Saturday, December 19, 2009

I think this would be a good point at which to pause for the hols. Happy Winter Solstice, everybody – except for Kate and her friends, who will have to watch the light retreat henceforth. (Alice, as she fell down the rabbit hole: “How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards. The antipathies, I think.”)

The ASJ is finished, except for its two buttons and a couple of loose threads, no more. I wanted to rush ahead and get it blocked so that it will be dry in time for Loch Fyne. It’s a light yarn, and I’ll move it in to the cosy kitchen tomorrow or Monday. Looks OK, but the proof of the pudding…

I hope to have some action photographs when we get back, of that and of my Christmas knitting. Maybe even one of me in my green suede jacket.

Here’s a pic of the left-over yarn, easily enough to knit another ASJ except that I’ve used slightly more than half of the Charcoal. Thus are stashes formed.

I think I’ve come through these dark days in slightly better form than usual, with only occasional glimpses into the abyss. This could be due to:

a) taking a lot of vitamin D;
b) the placebo effect of taking a lot of vitamin D;
c) the weight loss. Nobody seems to notice my new, trimmer self but two stone is a lot of luggage not to be carrying around, and I feel much sprightlier;
d) the lo-cider element of my regime – alcohol is depressing; or
e) just one of those things.

I'll relax my regime a bit over the hols, although I won't be sending out for any deep-fried Mars bars (not a joke: they are a well-known Scottish delicacy). But cider! cheese! bacon! that sort of thing.

I didn’t buy any yarn yesterday. John Lewis only had a couple of balls of Rowan’s Calmer, uninspiring of colour, and the whole frantic atmosphere of the place disinclined me to spend any money for anything. My current thought is the Coward’s Solution – two chemo caps, one cashmere and one sock yarn.

So – goodbye, God bless, see you next year sometime.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I am very grateful for all your help with my chemo cap project. Holly, I’ve downloaded and printed the lace-edged cap you like. I’ve got another prescription-collecting job to do at Boots this afternoon – I’ll look at Rowan “Calmer” in John Lewis. I don’t think I’ve heard of it. I’ve got cashmere, and abundant sock yarn, and Jaggerspun Zephyr which Sharon suggested in a private message, but no “Calmer”.

“Calmer” would mean breaking the yarn fast, but this is serious.

My cold continues subdued. I had a grand time yesterday, got shoes, fairly silly-looking but dark and I think comfortable. I went to East and bought a skirt which I needed and a glorious jacket which I didn’t.

I’ve gone down a dress size. The pleasure of plucking the 1*’s from the rack, instead of the 1?’s, fearing that alone in the dressing room I would burst out of them like Tom Kitten, and finding that they fit nicely, with ease! You can imagine. Skirt and jacket are both dark green. It needs but a green hat with a feather and I can be Robin Hood in a Pantomime.

I’m down to the last few rows of the ASJ. I should finish today, and start on the finishing (so to speak). One now reaps the benefit of those endless rows – there’s not much seaming, just the shoulders and, continuing on down, the top of the sleeves. And fewer ends to deal with than might otherwise have been the case.

Alexander phoned last night and proposed coming to get us next week, instead of my driving west. It is a delightful prospect, and wonderfully good of him, considering especially that he is about to host a house-party of indeterminate length for 13 people. (Add in the home team of four, and we won’t be 13 at table: don’t worry.) We will have to return by public transport, but that should be easy when we have left behind 15 presents and a Christmas pudding and an (empty) bottle of Savigny-les-Beaune. And some other stuff.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The 1600th post. This is ridiculous.

One of the seriously depressing aspects of this time of your, at our age, is the certainty, as one sits down to write the Christmas cards – “Dear Frank and Jane”, “Dear Evan and Brenda” – that the incoming tide will bring bad news of someone, from somewhere. Gone the days when one's friends' Christmas cards reported their children’s successes and marriages and childbirths of their own.

We had some bad news yesterday, from old friends in Birmingham. They came to see us in April, in Holy Week. He seemed, then, to be fading, she as strong and energetic as ever. But she told us that day of the cancer she had survived. It was a big ‘un.

Yesterday’s card said that his kidneys have failed, and she is back on chemotherapy.

I thought I’d knock out a chemo cap, over the hols. Ravelry is bursting with patterns, all free downloads. But I sort of incline towards the simplest of cloches, cast on and knit upwards in st st and let it roll itself upwards to make a brim.

I had a wee rustle around the stash this morning. I’ve got some Cherry Tree Hill cashmere and silk, not as luxurious to the touch as that composition suggests. Almost string-like. But it would be non-irritating. I’ve knit a chemo cap with it before. There’s some Jade Sapphire Mongolian cashmere, utterly wonderful to the touch. It would be like having a light-weight cat on your head, And some Brown Sheep Handpaint Original, mohair and wool. I’m not sure that that wouldn’t be ever so slightly prickly.

Or Koigu? Or sock yarn? Advice welcome.

A day of some progress yesterday. I think my cold has passed its apogee. My sister-in-law sounded grateful on the phone that I wasn’t proposing to inflict it on her, and happy with the idea that we should just postpone the present-exchange until after Christmas. So now I’ve got today, during which I mean to get those shoes and drop in at East.

I had a good run at the ASJ yesterday – only 3 ½ inches to go on the second sleeve. It was a good idea to finish off that endless edging first. Yesterday’s activities involved the old one-two of prescription-picking-up and post-office-queueing – Boots and the PO are opposite each other in the horrible local mall – so I went on into John Lewis nearby and bought buttons. There are still six evenings here, unless I get into a terrible twist over present-wrapping. That should finish ASJ and cashmere watchcap both – and perhaps even leave a moment to swatch the chemo cap, so I know what size needles to take along when we head west on Wednesday.

El Dorado

Jenny, it’s wonderful to meet another El Dorado fan. I actually went on a demonstration, when it went down. We rode on a bus, perhaps open-topped, from Euston Station to Broadcasting House and presented a petition, I think to Anne Robinson. I still have my demonstrator's tee-shirt, "I Am One in 8 Million" (referring to the audience-size), and I wear it for gardening when Strathardle weather allows.

Tamar, that’s a very good question – what should the programme have been called? I like your idea very much, “Paved With Gold”. I’m trying to think of something with sunshine in it – so far no success.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Soap operas

It’s “Neighbours”.

For many years, it was “Crossroads”. We lived in Birmingham, and the ITV studios weren’t far away. We often saw the actors in our local shops. It involved a real effort of will not to smile at them. It was one of Thomas-the-Elder’s very first words. Rachel was giving him a bath one day when he started pushing her away and trying to say something. She realised he meant, it’s time for Crossroads.

When it went down, we struggled to find a replacement. At last! “El Dorado”. That one was good. It only lasted a year – Alan Yentob killed it, and has never been forgiven. I should have written my letter to them, which was to suggest they change the name. It sounded like foreign muck to half the population, and like something you didn’t really want to watch, to the rest. It was set in a British expatriate community in Spain, a brilliant idea. I read somewhere once that Marks and Spencer doubled the sale of a certain soup when they stopped calling it “vichyssoise” and re-labelled it “leek and potato”.

Now we’ve got Neighbours. We tried “Home and Away” the last two days. I found it unbearable.

My cold is no better. I spent yesterday afternoon in bed. Like my husband’s cold which preceded, it remains confined to the head. It means we can’t go to lunch with my sister-in-law tomorrow for the annual exchange of Christmas presents – she has suffered a series of chest infections in the last 18 months, and has been in and out of hospital. Currently she’s on steroids and bouncing about like a spring lamb, but I still don’t want to go near her carrying an active respiratory virus.

