Friday, February 12, 2016

My husband was up and dressed yesterday, reading a book. I’ll take him some New Yorkers today – we’ve fallen far behind. He’s still on oxygen and antibiotics.

And – another FO!

I spent the evening finishing them off, and establishing an Arne&Carlos gent’s sized sock on the needles – I’ve got to have something to carry about with me, and it works best if whatever-it-is has already been cast on. It’s too soon to exclaim in delight. Maybe after today’s hospital visit.

The Winter VK turned up yesterday, a delightful surprise.

This is the issue heavily tilted towards Bohus. There’s nothing to tempt me very seriously, but I like No. 2, where the Bohus element has been transferred to the sleeves; No 12, a feather-and-fan sleeveless vest on which the chevrons invert themselves a couple of times; and 21, another sleeveless vest, buttoned this time, in a huge yarn and a traditional Fair Isle pattern.

I must take a close look at the pattern for No. 12, to see how that inversion is achieved. And don’t miss (as you easily might, because it’s buried in her article) Meg’s Bohus-as-you-go technique. I wish the illustration showed us more of that sweater.

The other knitterly news, surely familiar to all by now, is that Kate Davies is working on a hap shawl book, the patterns largely (or perhaps entirely) by other designers, the text – which will form half of the book – by KD, “the history of haps, hap knitting, and hap wearing”.

The problem there will be that Sharon Miller has already done it, as of course KD knows. It will be very interesting to see what emerges. Beautiful photographs guaranteed.

 Flipboard has pointed me to Violet Lynx Dyeworks and their beautiful graduated cashmere-silk yarn. I seem to have become obsessed with graduation.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Real progress.

My husband really did seem better yesterday. He was up, in his chair, and at one point walked (with assistance) from chair to bathroom and, later, back. The initial course of antibiotic should be finished by now. I’ll be interested to see if they have renewed it.

One or two more hospital visits will polish off that Pakokku sock.

And the Milo Bambino pattern that Kristie suggested yesterday is the perfect solution, I think, to my itch to knit a pack of those Pigeonroof Studio graduated skeins I saw at Loop. (They wouldn’t cost £50, Shandy; only about half that. And the point here is not so much to keep the baby warm, as to gratify my wish for the yarn.) I’ve bought and printed the Milo Bambino pattern. It’ll be just the thing for a summer baby.

I won’t buy the yarn, however, until we’ve got a baby safely in hand. I think somebody told me once that it is a pious Jewish practice to buy a baby back from God when it is a month old. I’ve probably got that wrong, but I sympathize with the idea.

So last night I was about to sit down and resume the Tokyo shawl – and I couldn’t find it. I get tired at the end of the day – I picked up the Sous Sous instead and left the problem until this morning, when I hoped the synapses would be firing. And, not without a struggle, I have found it, not very far from where I thought it was.

However, I think the prudent thing to do is to finish the current pattern repeat on the Sous Sous, now that I’ve embarked on it. It makes resumption so much easier.


Here’s the promised picture of that Chinese cat in Sydenham. He rather resembles Lear’s famous cat Foss. His family has bought him one of those elaborate pieces of cat furniture which at least he has the grace to use.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Look at that! An FO!

I hope I'll have the oomph to wrap it up as soon as it's dry. A task I dislike even more than setting in a zipper.

I had a good visit at the hospital yesterday, overlapping with Alexander. My husband doesn't seem to me to be making much progress, but a dr assured me that he is responding to treatment and Alexander thought him much sparkier than when he had last visited on Calcutta Cup day.

I finished the heel on the second Pakokku sock and am hellbent on the toe. It won't take much more of such hospital visiting to finish altogether. Shall I go on to Arne & Carlos, perhaps for Alexander? Or my new graduated sock balls from They're very bright, calling out for a young wearer.

