Monday, April 23, 2018

If any of us are ever tempted to doubt the management of the universe by a beneficent providence, we have but to contemplate the fact that English asparagus and Jersey Royal potatoes come into season at precisely the same moment.

I didn’t feel terribly well today, sort of nauseous, although no actual vomiting. Well enough to totter to the supermarket this morning, and to lunch as indicated in the paragraph above. And I have now finished with those dreadful antibiotic capsules, and confidently expect to feel better tomorrow.

KD’s “Highland Way” book has arrived, and is as wonderful as expected. I am still keen to knit the Stronachlachar vest – Buachaille; simple; three twisted-stitch panels up front and back. I am going to have to light some sort of fire under myself.

I think the answer is going to be to get back into the habit of an hour or so of television in the evening. Lately, I have been crawling into bed at 8, post-blog. I have a royal-wedding programme to look forward to tonight, recorded previously; and one about Camilla (the duchess, not the great-granddaughter) for tomorrow. My husband wasn’t all that keen on royal-family programmes, just as he was not about cookery.

As for today’s knitting, I have made a bit of progress with the ribbing for the Kirigami. The bottom edge is very neat. I am glad that its excessive size has forced me to start again with the Calcutta Cup vest. When I get back to that, shall I use German Crossed for the entire cast-on, or alternate with long-tail two-by-two again?

And I must, of course, work out a system for advancing simultaneously with CC vest and Kirigami. Not to mention the socks which Rachel says she wants for her now-immanent 60th birthday. A fire is needed, indeed.


Joe must have survived the marathon yesterday. He covered the course in 3 hours and 55 minutes, which sounds good to me, but is not quite as good as his father’s time 20 years ago, or whenever. Here he is with his parents, presumably not long after the finish:

And here, before the off:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

I think I must be getting better – if only because I got some knitting done. There were days and days in there when I did none, but today, as hoped, I finished the cast-on and started the ribbing of the Kirigami sweater.

I always prefer, with circular knitting, to do a couple of rows back and forth first, to make it easier to join up without the fatal twist. This time, it occurred to me that that wouldn’t quite do – Gudrun must intend the knits to go into the stitches cast-on by the long-tail method, and the purls into the Crossed Germans. And the cast-on ended with two Crossed Germans.

I considered joining the circle straight away, but was uneasy. So I knit back and forth as usual, starting with two purls. But was that right? I have essentially turned the work inside out, from Gudrun’s point of view. It has now been joined up, and looks neat, at any rate.

Ella Gordon has a new podcast. She is enchanting, but her breathless, amateur approach makes one appreciate the hard work Andrew and Andrea put in.

I learned from Ella that the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers (whose lace book I have) have published a book of Fair Isle designs. With a bonnet on the cover which might be just the thing for a great-granddaughter. I ordered it at once. I am tempted, too, by Chihiro Sato’s “Enjoy Fair Isle Knitting”, if only because she is Japanese. It was published last year but came in under my radar.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

I started off well this morning, but subsided mid-afternoon. I’ll be glad when the current antibiotic is finished (two more days) and I can sink down into a quiet malaise. I take your point, Cat, -- and it’s a good one -- about not trying to do too much on the days when I feel stronger. On the other hand, and especially at my age, there’s the opposite danger of doing too little and having one’s muscles atrophy.

When I went to the Western General last week for my chest xray I saw a poster that I had never seen before -- and I am very familiar with the Western General -- urging people to get up and get dressed and totter about even when in hospital, for the sake of their muscles.

Apart from such considerations, I think I have got the hang of the German Crossed Cast-On. The passage in Meg’s Fair Isle vest video is helpful, adding a little twist of the left thumb at the end of the process. And it is always a pleasure to listen to her wonderful voice.

Part of the trouble has been that I don’t use the grown-up, cat’s-cradle system for the long-tail cast on. I’ve mentioned this before. I just do it the kindergarten way, knitting into a loop around my left thumb. So I’m not used to tensioning the cat’s cradle, which is an essential part of the process for German Crossed.

I have started casting on the Kirigami – alternating two long-tails with two German Crosseds. I achieved 50 stitches and could see that I didn’t have nearly enough long-tail to finish, so I started again. German Crossed uses more yarn. Tomorrow’s goal is to finish the cast-on and knit the first round.


Grandson Joe (the one who recently got engaged) is running in the London Marathon tomorrow. It’s a family thing. His father Ed did it once, and finished with a thoroughly respectable time. His sister Hellie (Orla’s mother, whom you’ve seen here recently) ran one in Paris.

London has been hot for the last three days. The forecast for tomorrow is considerably cooler. Good news for Joe.

Friday, April 20, 2018

My health took a dip for the worse today.