What are steroids? The Wikipedia entry seemed completely irrelevant to my sister-in-law’s problems.

So Christmas chores are being pared down where possible. Fortunately knitting doesn’t involve much expenditure of energy. I’ve finished the first ASJ sleeve and picked up the stitches for the second. Both that and the hat should be ready for Loch Fyne – a week today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I think I’m getting a cold, like the one from which my husband is continuing to recover. A simple cold, streaming eyes, sore-ish throat, much sneeze, nothing worse. One is torn between the perceived need to soldier on and the known need for caution.

Christmas is going well – I should polish off the last couple of recalcitrant Christmas cards today, and move on to the much more arduous task of present-wrapping. One more session with the post office queue is inevitable. I need new shoes – I can’t go to Loch Fyne in these.

And I have another costume from East in mind – skirt, blouse, jacket. Unnecessary and extravagant. But tempting.

I need to get some cider in for this coming Sunday, and for coming home to. That involves an expedition, now that the local off-license has closed. And the rest of this week (but not next Monday or Tuesday) is dotted with appointments.

You get the idea. I’m sure your own week is worse. Our soap opera, the half hour when we sit down at the end of the day and I pick up my knitting, has unexpectedly been withdrawn from the television schedules. We’d expect it to go off over Christmas, but this week? Britain is about to close down for a fortnight. It behoves all of us to behave normally this week.


I would have finished the first ASJ sleeve last night, but that I had to wind skeins for the last two stripes. “Franklin’s Panopticon” went fine, “Charcoal” for the final border got in a tangle. I should use the swift more often and rely on my knees less.

Beverly, I shouldn’t have spoken so hastily of Schultz’ patterns looking ridiculous. I was mainly thinking of his “mantel aus 4-fach-patches”, a knee-length coat of electric blue, worn by a white-haired 60-year-old. It would stop the traffic in Drummond Place. But the basic idea is fine. It could be half the length, and it doesn’t have to be blue, which is not my colour anyway. The book is full of good ideas.

How we all miss You Knit What?

Speaking of which, Donna Druchunas is full of enthusiasm for a book called “Crazy Lace”. I don’t believe it. I don’t think you can sit down and just let rip and create worthwhile knitted lace, any more than you could design a bridge that way. Nor do the photographs from the book incline me to revise that opinion. But I am open to persuasion. Has anyone seen and tried to use it?

Monday, December 14, 2009

I think my husband’s cold is receding. We will continue to be very careful.

The hat reached the crown-shaping stage yesterday. One more session should polish it off.

But back to the ASJ today. I missed the chance of some sunshine yesterday, for picking up the stitches of the other sleeve, what with Mass-going and lunch-cooking. So far, today doesn’t look very promising.

Unrelated trivia

Yesterday’s sermon was delivered by a priest who tends to go on too long. I played a game my husband taught me, from his school days. You listen for a word beginning with A, then for a B, and so forth. It’s harder than it sounds. You have to sort of print the text in your head as it is delivered. I imagine that it creates on the face of the player a look of rapt attention most gratifying to the preacher. It would work as well for any tedious speech. I got all the way up to P yesterday. That’s pretty good.

Mel, thank you for the German rendition (comment yesterday) of “theologiques, nourrissants et morbifuges”. I was reminded of a favourite comment on Horace’s poem “O fons Bandusiae”, addressed to a spring on his farm in the Sabine hills. He says (rightly) that his poem will cause it to rank among the famous fountains. A German commentator on that line explains, “Such [famous fountains] were Arethusa, Castalia, Dirce, Hippocrene and is now near Schulpforte the Klopstocksquelle.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My husband is no worse, I’m pretty sure, but – at best – not much better. Franklin’s near-death experience is sort of encouraging. He pulled through. He also introduces a new temptation for the yarn dieter – Lorna’s Laces Fisherman Yarn. I hadn’t known about that. I think maybe my safest course of action is to start a list of what I’d like, for use when the year is up.

I’m proceeding happily with the ASJ sleeve. A couple more evenings should do it. And of course I can safety-pin the sleeve seam and try it on without even putting the stitches on waste yarn. One begins to see the advantages of top-down knitting.

At the very last moment, I grasped that I must pick up the sleeve stitches in a bright colour – that’s “Huron” – or I would only widen the unwanted brown stripe. I’ll balance it with another big brown stripe at the end.

But I think today will be cashmere-hat. I could put a pom-pom on top! I think I will!

I never finished telling you about my new knitting books.

I like “Norwegian Handknits: Heirloom Designs from Vesterheim Museum”. The museum turns out to be in Iowa – maybe you knew that. It is a museum of Norwegian immigrant materials, more than a century old. The book is good, patterns for mittens and hats and stockings with those shaped calves, and sweaters, too, and also lots of interesting old photographs.

“Swedish Knits”, on the other hand, is a huge disappointment. It is a knitting textbook, sort of Montse Stanley but I’ve already got her and she’s better. The authoresses are native Swedes, it says.

Schultz’ “Patchworkstricken” has also turned up, Even without much of any grasp of German, I think it’s going to be valuable. (Imagine trying to say “theologiques, nourrissants et morbifuges” in German.) For one thing, several of the projects are modelled by ladies of advanced age – although not as advanced as me – which is helpful in letting one see what looks ridiculous.


Leslie, it is wonderful to hear from you. When I got on-line, in 1994-5, my first venture into cyber-space was to look for knitters. I joined a chat group called, I think, rec.craft.textile.yarn. Leslie found me there, sometime in ’95, and suggested that I join the Knitlist. The rest is history. As I remember it, those early adventures were entirely text-based. I hadn’t figured out the Internet yet. It seems utterly of a different millennium.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sorry about yesterday – I had to take the car in for an overdue service, and found myself driving before dawn in freezing fog. I haven’t done anything like that for years, and it was scary.

The day went on like that – a real diet-breaker. I wanted only to eat chocolate, drink cider, and buy yarn. But I held out.

This morning was forecast to be as bad, but the dimly-discerned gloom beyond the window doesn’t look foggy to me. Anyway, by the time I set out to retrieve the car this morning it will be what is laughingly classed as full daylight.

“A Serious Man” is a good film – highly recommended. My husband sounded a bit sniffly on the way back, and by yesterday had a full-blown cold. His chest is clear, I think, and there is no fever, but everything is scary at 84. Especially in December.

The big news here – Rachel rang up on Thursday, just after we got back from the film – is that Hellie has a job with Greene & Heaton. A proper job, with a contract. Hellie is bright and personable and extremely hard-working. She has been determined to get into publishing. But it’s a hard nut to crack at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. The quest has had its thoroughly depressing moments, including some this week.

She has been keeping costs down by living with her parents, and keeping body and soul together with temping jobs. She never signed on as a "job-seeker". The official unemployment statistics must exclude a lot of people like her.

Dawn, I cannot adequately thank you for tracking down the phrase I imperfectly remembered, describing the wines of Savigny-les-Beaune: “theologiques, nourrissants et morbifuges”. Having that right will greatly enhance the experience of drinking the wine. I’ll report back after the hols.

“Morbifuge” is translated on several sources provided by Google – probably one source, repeated – as “death-preventive”. I don’t know French but I do know Latin and I’m going to risk my neck here by venturing the opinion (without looking it up) that it means “disease-preventing". “Morbus”, not “mors”. It's a wonderful word. I suppose you could spoil the whole thing and translate “healthy”.