As for Dunfallandy's place in the Overall Scheme of Things, I think I will fill that with the Tokyo shawl, and press on until it's done. Then I can decide whether to alternate the Sous Sous with the half-brioche sweater for me, or with the sleeved v-neck for my husband (which would mean getting hold of some madtosh Tannehill).

What delicious deciding!

AND I may have stumbled upon the answer to the question of what to do with those beautiful graduated skeins from the Pigeonroof Studio at Loop. A set of them = 240 yards.

My friend Kristie has been knitting Milo's for various fortunate babies. The Milo pattern apparently would let you go all the way up to the 12-month size with 240 yards of yarn. The flaw in the reasoning lies in the fact that Milo is written for DK and the Pigeonroof skeins are sock yarn. I think a fudge might be possible, aiming for a newborn size.


The primaries are certainly fun, splendid stuff for diverting the mind from one's troubles. The down side is that one of these people will be President of the United States in a year's time. (Bernie's too old; so is Bloomberg.)

I am greatly looking forward to South Carolina – it's obvious why the black vote would have gone solidly for Obama. Faced with a choice between an old white man and an old white woman, will they be so dependable? Might Sanders' message about inequality not have some appeal?

But there's nowt so queer as folk – no doubt about that.

Monday, February 08, 2016

My husband was no better and no worse yesterday – still not strong enough to read, but lucid and cheerful. I sat with him for a couple of hours, and reached the heel flap of the second Pakokku sock. Round the heel today and on down the foot, I hope. I'll be glad to say goodbye to this pair.

A dr phoned in the late afternoon, while I was drinking tea with a friend, to say that my husband wasn't responding as well as expected to the antibiotic and she had therefore added another. It was a worrying call for what it didn't say, so my friend and I went to the hospital (fortunately, it's close) and found him as before, uninspired by his evening meal. I'll ring up this morning and try to make an appt to talk to a dr.

My own health continues to improve.

Thank you, Jenny, for the reminder that it was Pigeonroof Mini Skeins I saw and admired at Loop. I do like them, and would buy like a shot if I could think of anything plausible to do with them. But would there be enough yarn even for a small-size BSJ?

In the account of my London adventures, we have reached Thursday. A quiet day. I met Rachel for lunch at a humble Vietnamese cafe near her work. In the evening a substantial number of us met for supper at the Chicken Shop in Balham. The Chicken Shop is a small London chain. Proceedings were somewhat delayed because Hellie's new husband Matt went to the Chicken Shop in Tooting instead.

A fragment is quoted from the ancient poet Archilochus – six words, in Greek: "The fox knows many tricks, the hedgehog only one – but it's a good one." Well, the Chicken Shop is a hedgehog among restaurants. Go, if you can.

They sell grilled free-range chicken. With it you can have a green salad, coleslaw, corn on the cob, fried potatoes. Afterwards, apple pie or a brownie, with or without ice cream. I first heard of it at Hellie and Matt's wedding – they had Chicken Shop hot sauce on every table. I remembered the name, and tried googling. But it turns out you can only get Chicken Shop hot sauce by going to the Chicken Shop.

We had a happy evening at the Balham branch. My only regret is not ordering corn on the cob. I love it, and only abstained because it was so utterly out of season. But everything else was so sublimely good – those potato fries beggared description – that I cannot believe the magic would have failed to transform an imported corn cob.

I was sitting next to Matt. On Tuesday, at lunch, Thomas had used a subject pronoun ("he" or "she") to refer to his unborn child. It is possible that I misheard. But Matt referred to the baby with an unmistakeable noun.

On Friday I went to the Lewis Carroll exhibition – you've already heard about that. So that wraps up London. I didn't do well on pictures but I'll show you one of the Sydenham Mileses' Chinese cat tomorrow.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

We lost. It's not that we wuz robbed – it's just that we lost the match.

I'm much better. Rachel called the NHS 24 number on my behalf. A pleasant young dr eventually came. He thought I had nothing worse than a cold but left a course of antibiotics anyway. They seem to have wrought a prompt improvement.

