Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rachel and her family, ever prone to sudden, decisive action, drove to Glasgow from south London yesterday, to spend the weekend with Alexander and Ketki. They will all watch the Rugby World Cup final together, and I’m glad I won’t be there. But we will go over this morning to join them for lunch at the New Loon Fung restaurant on Sauchiehall Street. The website is largely in Chinese, which promises well. They are said to be tolerant of small boys.

We’ll go by train this time. Less sock-knitting opportunity, alas. And not free.

Digital television

I re-tuned our new set, and reception of BBC1 and BBC2 remained lousy or non-existent. So I wrote to the Toshiba helpdesk, and got a prompt reply in the form of a couple of questions. Zen-fashion, they solved the problem.

Was I watching in digital or analogue mode? Until yesterday, I didn’t know there was such a thing as digital television. I thought it was in the future, and I knew that our new set promised to be ready for it. But no, it’s here among us. I figured out how to switch to analogue – it’s not the best manual in the world, but it’s not the worst, either. The set then tuned itself all over again, and all is well with BBC reception. So full marks to Toshiba.

Somewhere down the line we’ll need a new aerial, I’m sure.

And I figured out how to make the screen square for old movies, a point that had been worrying my husband a lot.

So we’re very happy, and I feel I’ve Learned Something.

My swift

I got it in an antique shop. It’s a form of shopping which my husband is fond of, and I abhor. But there it was. I didn’t even buy it. We went home, and I thought about it overnight, and rang up the next day. I have seen two or three similar ones in antique-eria's since, but they’re not common. Is there some website where one could register a request, like asking Abebooks to look for a book?

The side bars have holes in them, and you can easily move the dowels on which the cages turn up and down to accommodate skeins of different sizes. There is a nice little cup on top, for resting the half-wound ball of wool in when you want to go off and do something else.

I was in my Knitlist phase when I got it, and wrote about it. I think someone said that it was called a “squirrel-cage” swift. I think she or someone else remembered old-fashioned wool shops with a similar arrangement, only larger, somehow attached to the wall, for winding customers’ skeins.


I finished my LibraryThing catalogue – about 250 books, when the ones on dyeing and mosaics and needlework alphabets and Amish quilts are subtracted. No time for Ravelry this morning, though; we must rev up for Glasgow.


  1. Re. the swift-- Yes, they are called squirrel cage or vertical swifts. I purchased a brand new one made by a man in Virginia. His wife owns the Yarn Barn and sells them online.

  2. I also have a squirrel cage swift. One time when I was moving, the moving men listed it as a pet toy on the inventory. Seeing as the only pet I had at the time was a cockatiel, I got a good laugh from that. Although, come to think of it, my birds do tend to use it as a perch.

  3. I used to be able to do wondrous things with tinfoil rabbit ears back in the seventies but I'm not sure that knowledge would be much good to me now. TVs ain't what they used to be.

  4. I'm trying to remember the spinning related item I saw in an antique shop in the Westport. The price was £60 and the wood was beautiful - so solid and such a feeling of it having been well used. What stories that item could have told us. The owner didn't know what it was, but I was pretty sure it was a swift - but antique or not, I didn't want to pay £60.

  5. Jean, could you phonetically spell
    'Sauchiehall' for me? I've often wondered how it's pronounced. I'm sure my effort is badly wrong.

  6. =Tamar4:22 AM

    I can appreciate the beauty, the space saving element, and the security of having the skein held on what are essentially pulleys, but then I imagine the yarn occasionally getting caught in the works. I think I'll stick with the swift I have. It isn't as pretty, but it is very sturdy and it has an attachment that lets it twirl a huge cone of yarn while I wind off however much I want.