And, oh yes, knitting.

I’ve picked up stitches for the first ASJ sleeve and am knitting merrily on, tapering the sleeve. 100 stitches are a mere bagatelle. Charlotte, casting on more at the beginning would widen the ASJ body and deepen the sleeve, but wouldn’t have much effect on length. I’m getting good at the geometry of this thing.

I didn’t like the picking-up, and wound up with six extra stitches. But it looks neat, and it’ll be OK if I can pick up the same number on the other sleeve. If the sun ever reappears around here, I’ll seize the moment and do the job. Artificial light, dark brown stitches to pick up, and poor eyesight are an unhappy combination.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I got that skein wound, and had another satisfactory evening of hat-knitting. There’s no project so swiftly-completed and so heartening as a simple hat.

(If all goes according to plan, this yarn will literally have been around the world. It is Chinese cashmere which I bought from I don’t remember where they are, but assume the yarn arrived there via the Pacific or perhaps the North Pole. Thence to CT, thence to Edinburgh, and now back to China via Europe and Russia.)

The skein was broken in several places. What could that be but m*ths? Oh horror! horror! horror!

I pinned the ASJ together and tried it on last night. Size is good. EZ is right that the sleeves in their present state hit the arm at a particularly hideous point. I need another eight inches or so. I’ve now got to figure out the amount to decrease, and the rate to do it at, all by myself. I don’t like thinking, especially in December.

(Kathy, the only thing that gets me through Christmas these days is on-line shopping and starting early. Yesterday, in recognition of the fact that December was about to move into double figures, I counted how many Christmas cards remain to be written and how many days remain to do them in – and found, to my surprise and pleasure, that I don’t have to up my game. The job will get done, as long as I maintain my present peaceful rate of progress.)

Thanks for help on the asymmetrical jacket front. I looked at the Melville pattern, and browsed Ravelry, and will get VK out and look at Gaughan. But I felt as I have felt before that a jacket whose pieces were actually of different lengths would look silly and/or incompetent on me. Ambermoggie, your suggestion of the Elsewhere jacket absolutely satisfied the mood I was in. I’ve bought and printed it.

Elsewhere jacket: that’s a Ravelry link. If you scroll through the pics by people who have knitted it, you’ll find lots of Ambermoggie’s work. I am particularly heartened to see that it can be worked in such different yarns.


We’re going to attempt the Coen Bros’ new film again today – we aimed for it last Thursday and bailed out because my husband was hypoglycaemic at lunch time and I was exhausted after a morning of running around town.

I had a brief phase some decades ago of reading books about wine. I never got very far with drinking it. But I think I remember – although I can’t persuade Google to confirm this – that the wines of Savigney-les-Beaune have been described as “nourrissant, philosophe, et morbifuge.” I love the phrase, and yesterday, at Waitrose, I finally bought a bottle. I hope soon to consume it with friends on the shores on Loch Fyne. It was expensive but not absurdly so, and I thought, why wait any longer?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Thanks for the help with the ASJ – current thinking is to taper the sleeves into a garter stitch cuff of some sort, keeping the sleeves shorter than the version in Knitter’s – and for the undeserved compliments on the colours. Lorna’s Laces did it all. My only contribution was the coup de rouge, in fact several, and “Envy” to add a lime-green accent the way Kaffe does.

I bought Famous Blogger colours, especially of course “Franklin’s Panopticon”, for the sake of the bloggers. “Amy’s Vintage Office” was perhaps a mistake, in this context. I like it, but maybe not here. I see a slouch hat or socks in its future – I’ve still got two complete skeins.

Anyway, on we go. I had planned to give today to the cashmere watchcap, which has started well. Note its new Progress Bar. But the skein I’ve now got to wind turns out to be disordered. How did that happen? Not my fault. I’ve got it over the back of a chair and will have at it from time to time, but for the sake of my temper, actual knitting time had probably better be devoted to actual knitting.

The excitement here yesterday was the arrival of Father Christmas in the form of all those knitting books I ordered from Amazon last week while I was supposed to be doing on-line Christmas shopping.

“Haiku Knits” was a mistake – I knew it was a gamble. There are some nicish things, but nothing I’ll ever knit, and nothing that catches and lifts the spirit like the things in my Japanese magazine, Flat Knits of the New Style or whatever it was called.

“Painter’s Palette” – the Koigu book – is much better. With that, and with Herr Schulz when he turns up, I should be able to work out something in mosaic knitting for my Koigu stash. Choose a shape and devise little pieces to fill it. Schulz is in German and will arrive from a different source.

I haven’t even started on the Norwegian and the Swedish books.

I have found myself thinking, the last couple of days, about a wild, swoopy asymmetrical jacket. The sort of thing that looks as if you had seriously miscalculated. I hoped maybe Haiku Knits would produce one, but it doesn’t. The Anhinga has something of the spirit, except that it’s not a jacket and not very asymmetrical. Perhaps I’ll trawl the Twist Collective today.

As for photography – by accident rather than design, all five recipients of my Christmas knitting will be members of the party on Loch Fyne at Christmas. I’ll take the ASJ along and get photographs of the whole crowd.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Target un-hit, again yesterday. Casting off 450 stitches purl-wise (or however many it was – somewhere in that ball park), is not done in half-an-hour. But it's finished -- that part is finished -- although the hat isn't started. I like what I’ve got. I’m particularly pleased with those neat mitered corners.

My initial reaction, contemplating it like this, is to think no collar after all, and perhaps simply lengthen the sleeves to mid-forearm without shaping. I’ve got the ASJ-revisited pattern out, from Knitter’s Fall 2000, in which the sleeves are tapered to a garter stitch cuff. So I might do that, keeping the sleeves on the short side. I had originally thought to shape them and end with a ribbed cuff which would harmonise with the ribbed collar.

Decisions, decisions. This is a good moment to stop and knit that watchcap.

Comments, etc.

Janet sent me a puzzle to do this morning. Art, rather than knitting. It was fun. It was Helen C.K.S who launched me down that particular primrose path – she’s got some good ones in her sidebar. Knitting, rather than art.

Janet (again), when I first read your Pearl Harbor comment, I thought one or the other of us must be remembering the time wrongly. Time zones always give me trouble. But then I worked it out – your 5pm EDT would be 4 or even 3 in Detroit, and that’s how I remember it, mid-afternoon.

No more electronic gaming comments, but I had a rambling financial one this morning.

A friend is coming to lunch today – art, rather than knitting – and although it is only going to involve a hearty soup and some French bread, I had better go start faffing about.

Monday, December 07, 2009

I vividly remember December 7, 1941. My father was the Associated Press bureau chief in Detroit. The memory is of him answering the phone, and rushing out. He was at home because it was a Sunday afternoon. One of those memories in which I can almost see the room and its furniture.

Less than I’d hoped got done yesterday. Couldn’t have anything to do with cider-drinking? But I have now embarked on what will be the last ridge, the last two rows, of the edging of the ASJ. Then it has to be cast of in purl. So today’s plan is to do that, and to start the watchcap if there’s still time. If I succeed, the ASJ will be ready for quite a revealing pic tomorrow.

The intended recipient for the watchcap will be among a substantial party expected on the shores of Loch Fyne on Boxing Day. On Christmas Day itself, there’ll be nobody there but us chickens, namely the Loch Fyne Mileses and my husband and me. So I can knit the hat right down to the wire and even finish it on Boxing Day in the morning if need be.

