Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Thank you for your help on the subject of Zite. I knew nothing of the take-over by Flipboard, although even I would have begun to suspect soon that something was seriously wrong with Zite, not just summer doldrums.

I used to have Flipboard, on the first iPad, the one that disappeared. James installed it for me. He’s a keen user. I’ll set about getting it again. 


I moved patiently forward with the Tokyo yesterday. I should finish the current big stripe today and at least start the little, punctuating one. I think I should do another big one before I stop — that adds up to a complete pattern repeat. The Tokyo is the least fun of current wips — that’s a reflection on the knitting only, the fine yarn (two strands held together) and the mohair fuzziness. The result is going to be both beautiful and cozy and I greatly look forward to wrapping myself in it, in the winter to come. And I remain desperately grateful to you for the gift of it.

So it’s particularly important not to let it languish in the excitement of pressing on with the other wips.

There’s an interesting pattern in Loop-d-Loop for a “Child’s Geek Spiral Pullover”. The text says that the Fibonacci series underlies the arrangement, and refers to an article in the Fall ’03 issue of IK. I must see if I can dig it out. It set me thinking of Debbie New, and those wonderful socks on the cover of Knitter’s book “Socks Socks Socks”, and Debbie’s own utterly wonderful book, “Unexpected Knitting” in which the socks reappear.

I got it down from its high shelf. There is a vast amount in there that I couldn’t even think of attempting — I felt my age, turning the pages. I’m sure I couldn’t do those socks. I might just be able to manage an ouroborus jacket or labyrinth sweater, and it would be fun to try. I always enjoy the book.

But the little Loop-d-Loop sweater, in worsted-weight yarn, might be manageable. All I need is a great-grandchild.


I am beginning to worry about how much she bites, when in mad-cat mode. It’s meant in fun, I’m sure, but she’s three months old and it’s time she began to settle down. She will leap at one sometimes, several inches off the floor, all four limbs extended outwards like a cat in a horror movie. 

I am told that you can train a cat not to do things, in extremis, by spraying water in its face. My sister taught her cat not to walk on kitchen work surfaces that way. I am afraid to try it on Perdita because there are two elements here — I want her not to bite me, but I want to deter her only from biting, not from me. 

I’ll start by hiding all the toys people have given her which might possibly contain catnip. If I can live without Weston’s Vintage Cider (because of its incompatibility with rat poison), she can make that sacrifice. 

A nurse in my husband’s ward offered me cream for my arm the other day, mistaking the bite marks for an ugly rash. I suspect the effect of Warfarin makes it look a bit worse than it otherwise would.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Forward movement, yesterday. I finished the ninth repeat of the pattern on the back of the Sous Sous. It remains (if I decide not to lengthen it) but to do an incomplete repeat, and shape the neck and shoulders. I have, alas, forgotten who of you it was who insisted that I frog and repeat, when I found that I had crossed a cable wrongly. I am grateful. You were absolutely right.

I then went on to the Tokyo shawl, and spent most of my time untangling. I think I must have started out pulling the mohair ball from the centre, and then, after a break in the yarn — whose fault would that have been, I wonder? — resumed work from the outside, with the result that the whole thing was tangled. I got it straightened out, without another break, and wound it into a neat ball still attached to the work.

(I was astonished to discover in my Craftsy class last night that Sally Melville joins in a new ball of yarn, if it's the same colour, by knitting a few stitches with the two yarns together. That's the way I do it, ever since somebody taught me to when I was at Hampton Elementary School. I thought all the grown-ups did spit-splicing, which I have never mastered and which Sally didn't even mention.)

Then, this morning, I went back in to the sitting room to tidy up a bit so that my beloved Polish cleaner could hoover with some effect. I thought it would be all right to let the cat in with me. It wasn’t. She went straight for that newly-wound ball, picked it up and ran with it. She may have a future playing rugby for Scotland. I got her out of the room, not without difficulty, and spent some laborious time unwinding the yarn from around the legs of furniture. It’s still, miraculously, unbroken.