I didn't visit the hospital yesterday. Alexander went, before the match, and says that his father was weak and breathless but in good spirits. He has been moved to the wonderful Royal Victoria building which has private rooms with en suite facilities. Good, in one sense. No sumo wrestlers or singers of Burns in the next bed. Worrying, in another – that's where he spent all those weeks last year. Alexander doesn't think there's much hope of getting him home before social services' 72-hours rule comes into effect and home help is withdrawn.

I'll go today. Perhaps I'll take that sock along with the thought of just sitting around quietly for a while.

I finished casting off the Dunfallandy blankie yesterday. Maybe I can proceed to actually finishing it today. There's not much to do.

London: now comes Wednesday. On Wednesday I went to Loop, where I met one of you by arrangement. It's a wonderful place!

I think I've found the madtosh shade I want for a basic v-neck long sleeved DK sweater for my husband. It's called Tannehill. It's dark green. I'm surprised I hadn't noticed it before. Neither Webs nor Jimmy Bean seems to carry it (I have subsequently found) – that may be partly why. It's on Loop's own website of course – the skeins I held in my hands that day were darker than they appear on screen.

Anyway, Loop didn't have enough and I've left an order. I've since found a US supplier who does have enough and am tempted to rush ahead.

Nothing else really grabbed me. They had a box of some very attractive sets of graduated colours – I wish I had made a note of what exactly they were. The title had the word "sock" in it, but the little packages didn't look as if they had enough yarn for a whole serious pair of socks, and anyway they were pure merino and I want some polyamide or whatever it's called in a sock yarn.

Sets of graduated colours seem suddenly to be everywhere. Even Koigu is doing it.

I bought Perdita some point protectors while I was there. She is obsessed with point protectors. I have a little olivewood bowl on the table in front of me when I knit, for stitch markers and safely pins and the like. I bought it in Athens last spring. She will go through it with careful paw, looking for point protectors. When she finds one, she will throw it vigorously around the room.

But eventually she will mislay it, and then we need more.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

OK: husband still in hospital, but much brighter yesterday. We hope to have him back soon, even tomorrow, and are worried again about whether social services will decide to withdraw care because he's been away too long. And I've got a chesty cough, presumably deriving from the same bugs. I'm not feverish, but my already weakened state is further diminished. Our GP offers open access first thing in the morning, I believe. I'll go on Monday if not greatly improved, to see if they think an antibiotic might help.

And today is Calcutta Cup day. We are ready; we are angry.

Let's go back to London. On Tuesday I had lunch with grandson Thomas and his wife Lucy, barristers both, in the great hall at Lincoln's Inn. Good food, too. I had thought before I went south that it was quite likely, among all those people who knew the sex of the expected great-grandchild, that someone would let slip a pronoun. Thomas himself did, over lunch at Lincoln's Inn.

There's not much more than a month to go now. Lucy looks and seems very well.

After lunch we walked down to the Strand where they handed me over to Cathy at the Savoy Theatre for the matinee of Guys and Dolls. We had a grand time. Brilliant dancing, pretty good singing. Last night I watched on my iPad the "Fugue for Tinhorns" (the opening song) and of course "Sit Down; You're Rocking the Boat". Maybe you have to be American to give it that last little bit of oomph.

As for actual knitting, I pressed those Pakokku socks forward although not quite as much as I had hoped. What with London, and sitting around the hospital on Thursday while my husband was being assessed and admitted, I am nearly to the heel of the second sock.

I'm still laboriously binding off the Dunfallandy blankie. This afternoon's sport should advance one or the other.

Friday, February 05, 2016

I'm sorry, friends.

My husband went back into hospital yesterday, with a chest infection quite probably connected with the one I had earlier in the week. The only thing to be glad about is that this didn't happen last week. I'll keep you posted, and hope to regale you with the rest of my London adventures very soon.