One of the great joys of ’09 was finding and buying clothes to wear to Theo’s wedding. For the wedding itself (as distinct from the rehearsal dinner) I had a sort of embroidered linen coat, not as grand as it sounds, worn over an old dress. I think I’ll get it out for Christmas Day. Maybe Ketki would wear her shalwar kameez. I have heard her little boys asking her to wear her “wedding dress” again.


Yesterday’s comments, including one from Ambermoggie herself, sort of answer the question about the pattern for the Red Sandstone Jacket. How unexpected the answer seems – a spinner’s leaflet. All my knitting used to be done from them. Now, I can’t remember when I last used one.

Kathy, I went over to the Ticker Factory just now and found it very confusing. I get the feeling that the underlying idea is to measure menstrual cycles looking for fertile times. A worthy objective, but of little use to knitters.

I think you start by choosing the option to count down or up to an event, and then just toil through screen after screen of rulers and then of sliders. I like my little sock, but the background is boring. My starting date was the day the box of yarn for the Grandson Sweater arrived from Sweden.

Sabrina, you’re quite right, I can turn on full moderation or word verification for the blog when we head west. The spammer has left me alone for 24 hours (I think) – perhaps that’s encouraging. There used to be ads on (my vice) telling you how much money you could make at home with your computer. I wonder if your task would prove to be placing spammy comments on blogs and getting paid when people clicked on them?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

I’m half-way through the ASJ edging, buttonholes in place. I put in only two, in the modern fashion. Saves all that fuss about spacing them, and I really don’t think buttoning up from top to bottom is what will be wanted.

It’s got six mitres, at various corners – four outward and two inward. I think I’ve got them all going in nice straight lines. It was a bit scary at the beginning, with poor eyes and poor light and dark yarn. I put in lots of markers, of course, but if you put in a marker between (say) the bottom of the jacket and the upward-advancing stitches, and then start a mitre, you have to remember on the next round, a long time later, whether the centre stitch was the last one on the front or the first one on the bottom edge.

I can’t bear to leave off now, so I will go ahead and finish the edging and cast off, possibly achieving all that today. Then tidy up, then maybe think about that last Christmas present, the cashmere watchcap, before proceeding to lengthen the sleeves.


Donna, your concern about sag is a serious one. I will keep you posted. Sock yarn is light, and garter stitch is firm: I have high hopes. My worst episode on those lines was an alpaca fisherman’s-rib sweater, long ago. After a couple of wearings, it was a mini-dress. A couple more, and it was discarded. It was bliss to knit, and I learned something about alpaca from the experience.

Kathy, that is an unnerving story indeed, about your unwanted commenter. I think the only time I’ve deleted a comment that (probably) came from someone who had actually read the blog, was the time I was describing the street in south London where EZ’s aunties lived and where she herself spent some months towards the end of the Great War, to get away from the Zeppelins. Mount Nod Road, not far from where Rachel lives, and one day she drove me along it. The comment was the one word “snob!” and I took it to refer to something I had said about the comparative size or detachment of the houses. Or did I refer to the “better end” of Mount Nod Road? I’m sort of scared to look back.

I’m keeping up with the electronic-gaming comments, which are coming in thick and fast. I worry about what will happen when I go away for Christmas.

EJ, I want to know about the “red sandstone jacket” too. I’ll write to Helen C.K.S. today. I didn’t try Ravelry myself, but I followed her link to Ambermoggie, from whom she apparently got the pattern. There’s the jacket again, and again no specific detail about the source. It clearly depends on having a wonderful self-striping yarn, and I don’t think I’ve got anything that qualifies in stash, so I mustn’t let myself think about it too much.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Oh, TickerFactory! I wondered yesterday whether I would continue to get credit for individual days, now that the scale has changed. I do! What fun!

And speaking of shameless plugs, I’ve had a few unwanted comments lately mostly (or perhaps entirely) about electronic gaming. They're not obscene, and I get rid of them pretty quickly. I think they’ll go away after Christmas. I’d rather not moderate if it can be avoided. If anyone does have anything to say about electronic games, please put in something relevant to the day’s post so that I don’t cast you needlessly into oblivion.

Excitement on the ASJ front.

I’ve got the border stitches assembled. It will be difficult indeed not to spend the day working on it, but, like everyone else this time of year, I’ve got a lot to do.

When one finishes the “skirt” of the jacket, one finds oneself at one of the lower front corners. The instruction is to knit upwards, picking up stitches on the selvedge just knitted and then adding the stitches on waste yarn and then going around the neck stitches before turning around – the back of the jacket isn’t involved at this point – knitting downwards and around the back and then up the other side.

I didn’t realise the drawbacks until I actually had the thing in my hands, starting to do it.

1) If you do it that way, the selvedge stitches on one side are picked up from behind, and on the other side, from in front. Surely not a good idea?
2) There will be one more row of knitting, half a ridge, on one side than on the other.

Since you’re probably going to be changing colour anyway at this point, why not get another long dp out of the cupboard and start at the top and go all the way around in one swoop? That’s what I did, and as I was doing it I wondered whether there weren’t a third objection to the original plan –

I left those stitches on waste yarn after a wrong-side row. If I were now to knit another wrong-side row on them, wouldn’t I get the dreaded line of st st? Even if it’s only on the inside, it seems an avoidable nuisance.

And I think, while I’m at it, that there’s an actual mistake in the pattern. There’s a drawing on page 7 of the Schoolhouse Press A-B-C-SJ leaflet, of the whole thing at the stage I’ve reached. It shows the letters “E” and “F”, relating to an earlier diagram, at what seems to me an impossible place. It should be “G” and “H”.

Hundreds of people, thousands, must have knit this famous pattern. It seems most unlikely that Mrs Miles of Drummond Place could have spotted things which eluded them all. It leaves the uncomfortable possibility that I have totally misunderstood the entire thing.

Vitamin D

Thank you most sincerely for your note on Vitamin D, Mel. I am taking cholecalciferol, by good luck rather than good management, and I’m glad to see it’s one of the safer forms. I drink a lot of Waitrose Sugar-Free Bitter Lemon; I hope that counts as water. Kidney stones don’t sound fun. And I plan to pack the project in, or much reduce the dose, at the vernal equinox.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The TickerFactory measure has re-set itself! So exciting! The most profligate among us often go a month without buying yarn – the achievement is negligible. But it feels good.

My system, if you can call it that, of thinking about the stash and sorting it and forming a mental list of possible projects is going to be helpful, I think. But danger lies everywhere, as for a recovering alcoholic. The Faculty Meeting Knitter bought some unbelievably beautiful yarn the other day – fortunately for me, a limited edition which had already sold out. Helen C.K.S.’s Red Sandstone Jacket (Wednesday December 2) is another form of temptation – I want one like that.

Yesterday went well enough, up to a point. I racketed about in the morning and hit all my targets. I was exhausted by lunch time, but it was my husband who succumbed to hypoglycaemia so we didn’t, after all, go to the Coen brothers’ new film in the afternoon. Soon.

I’ve read about Vitamin D in the NIH link Gerri provided. I seem to have hit upon the NIH upper limit all by myself – 2,000 IU a day. The symptoms of overdosing sound dreadful and seem to encompass most of the human condition: “fatigue, somnolence, headache, dry mouth, metallic taste, vertigo…”

I haven’t got to Schulz yet.

As for knitting, I keep fretting about the length of the ASJ. How long is a piece of string? Is it reasonable to measure it against a cloth jacket? It is currently 24” long, I just measured. The edging will add another inch.

