good time at the care home yesterday, I guess – but they have no beds. I had sort of hoped that my husband might move there right away, and that the prospect could be sold to him as a way of getting out of hospital now. Helen was a bit surprised that the place didn’t seem quite as much of a country club as did the retirement community in NJ where my mother used to live.

But a care home is not quite the same thing as a retirement community. They were much occupied with a cupcake-decorating competition. My husband would hate it.

It sounds (from Helen this morning) as if the process of getting him home is moving forward rather briskly. Hopsital bed to be delivered next week. Maybe I can manage. Maybe I’ll have to.

And meanwhile we still have this afternoon’s appt with the consultant.

I have been clearing out the bottom drawer of an old wardrobe this morning: Helen is going to have it -- one less piece of furniture here. It was the drawer with all the old programs – two Calcutta Cups (neither a win); Michael Pennington’s Hamlet, Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V, Antony Sher’s Richard the III and Tamburlaine the Great, Brian Cox’ Titus Andronicus (all from Stratford); the Edgbaston cricket ground the day Brian Lara scored 501 not out, and so forth. Many a tear.

As for knitting, the Whiskey Barrel sock moved forward nicely yesterday, and so did the Uncia – I’m seven rows into Chart D. That’s a good day’s work, for me. And I can tell you that row 234 is almost easy. Something to look forward to, if you’re just starting out.

Monday, September 19, 2016

So today is when life gets exciting. Helen and I are going to visit a possible care home in the early afternoon, armed with lists of questions. Then on to visit my husband and perhaps to put the idea seriously to him. The care home is further from here than the hospital, but mercifully in the same direction.

We had a good visit yesterday. My husband asked how many socks I had finished during his current imprisonment. Good question. Presumably all of the Vampires – when did I start them? Since we never travel these days, and I don’t knit socks at home, hospital visiting is the only time. Yesterday I finished the ribbing on the second Whiskey Barrel sock, as hoped, and made a good start – 20 rounds – down the leg.

I also had a good day with the Uncia. I finished Chart C, as hoped. I have even knit the first row of Chart D. But that still leaves Charts D, E, F, G and H – 170 rows –- so there’s no need to get too worked up. I am still very pleased with the way it's looking, a determined to forge ahead as fast as I can before life closes over my head.