I did get as far, however, as an initial practice session on the Twisted German Cast-On. It’s going to need more work before I could think of using it in real life. Lucy Neatby’s video is indeed helpful, and so is one by a girl endearingly called iknitwithcathair.

Meadow Yarns says that my needles are on the way – so it will soon behove me to cast on something, somehow.

I’ll re-watch Meg’s demonstration on her Fair Isle Vest video before I head for bed.

KD says that the West Highland Way book is ready. I greatly look forward to that. Alexander would like to walk the whole thing with his sons, but they are currently sunk in adolescent apathy. Any one of them might be interested in the book.


My kitchen shelves went up yesterday. Helen was horrified when she saw them this morning by the utilitarian look of those supports, so they are to be exchanged for plain brackets. Perdita didn’t express an opinion.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The dr phoned today to say. essentially, that I’m fine. Bloods good; chest x-ray clear. So I must pull myself together. I guess I feel somewhat better than at the worst. I think the new antibiotic is of some use.

And today I addressed myself to some of that to-do list. I printed the Kirigami pattern. I established that I have an appropriate needle to start off with. I wound a skein of the new yarn – Paradox helped with that, so it took a long time, but it’s done.

Gudrun, interestingly, wants me to start off with a cast-on consisting of 2 long-tails alternating with 2 German Twisted. That could be interesting. Meg recommends German Twisted (of which I have no experience whatsoever) in her Fair Isle Vest video. Since I am now planning to start Alexander’s Calcutta Vest with two or three rounds of k2, p2 (omitting the rounds of st st which I used the first time), perhaps the alternation could be employed there as well.

First I must master the German Twisted cast-on.

I also decided that I want to start Alexander’s vest on a 3.5 mm needle of which I do not have an appropriate exemplar,  so I ordered one from Meadow Yarns. Their website seems different from the last time I was there – smarter, in some senses; a diminished choice of needles.


All is more or less well here. Shelves were put up in my kitchen today, so it’s finished, and I must get seriously to work tomorrow about establishing a place for everything and….

Archie came over this afternoon to put my recycling out, a fortnightly job; it was good to see him.

Here is a picture of a cat (and a bottle top) in front of the new Aga.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I feel a bit better this evening – the new antibiotic, kicking in after all? Or the sheer exhilaration of having the house to myself, all tradesmen gone?

The kitchen painters finished today, and it’s looking very well. What remains, a vital step, is the replacing of shelves. Most missed is the shelf above the Aga on which are ranged the six or seven pans I use most often, each in its particular place. I think that is supposed to happen later this week.

Again, I have done nothing. I dozed in my chair all  morning.

Yesterday, during that long wait to see a dr, I got back to work on Archie’s sock. I have nearly reached the heel the second time. (That’s not the heel of the second sock, you will remember – I decided that the first sock was too small, and I have started again.)

As I doze in my chair, I tell myself of the next few steps. Maybe tomorrow I will execute at least some of them.

Beverly, yes, my sister brought me seven skeins of MadTosh DK in a discontinued colourway called Penny Loafer. It’s as good in real life as on a computer screen.  So what I need to do is:
a)  Wind a skein
b)   Print the pattern – Gudrun Johnston’s “Kirigami”. I’ve bought it; that’s a start.
c)   Discover, from the pattern, the recommended needle size and examine my needle stash. I’ve got a lot of needles – but do I have quite the right one for the job, comfort-wise and knitting-bliss-wise?

And the Calcutta Cup vest needs to be re-cast-on. For that I must:
a)     Decide what gauge of needle I am going to use for the corrugated ribbing and, again, examine the needle stash. The body is knit at 4mm (which seems rather large – but it’s too late to worry about that). How far down am I going to go? Last time it was only down to 3.75 and I think it might be a good idea to go a bit further.
b)    Decide how many stitches I want for the ribbing. Last time I went down 5% and, again, I think it might be a good idea to go a bit further.


          Here is a picture of Hellie and Matt’s daughter Orla. They were married in Argyll, some may remember. The church has recently appeared on television in “Ordeal by Innocence” – octagonal, white.

Monday, April 16, 2018

I got to a dr, you’ll be glad to hear. It was a long sit – I wonder if Monday is not perhaps the best day for the Open Access clinic. Not “our” doctor, but at least a young woman with whom I was acquainted from her house calls to my husband. She has prescribed another antibiotic, rather doubtfully; sent me to the Western General for a chest x-ray (that’s been done); and taken “bloods”. She promised to phone later in the week with results.

That’s about it, for now. The kitchen is still not finished, but nearly. It’s looking good. I didn’t get a nap today, nor much lunch, and feel fairly rotten – bed time, I think.