I consulted Vicki Square’s ever-useful “Knitting Great Basics” – she thinks that’s enough for a medium-sized adult jacket. I have embarked on what is meant to be the final horizontal stripe – “Franklin’s Panopticon”, of course, which is going to go in all the important places. I think I’ll knit a bit more of it this evening, and then proceed to the edging, the Panopticon stripe narrower than originally planned.

I’ve had a frustrating morning of computer slowth – I’ll stop here. Here is a picture from the family Thanksgiving in London last weekend – Hellie and her boyfriend Matt and the Miles boys from Loch Fyne.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

In considerable haste, this morning. I am scheduled to spend the day racketing from one end of Edinburgh to the other like a ping pong ball, and must begin with my porridge-and-yoghurt eaten slowly and calmly as usual, if I am to get anywhere. First on the agenda, an early dental appt.

Tomorrow morning, when life calms down, I am going to follow up the Vitamin D links you provided, Gerri, and read with care. The article in the FT said exactly what you say, Kate, that Vitamin D is really more like a hormone. It also said that the large-scale trials which might (or might not) demonstrate some of the advantages claimed, don’t get made because Vitamin D is out there and cheap and no one is going to make a packet from selling it.

Thanks for the Horst Schulz information, too. I will also look up the Ravelry group when there is time to draw breath. I added his “Das Spiel mit Farben und geometrischen…” in cheap paperback form to my acquisition pile yesterday. One of his books has taken off into the stratosphere with Starmore-like prices.

The ASJ lengthens slowly. I won’t launch the final piece of Christmas knitting until its border stitches are securely picked up.

Now, off into the darkness to get the newspapers. Can’t eat my porridge without a newspaper.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Better, this morning. Simple knitting in bright colours (the ASJ) is a proven approach to seasonal gloom. And I resisted the Tempter’s suggestion that a glass of cider would help. It wouldn’t.

I’ve been taking a lot of Vitamin D lately, on the recommendation of an interesting article in the Financial Times about a professor who has devoted his life to it and thinks we should all – especially those of us who live near the North Pole – be taking much more than the official Recommended Daily Dose. He believes it is prophylactic against a whole lot of things you don’t want to have, including depression. The FT is a responsible newspaper, and there was a sidebar about how there was no danger of taking too much. Trouble is, there’s no real way of knowing whether it is helping or not.

The postman did his best yesterday, with the arrival at last of a pompom maker, and the new IK. About the latter, I am inclined to agree with the Curmudgeon’s curmudgeonly remarks, but the pompom maker is a great success. Once I figured it out. Here is a picture of, from left to right, my first and my second attempts. The third is on the hat.

Why does John Lewis, on which we rely for so much, sell an inferior pompom maker when the Clover is out there? I suppose even the buyer for Our Haberdashery Department can’t know everything.

This morning I had an extravagant depression-breaking session with Amazon. I started out looking for “medallion knitting” – thinking of my Koigu collection – and didn’t get very far, except a recommendation to a chapter in Mary Thomas which I shall certainly look at.

It was the wrong phrase, and I eventually got myself straightened out and bought Maie Landra’s “Knits from a Painter’s Palette”. Might as well go to the source. (I think I was thinking the whole time of something by a man named Horst. More than one book. Does anyone know who he might be?)

Then, partly because Amazon is fiendishly clever at leading one on, I also bought “Haiku Knits” and “Swedish Knitting” and “Norwegian Handknits: Heirloom Designs from the Vesterheim Museum”. Oh, dear.

I never said I was going to give up book-buying.

I feel pretty gloomy about stash-busting. I don’t mean that this is the source of gloom; more likely a symptom. Still, it’s there, the growing knowledge as I organise things in the stash cupboard and make plans for it, that a year’s knitting will make no impression at all. I knew that I was well into SABLE territory (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy). When I joined Ravelry, I photographed and catalogued it all. That should have tipped me off. But the full realisation is only now.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Gloom suddenly grips. I sailed through November and the weekend’s black anniversary in good form, but the Black Dog has crouched and made its leap.

I have just re-read last December’s blogging, to see how I was feeling then. Up and down, is the answer. The interesting thing is that I discover I was knitting a watchcap, in lovely red Koigu no less, which I had completely forgotten and which doesn’t appear in last year’s knitting-done roster. I fear it was a Christmas present for the person I had in mind this year for the Sock Yarn Slouch Hat (Ravelry link), which I finished last night.

My husband kept saying, “You’re always knitting hats for X.” He’s rarely wrong. It’s nice; I’ll give it to someone. But I’ll have to jiggle the present-list around a bit.

I was glad to see myself writing, on November 30 ’08, that I hadn’t started the Christmas cards yet. I thought I always got the USA’s done in November, until this year.

Fleegle’s news (comment yesterday) about “Knitting” Magazine and the Queen Susan Shawl Project is splendid, and shouldn’t leave room for gloom.


I got a couple of rows of ASJ done last night, after polishing off the slouch hat. I think I’ll attempt the cashmere watchcap, and just see what happens. But first I want to get the ASJ body finished and the edging stitches picked up.

I increasingly think about how little effect a year’s abstinence is going to have on that stash. I have started turning the Koigu question over in my head. It will be something involving medallions, I think. Somewhere I’ve got the Oriental Jacket pattern that everyone was knitting a while ago.

I was briefly in the yarn dept. of John Lewis yesterday (just looking). I asked if they had pompom makers, but was shown one that seemed to be just the old cardboard-circle system turned into plastic. That couldn’t be what so delights Angel’s mother and the Fishwife’s Princess. I must continue to wait for my Clover, but I grow impatient.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I agree, Lisa, that that most interesting letter from the Shetland Museum is a remarkable feature of Fleegle’s remarkable story. Something will have to be done about getting it into print. The last journalism I actually ventured on was Gladys Amedro’s obituary for the Scotsman. It occurred to me then that maybe nobody would do it, if I didn’t, and I think I was probably right.

It was fun, doing the research by telephone like a real grown-up journalist. (I spoke to Amedro on the telephone once, but we never met and I certainly couldn’t be said to have known her.) Something of the sort may be necessary here, if I can’t nudge anyone else into doing it.

A good day’s hat-knitting yesterday. The early crown decreases occur only once every four rows, and therefore seem slow. Pretty soon I will begin to accelerate towards the end. Maybe I’ll postpone the ASJ and finish it off today.

That still leaves time for one more Christmas hat. I am thinking of a cashmere watchcap for a child, using the skein-and-a-bit of eggshell-blue yarn left over from Theo’s gansey – the one that was meant to be photographed with then-candidate Obama, although it never happened. I’m not quite sure I’ve got enough, and the handy how-much-yarn-do-you-need calculator Helen C.K.S. gave me as a first-foot present a couple of years ago, won’t work since I don’t know the length of a skein.

It’s uncomfortable, worrying about whether one has enough yarn. And I can’t think off hand of anything else to finish off the crown with if I run out. On the other hand, it’s a shame to waste that yarn.

This week’s excitements will be provided by seeing what happens to my Tickerfactory progress line when it gets to the end of the scale, and, I hope, by the arrival of a pompom maker. That’s proving slow.


I made a good start on the Christmas cards yesterday. I’m doing pretty well with the on-line present-ordering, too. I hope to advance both of those efforts today.

But the big excitement this morning will be toiling up the hill to view an auction sale to be held later this week – one of the items is a picture of our very house, by an artist who used to live in Drummond Place. The estimate of £6-8,000 puts it well out of our range, but if my Fairy Godmother is still trying to think of a Christmas present for me, there it is.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Today’s knitting news is in Fleegle’s blog. A most remarkable project, a most remarkable achievement. I hope she – they -- will consider putting it in journalistic form. A knitting magazine should publish it – maybe the British “Knitting”, if IK isn’t interested -- and so should the Scotsman and/or the Shetland Times.