I tried the other day to get that cat-game for the iPad where fish seem to swim. I’m sure Perdita would love it. But I am trapped in a vicious circle of Apple’s making. The game is available only from the American Apple shop. I can’t use the American shop because my credit card is British. I do, in fact, have a dollar card which I constantly use on-line, but Apple wouldn’t let me register it with them because I live here. Perdita loses. She is fascinated by movement on the computer screen, and I am sure would enjoy the game. If Apple would condescend to use PayPal, we'd be fine. And the game is free anyway, I think.

I can’t imagine what’s wrong with Zite. It must all be computer-generated, of course, and obviously I must expect a lot of dud items, and some that don’t relate to knitting at all. But at the moment the rate at which items are added seems to have slowed down radically. There must be something going on out there in the knitting world, but Zite won't tell me.

I’ve been enjoying, at least, the blog-tour of Susan Crawford’s Vintage Shetland project. Tom of Holland ( — amongst others — includes a complete list of the tour stops at the end of his own interesting contribution. Can’t wait for the book!

I’ve got to go up to Boots this morning for some more rat poison. I’ll have a look in John Lewis to see if the new Rowan book has turned up.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Absolutely nothing to report. I didn’t even knit, yesterday. This will probably be brief.

Lou, how I envy you that cruise! My idea of heaven would be a cruise to Lerwick, the Faroes, and Iceland — with Franklin teaching anything he was interested in.

Zite produced what seemed, at first, an interesting item about some ladies who have knit models of buildings in central Braintree. I don’t know where that is. On inspection, less interesting. Models were made of the buildings — out of what, I cannot get the computer to remind me this morning — and the ladies just knit little bits to stick on. The source is the Braintree and Withan Times, if you can get it to load.

Medical and Other

My husband is very much better, frustrated at continued incarceration. All the advice I am getting is to stick it out, wait until the promised “care package” is in place. All except one, a neighbour whose elderly mother died a few years ago. She wishes she had got her mother out with private care, instead of waiting.

And I’m reasonably well. I’ve lost about half a stone, a reasonable Lenten quota, after only four weeks of the teetotal life. I am thinking of allowing myself the two units a day which the leaflets say I can safely imbibe. Half a bottle of Weston’s Vintage Cider with my supper might improve appetite. I'll ask the nurse what she thinks.

We're having a crisis this morning involving Greek Helen's flat on Windsor Street and the need to remove a van-load of old furniture to the tip this morning before a van-load of new furniture arrives at mid-day. The previous arrangement fell through last night.

How totally refreshing to be even on the periphery of a non-medical crisis!

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Brilliant, Mary Lou! Control-Z! Not only does it back-track the game, but the machine doesn’t regard it as a loss, so it doesn’t affect my overall percentage. I play at about 80%. I wonder if there’s a way to delete this game before I have thrown the rest of my life away. I’ve done it before, on another machine.

And, while you’re here, no, I haven’t read Tana French. I’ll remember the name.

It turns out the mouse wasn’t working because it was switched off. That must have been Perdita’s doing.

“Loop-d-Loop” turned up yesterday — the detested Amazon is nothing if not accurate, and fast. It’s extremely interesting — I expected no less of Meg. I haven’t finished reading-perusing yet. Helen (not a knitter) sat at the kitchen table yesterday looking at it, before I had seen it at all, exclaiming in delight at page after page. It’s a book of ideas as much as of patterns.

I think I’m going to let Norwegian Patterns go, despite your excellent and undoubtedly correct advice. The other time this happened, the Schoolhouse sent a book with a very similar title — “Knitting in Art” instead of “Art Knitting”, something like that. It was a book I didn’t have, and although I didn’t want it much, certainly not as much as the one I had actually ordered, I rolled with the punch and bought both.


I’ve started the ninth passage of cabling on the back of the Sous Sous. It’s slow going, this thing, with all those stitches and all that double moss stitch. My current bedtime Craftsy class is Sally Melville on “Essential Techniques Every Knitter Should Know”. I’m in the middle of the lesson about selvedges and am happy to report that the Sous Sous has a two-stitch st st selvedge of which Sally would thoroughly approve. I actually look forward to seaming it.