I found I didn’t even know what continent Fleegle lives on. She’s just a Super Knitter in my mental address book. I’ve trawled back a bit: she’s American.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

A good day of hat-knitting here. I should start the crown decreases today.

Thinking of the future: James and Cathy gave me some yarn for Christmas last year. It’s pretty fine, lace-weight. It’s called “Gold skin soft cashmere” – “Lightness, Softness, Comfort, Conservation”. (No goats were harmed in the making of this yarn? Or what?) Cathy said it isn’t, in fact, cashmere. It's pretty darn soft, whatever.

Until yesterday I thought half of the box was red, the other black. Yesterday, suddenly, in the horizontal winter sunlight, I saw that the dark balls are a deep brown-y purple. Wow.

I spent some time with the books, and I think I have chosen VLT’s romantically-named “Large Rectangle” as a scarf for myself. I’ll also offer the yarn to Greek Helen when she’s here in the summer – I think this has to be done in person – and we can discuss her lace shawl with stash spread around us.

I have some other Chinese lace-weight – unlabelled; I have wondered whether cashmere was involved. I bought it myself in a little shop. I think I thought, that day, that it was jumper-weight and I could meld it into my Shetland stash for future Fair Isles. But it’s not. The greenery-yallery shade seems utterly Chinese. I’d like to use it.

The colours are totally bleached out by the flash, even on the doorstep in what passes for natural light around here in late November. Interesting, though, that the dark yarn in the box is patently not black when photographed. I suspect there’s a year’s knitting right there, without venturing back into the house.

I was in the shop in Beijing that day with James – we had just happened to pass it, somewhere – buying black lace yarn to knit an Amedro-Cobweb-Evening-Wrap for Hellie. She had asked for one like the one I knit for her mother Rachel’s 40th birthday (how long ago!) and was completely unimpressed with what I could offer from stash. Black was clearly the new black, that year, for London’s teenagers.

I think I have enough left over of the (wonderful, as it proved) yarn I bought for that project to knit another one. The other skeins I threw in, as one does, because I wasn’t likely to pass that way again.


My next job, now that the income tax is filed, is to get started on the Christmas cards. It’s already late. Yesterday I got the 2008 pile out and sorted them into USA/Strathardle/rest of world/never-heard-of-him. But I didn’t get as far as actually writing one myself. Today I must.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mel, (comment yesterday) we have all seen the photographs: if you lost 2 ½ stone, you would softly and suddenly vanish away, as the Baker did when the Snark proved to be a Boojum. But you’re absolutely right that stress is a major problem in this area.

My husband was diagnosed diabetic sometime in the early 90’s, and after a long, long transitional period, I now really don’t like sugar. That helps. (I have read that the same thing can happen with salt, and that food actually tastes more interesting after the painful transition. If I could do that, I’d live forever.)

For comfort I mostly make do with tins of Green Giant sweetcorn (with or without added peppers), eaten from the tin. The urge to draw a cider-provided veil between myself and the stresses of life is slowly receding. I was pleased to note that I navigated Thursday, the filing of the income tax and the discovery that the dining room ceiling leaks, without feeling the need for a bottle.

Peanut butter remains a fatal lure. I can’t keep it in the house.

Speaking of cider, I found the local branch of the Wine Rack locked yesterday. The owner, Thresher’s, had been in administration for some time -- I knew that. I went in on Tuesday, after driving back from Strathardle in the rain worrying about whether the Forth Road Bridge would be open, to get a bottle of cider. (Home-from-Strathardle-lunch is a recognised exemption.) Shelves were thinly stocked, there was no Weston’s Vintage, and the manager, a friend from my more bibulous days, was sunk in gloom. No one was telling him anything. His first child, a little girl, was expected at any moment – already a week overdue. And he didn’t know whether he’d have a job next week.

Presumably he now doesn’t have one. He’s young and strong and responsible enough to manage an off-license. He should be all right in the end. But it’s very tough.

So, knitting.

Susan, the repair of that line of st st in my ASJ wouldn’t have involved the crochet hook – I was only a couple of rows past the spot when I found it, and the thing to do would have been to rip. The yarn is cheerful, independent stuff – picking up 294 stitches would have been perfectly possible, if slow. Better than the crochet hook, anyway. (But I didn’t do it, and still don’t regret it.)

And you’re absolutely right about how it must have happened. Despite being garter stitch, the ASJ has a clear front-and-back because I am joining in new colours consistently on one side, as Meg suggests. I must have purled a wrong-side row instinctively, and not noticed because the purl bumps fit in so neatly with garter stitch. It remains odd that I didn’t notice on the next row, either.

Here it is. My ambition is to finish the current section, the lengthening, next week, and start the edging. The st st row is in the broad red stripe near the bottom.

Slouch hat today, anyway. I’m having such fun that I may have to knit one for myself, when this holiday thing is over. It occurred to me yesterday that I could probably spend the whole year of the yarn-fast knitting with sock yarn. Then another two years knitting lace, and we might be beginning to get somewhere.

Friday, November 27, 2009

You win some, you lose some.

Yesterday began well, with a New Low (for ’09) at the morning weigh-in: V stone 11 ¾. I started off, early in Lent, at X stone 12, so it is now really true that I have lost two stone, although I have been claiming it for a while. I sort of feel that my ideal weight might be somewhere around V stone 7 – below that lies scrawniness. Back up to V stone 13 ¼ this morning – that’s the way it goes.

And the day continued well. I screwed my courage to the sticking point and filed our income tax return on-line. We are owed a small refund. That is because our income has declined in these hard times, but still it’s better than not getting a small refund.

However. Before we went to Strathardle last week, I left the income tax papers in neat piles on the sideboard in the dining room, each pile topped by a freshly-minted print-out summarising the results. When I went in to get started yesterday, I found the piles damp and wrinkled. Water had fallen on them. Through the ceiling. There was no other possible source.

That involved the nice G’s upstairs again, whose baby son Alexander died earlier this year. Much of the rest of the day was devoted to the problem. You never know, with water, but at least they are concerned and working on it. Their bathroom is above our dining room. They are going to the Royal Infirmary today for a conference with senior doctors about genetic incompatibility and the prospects for future babies.

(The G’s come into the category of people for whom I would break the yarn fast and knit a Tulip Jacket, if another pregnancy is forthcoming.)


I discovered an interesting thing, when I resumed ASJ-knitting after the Strathardle break: a whole row of st st in the midst of all the garter. I’ve left it, and it doesn’t worry me. It’s in the skirt part – I think it would look a lot worse in a vertical stripe during the mitreing bit. I don’t think I’m going to be able to photograph it, even.

But how did it happen? There are only two possibilities:

1) that I knit two consecutive rows from the same end. In order to do that, I would have had to detach and re-attach the yarn. That manifestly didn’t happen. So what must have happened is that

2) I did 294 purl stitches without noticing what I was doing. Incredible.

Speaking of leaving things: the ear-flap hat has a hem, and one is told to do it by folding the hem inside and knitting one stitch from the cast-on edge with one stitch on the needle, all the way around. I know perfectly well that I am incapable of doing that sort of thing on the wing (i.e., without picking up all the stitches in advance and carefully counting them) but I tried, and it came out more than a bit skewed.

I went forward for a whole inch and more, telling myself that it would smooth out in the blocking, before ripping back and leaving the hem hanging. I did it with a needle at the end. It looks fine, smooth as a millpond.

So I am capable of ripping, when it has to be done. When in doubt, take it out, is a good rule of life. I’m not in doubt about leaving the ASJ with its odd mistake.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, I guess. I’m glad not to be involved. The family is celebrating in London this weekend, unless it was last weekend. My sister and her husband are with Rachel on one of their frequent transits from Africa to CT, and Alexander and Ketki have brought their sons south for the occasion. Maybe we’ll be sent some pics.

Wet, is what it was when we were away. The east of Scotland got off fairly lightly, compared to the Borders and Cumbria. Even so, it was wet. Rivers and burns roared and strayed beyond their banks although they didn’t actually flow down the high streets of Kirkmichael or Blairgowrie or Perth or Bridge of Earn. We are not wimps, and we able to work outside every day except Saturday.

I got some space prepared for the seakale, and covered. The kale is gone already; the villains were early this year. I put plastic sawn-off water bottles over some of the stumps, in hopes of some greenery in the spring. I planted some tulipa sylvestris bulbs which are supposed to naturalize. We climbed up ladders and cleaned cold, soggy leaves out of the gutters.

Speaking of rivers, we buy old postcards of Strathardle on eBay these days, as well as Vogue Knitting Books. Here is our latest, surely a candidate for the title of Most Boring Postcard Ever Sold. It is unused, so there is not even the excitement of an old message and a stamp with the picture of a king. Bidding was somewhat less than frantic. We love it.


I was assiduous, as hoped. The ear-flap hat is finished, except for its pom pom. I am delighted with it. It will be delivered first-hand at Christmas, insh’Allah, and we can have a picture then.

Then I started the Sock Yarn Slouch Hat, another free Ravelry download. I’m having a great time, now that we’re back here. As we were leaving, I snatched up sock needles – appropriate for sock yarn, no? – and my new Addi circular sock needle, which arrived just in time, and a skein from the Yarn Yard called “Bonny”, which it is.

What I hadn’t figured was that with 192 stitches neither itsy bitsy sock needles nor an itsy bitsy circular would exactly cut the mustard. I managed, with a combination of them all, but it was slow. Here in Edinburgh I have head-sized circulars in every gauge known to knitting, a legacy from a Christmas long ago – before I was a grandmother, even – when I knit hats for everybody.
Now that the stitches are happily settled on one of those, I’m whizzing along. Weekends for the hat and other days for the ASJ should do it nicely.


Did you know that the Schoolhouse Press is giving away – free download – the pattern for the famous Schiaparelli Bowknot sweater?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dis aliter visum.*

We got as far as Bridge of Earn, stopped for lunch as often, discovered that my husband’s spectacle case was empty. This happened once before, and we managed a whole four or five days of talking to each other over our meals instead of reading the New Yorker. But it wasn’t to be contemplated at this time of year, when darkness drives one in to the fireside by 5. And I wasn’t too keen about having to fill the syringes for insulin injections, either.

So we came back.

And start today tired and out of sorts. We’ll try again.

Don’t miss Franklin’s London alphabet. I wondered if we’d meet at the Royal Academy on our last day in London recently (November 9) – he was going to appear at I Knit London on (I believe) the 11th, and his blog had already featured transatlantic airplanes. But, alas, no.

Angel, Rowan Cocoon, in which I have recently finished a Christmas project, is seriously soft and cosy (also seriously expensive). Just Fisherman’s Rib it? I haven’t got any ideas for your Swiss friend. That's the trouble with the pricey IK book: they don't seem to realise the pressure of time, or the possibility that you might have more than one friend to knit for.

Last night I knit some ear-flap hat – which I had expected to be doing in front of the fire at Burnside – and some ASJ, starting the length-extension. I think I want about seven more inches. I couldn’t hit upon a rule for dividing the time between the two. I hope Strathardle will see the hat finished.

Have a look at the Fishwife’s ear-flap hat. No Fair Isle, no stripes, just utterly nice. Lucky Lad!

She suggests that I – and all other bloggers – put in a plug for p/hop, a fund-raising site for Medecins sans Frontieres, the brain-child of Natalie at the Yarn Yard. p/hop means “pennies per hour of pleasure” and MSF is about as worthy a cause as you can get. On the website you can, among other things, download knitting patterns that designers have contributed and then send an appropriate donation of your own choosing.

Off we go again. Back on Wednesday, maybe.

*"The gods thought otherwise."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A good day, yesterday. I got the income tax return ready to submit – including logging on briefly to the government site to make sure that ID and password still work. I almost went ahead and filed it, but decided that it is a job better kept for the morning when synapses are firing. And not today, since we’re going to Strathardle.

The weather forecast is more than a bit Novembrine, but at least it doesn’t include snow. I want to get a site chosen and prepared for my sea kale thongs, and I want to net the common-or-garden kale (if it’s still there) against the winter incursion of deer. Anything else is parsley. There’s plenty of wood to cut and knitting to do.

I made a good start on the ear-flap hat (Ravelry link) yesterday, after polishing off the tax. The ear-flaps grow organically out of the hat by a most ingenious employment of short rows. I hope the Fishwife will allow us a picture of hers soon.

I’m not going to put in any Fair-Isle-ery, just some stripes. This is the season for getting things done, I feel.

Meg, I forgot to thank you for pointing me to the hat in the new Twist Collective. They’re awfully good, aren’t they? Going from strength to strength, I think. I like Tanit’s Jacket, and the Dryad shawl.

I have knit Amedro’s Cobweb Evening Wrap – first, as written, for Rachel’s 40th birthday, which I am afraid was rather a long time ago. Then, same shape but with Heirloom Knitting lace patterns substituted, for her daughter Hellie, and finally – again with pattern substitutions – for my sister. She wore hers at Theo and Jenni’s rehearsal dinner, and my travelling companion on that occasion, Greek Helen, said she wouldn’t mind one herself.

If there’s one thing my stash is rich in, it’s lace yarns. So I mean to do something about that during this year of abstinence. And the Dryad is a possible alternative to more Amedro. I do think the long, narrow triangle is a very wearable shape.


Sharon Miller’s new gossamer cashmere. Oh, dear.

And my husband says he wants a sleeveless pullover. If there’s one thing my stash is not rich in, it’s sweater’s-worths of yarn of any one colour. I’ll have to think about that one. There may be a work-around.


I agree, Tamar, that the neck looks empty, but that may improve. The whole thing will eventually have an edging, about an inch wide, which will both fill the neck from below and bring it in from the sides. We shall see.

Back early next week, insh'Allah.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Success at K1 Yarns. The tie-dye sock kit was even better than I expected, because the colour is in the ties. The owner, who sounds transatlantic, like me, said that she found them in the States and then got together with the Knitting Goddess to make up the kits. So, no mess in the kitchen. You tie the skein, lovely alpaca, with various colours in various places, and stew it for a while.

My only mistake was buying IK’s “Holiday Gifts” without even looking at the cover price, on the theory that since I wasn’t buying yarn for myself, I could have anything else I wanted. It was expensive and I fear useless.

Here’s the ASJ, photographed in November's early morning gloom, mitres finished, superimposed on a favourite old jacket. Now comes the part where decisions will be needed:

1) how long? That should be relatively easy.

2) What to do about the sleeves? Mid-forearm, unshaped? Or tapered to the wrist? And if the latter, a ribbed cuff or more garter stitch? Knitter’s Fall 2000 (in the glory days of Nancy Thomas’ editorship) reprises the ASJ, with tapered sleeves and garter stitch cuffs. It looks as if they would drag in the soup.