She’s against circular knitting for sweaters, and not afraid of swimming against the tide. Seams give structure. I’ve heard that before.

Mundi, so far I don’t understand how the front of the Sous Sous works. You cast on just as many stitches as for the back, and set the pattern in the same way. Then when you begin actually knitting it, you start doing deceases in the double moss stitch part. There are many fewer repeats of the cable pattern -- but the side seams, obviously, have to be just as long.

I’ve looked up Wendy Knits’ account of hers, as you suggested, and am mightily impressed. I’m already sure that I have quantities more yarn than I need, and therefore enough to make it “a few inches longer” as she suggests, and to do away with the bias knit for the front. She mentions short rows for the shoulders. I don’t know whether they’re in the pattern or not.

I’m just at the point where all this could be achieved without frogging. I’ll finish the current cable pattern and then do some hard thinking while I cycle through my other two WIPs.

She calls the whole thing “the double moss stitch marathon”. Absolutely.

32238w9e0r45ighvdfSGT6 EW123WQ27YFUD9[0CVZPZ8797COP

That is a comment from Perdita, who has been put out of the room. 

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Back to Pages on the Mac this morning. The mouse doesn’t work. Why not?

I think, on a day’s acquaintance, that I would recommend Windows 10, Melfina, if only as a distraction from “the crisis wheel that is this summer”. Love the phrase. You, too? I can’t remember Windows 7. Maybe I never had it. I’m not sorry to bid farewell to 8.1. 10 has obviously got glitches — the FreeCell game doesn’t seem to have a Restart button, for example. It is believed, certainly by me, that every layout is winnable. My practice used to be to play every game I encountered over and over until I’d cracked it. Although there were one or two famous games that I could never do. (They're all numbered.)

But now, there seems to be nothing for it but to go on to the next game. You don’t get better that way.

And there was that funny glitch yesterday when the blog got stripped of formatting. Blogger has two aspects, HTML and “Compose”. I think what happened is that my text got tipped into HTML with no option for getting out. I thought maybe I could run Chrome under Windows 10 and get around it that way. But although Chrome will load, sluggishly, it doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere.

But this sort of thing is fun, compared to the horrors of real life. Unless you’ve got work to do and a deadline to make.


I got the package from the Schoolhouse the other day — and it’s wrong. I’m afraid this has happened before, with them. I’ve got the DVD about the Fair Isle vest, and Kiewe’s book of Charted Peasant Designs from Saxon Transylvania — it isn’t going to be much use, but I remember the wonderfully eccentric Mr Kiewe from the days of his wonderful wool shop on Ship Street in Oxford.

The third item in my order was a book called Loop de Loop. That’s what it says on the packing slip, too. But what they have sent is “Norwegian Patterns for Knitting” which isn’t very good and anyway I’ve already got it.

I haven’t the oomph to complain and pack the book up and trudge to the post office (no longer conveniently located). I’ve ordered Loop de Loop from Amazon and don’t know what I’ll do with Norwegian Patterns.

Zite has revved itself up slightly, with a story about what they call “saris” (plural of “sari”) to be worn by all the performers at this year’s festival. Designed and made on Shetland — and available for sale there for a substantial sum — they appear to be large stoles, possibly in feather-and-fan, in four colours, and rather attractive. We’ll see if a link survives today’s posting. It’s from a source called Deadline News.

As for actual knitting, I am about ready to do the ninth bit of cabling on the back of the Sous Sous, still without thinking out a satisfactory distribution of percentage points for the side bar. Helen admired it extravagantly, before I reminded her that she didn’t like the pattern — she’s afraid it will draw too much attention to a less-than-ironing-board-flat tummy.

Friday, July 31, 2015

I'm back with Microsoft this morning. There was much talk of Windows 10 during the day, what with all these boys around. I decided to go ahead. When I tried, all that happened was a Microsoft website telling me to click on an icon – which wasn't there – to get in the queue. Archie knew a way around that. I've now got it installed, and am impressed. The new browser is first-rate. And FreeCell is back! Knitting went as planned – the right side of the dog now complete, Sous Sous resumed. I'll finish the current repeat, the ninth, the last complete one, before moving on to the Tokyo shawl. That's not as much as I hoped for yesterday. I forgot how much there was to do after the last repeat. And I still haven't worked out a system that satisfies for the sidebar percentage. Literature Thank you for the link to Paul Theroux' article about Shirley Jackson, Mary Lou. Interesting. But he doesn't mention the novel I am currently reading, Hangsaman, and indeed rather implies that The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle were her only two novels. I've just finished reading them. They are superb, and very scary. Hangsaman, although itself published as a Penguin Modern Classic, is not as good, at least to begin with, and I was interested to have my hunch confirmed by this website that it came before the two great ones. She published six novels in all. Later Well, here's the first serious hitch in Windows 10. When pasted into Blogger, my prose looks as if typewritten (it was composed in Times New Roman as usual, in Open Office Writer) and is too small -- and the tT symbol has vanished, so I can't set it to large. I'll go back to the Mac tomorrow. ...And when published, the font and its size are OK, but there is no break between paragraphs. And my links are gone. I suspect it is Blogger which will have to change to accommodate Windows 10, but who knows?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

This morning I’ll try Pages, again without moving the margins. Within Blogger, I have set the text to "Large" -- but why should I  have to do that? -- and am pleased to see that Blogger has rearranged the margins appropriately.

Archie spent a lot of yesterday morning installing Windows 10 on his superior, game-playing laptop, and offered to do the same for me. After my recent struggles with the Mac, I don’t feel up to learning a new interface just yet. It looks completely different. “Windows 10 for Dummies” will probably hit the stands next week.

“…for Dummies” is far and away the best of the three Mac books I’ve bought, although the “Seniors” one is helpful at answering simple-minded questions. The file structure, for instance, is the way it has been since DOS, subdirectories within directories. Maybe there’s no other way to do it. But it took “Seniors” to tell me so in plain English.


The branch of Lloyds Pharmacy contained within my local, on-the-way-to-the-hospital branch of Waitrose, didn’t have a pill-cutting tool yesterday. I’ll try the local, Broughton Street pharmacy in a moment. But yesterday I babbled on to the pharmacist about how I was taking Warfarin and my current dose included .5mg and that’s why I needed to cut a pill — the sort of idiot conversation my husband particularly hates. “She doesn’t need to know that.

And she said that Warfarin comes in a .5mg pill, as well as the 5mg, 3mg, and 1mg sizes I’ve already got. So now all I need is a new prescription.


I’ve finished the right side of the Jack Russell’s body, all but the last row and assuming I have attached the right legs — “right” in both senses. I’ll have to unpick the last row, because when it said “p2tog, p4 (hold 5 stitches on spare needle for tail)”, I disregarded any possible significance of the brackets and put the next five stitches on hold — which meant breaking the yarn — instead of the five I had just knit. As I think you can see, below.

There’s a similar problem at the end of the row. I now see that “(hold 11 stitches on spare needle for neck)” means the 11 stitches just knit, not 11 more. That’s perhaps easier, because there aren’t 11 more at that point.

There remains a problem. There were 33 stitches at the end of the previous row. I have been over and over the text for the difficult row, and can only see instructions for 31 of them. No, cancel that — I counted again, and there are 33.

I have knit the body without brown spots, since the target dog doesn’t have any. That speeded things up no end. But I’ll include some brown on tail and head.

So my plan for today is to unpick, re-do, and then turn to the Sous Sous for a day or two — finish the back, cast on the front, work out a percentage scheme for the sidebar.


I am having a Shirley Jackson phase, perhaps not the best choice for one spending a lot of nights alone. remember reading "The Lottery" in the New Yorker when I was 15. I remember where I was (in the car, waiting presumably for my mother) and what the New Jersey weather was like (hot). And my incredulity as I read -- could it really be saying what it seemed to say?

I don't think I've read it again, since that day. Perhaps I had better, to round off the phase. I wish her well-reviewed biography was available in Kindle.