3) A collar? That decision, at least, can be left until the very end.

The Mysterious Christmas Project has embarked on its final pattern repeat, so I think the thing to do today is polish it off and then start the ear-flap hat so that I can iron out any early problems before taking it to Strathardle tomorrow. I’m uneasy about the discomfort of knitting with a short circular. I did the swatch that way, back and forth of course – even EZ wouldn’t expect you to knit a swatch cap when planning a hat. And it wasn’t entirely comfortable.

(I was electrified yesterday by the Fishwife’s discovery of a comfortable circular sock needle. I quite like knitting with dp’s, I don’t like the Magic Loop or Two Circulars. A comfortable circular would be heaven, and output should double, at least.

So, since starting to write the paragraph above – it’s all happening before your eyes – I went to Pavi Yarns, following the link provided by the Fishwife, and ordered one for myself. And then I thought, why not? and also ordered one in the size I used for that hat swatch.)

Rosesmama, I fetched out the Summer 2007 IK you mentioned, and I can’t find the update on the Maltese Fisherman’s Hat, which I would very much like to see. Could you look again and give me the page reference?

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Christmas-card-selling went well, but left me prostrate with exhaustion. Something about interacting with the real world. Better this morning.

Today’s project – I might as well be up-front about this – is to go to K1 Yarns and look at kits for tie-dying sock yarn. I had an email from them on the subject, and I thought it might make a good Christmas present for a granddaughter, accompanied by a promise to knit her a hat or scarf or even socks, as requested, with the result.

I Googled for such things, after I heard from K1 Yarns, and found examples in the US but nothing in Britain.

You’ll just have to take my word for it, that this wouldn’t count as “buying yarn”. And I will have to resist the siren voices of the rest of the shop, of course. Perhaps I should go in blindfolded.

Isn’t it funny how pom-pom-making suddenly seems to be everywhere? The gadget the Fishwife’s daughter is using to churn them out must be the same thing I’ve just ordered, and Angel’s mother uses.


As you see, the Mysterious Christmas Project is within a few inches of completion. And the ASJ needs only one more increase row – I should manage that today with any luck at all, and produce a photograph for tomorrow.

We’re hoping to go to Strathardle this week, probably on Wednesday. It’s time to organise the annual digging-out of the ditch that runs along beside our driveway. It fills up with leaves and eventually overflows, flooding the driveway and making a mess of the adjacent field. One of the distinct perks of old age is that we’re too feeble to do it ourselves anymore.

I’ll take along an ear-flap hat to knit. I’ve done half a swatch, two strands of Araucania Ranco held together, and I like the resulting fabric. In fact, I’ve thought of someone else on the Christmas list who might also like such a hat.

What is an i-cord machine, as mentioned by Tamar and catdownunder? A real machine with moving parts? or a variation on the old wooden cotton reel with four nails knocked into one end? That was my first experience of knitting, remembered with delight. For the ear-flap hat(s), however, I think I’ll probably go with a plait after all.

(Catdownunder is well worth reading for the experience of drought -- easy to put out of one's mind in the northern hemisphere in November.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It’s all your fault, Angel – or, rather, your mother’s. I’ve just ordered a pom-pom maker. It certainly sounds easier (and – dare I say it? -- more fun) than the old cardboard-circle system.

(JeanfromCornwall, how right you were the other day about the modern ease in obtaining materials. And it works both ways – a specialist supplier like Heirloom Knitting can sell to the world without the trouble and expense of a central London shop front. The Internet has to be up there with nuclear fission as one of the defining and transforming events of the 20th century.)

I am very grateful to you, Mary Lou, for the earflap hat pattern, and to you, Fishwife, for the Ravelry reference to the earflap hat pattern generator. That’s a keeper, for anyone who has a teen-aged head to knit for. Are you going to try to line yours, as Angel did and like the one your son admired?

So no heavy cotton, and no intarsia flowers, but I see a hat looming. I’m sorry to abandon the Ganomy (for the moment). It sounds an interesting idea, and I’m keen on mitres. But it’s a sound general rule of life, to aim for the product your recipient actually wants, rather than the one you think would do just as well.

What yarn? I don’t have much of anything in the way of bulky or super bulky, so I can’t use your kind gift, Mary Lou, straight out of the box, so to speak. I spent some time in the stash cupboard yesterday, reflecting rather glumly that if I do achieve a year without yarn-buying, the difference in there will scarcely be noticeable.

I considered Koigu. I have a substantial collection, which I hoard like Silas Marner his groats (or crowns or ducats or whatever they were). But maybe too light? I am rich in sock wool, to put it very mildly. Maybe two strands of that held together? I haven’t done that for a long time, but I remember the resulting fabric as easy to achieve and rather nice: firm and smooth.

As for actual knitting (as distinct from potential): I’m back in the saddle, so to speak. The ASJ now lacks only five increases – ten long, long rows – before I reach the centre front and leave a lot of stitches on hold and reveal it in all its potential glory. So I’ll postpone photography until then. The Mysterious Christmas Project is very near completion now – as you can see, because I’m keeping its progress bar up to date. I may be able to polish it off this weekend and get on to hat-swatching.

Silence here tomorrow. I’m going to be selling Christmas cards for Burma Assist at the RC cathedral in the morning, and before I do that I’ll have to make my own breakfast – can’t face the day without my porridge – and my husband’s, and lunch. Back Monday, insh’Allah.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I got a couple of those spurious comments yesterday, advertising things or perhaps more sinister. It took me a while (due to own stupidity) to find and remove them. The email from Blogger incorporating a new comment gives the first few words of the post in question (like the archives in the side bar). The first spurious comment was attached to a post that began, “Rarely if ever can a non-knit topic have been…”

I got that one, after some thought. Peter Davison modelling a Fair Isle sweater pattern, in February of this year.

The other began, “I’ve done a half pattern-repeat, nine rows, on…”

What on earth? The current Mysterious Christmas project has a 15 row repeat. The Griswold stole, recently finished, is 14 or 28, depending on how you reckon – a 14-row repeat is then offset by half. The Princess edging is 20 rows, and the centre, if we’re going back that far, more than 40.

I finally grasped what should have been obvious, that I could click on a link in the email itself. The answer is Alexander’s Calcutta Cup sweater, discussed in February, ’07. What is the point of such comments? Nobody’s going to go back that far and read it and be impressed.


Last Sunday while we were in London, there was a picture in the Sunday Times Magazine or Style section – did anyone see it? – of a vaguely Peruvian-shaped white cotton hat, heavy yarn, with ties and pompoms, decorated with three or for largish intarsia flowers. It cost £130, or maybe £160. I passed the picture wonderingly around the crowd, and Rachel’s younger daughter Lizzie said meekly that she’d really like a hat like that.

I’m thinking Gonomy. And I’ve emailed Rachel to ask her to ask Lizzie which are the elements particularly admired. If white-with-intarsia-flowers is essential, enthusiasm flags. But Gonomy would produce the shape, roughly, and stash yarns could produce some jolly stripes, and I could bring myself to add i-cord ties. Making pompoms is against my religion, but maybe they can be purchased.


Dawn, I haven’t decided which grandson to aim for, with the Grandson sweater. One of the grownups, of course – that narrows it down to Rachel’s two sons. They’re not far off each other in size. (They are side-by-side among the Various Grandchildren in the sidebar, and Joe, in the blue sweatshirt, is not as bulky as he looks there.) Maybe they could take turns with it. The Knitting Doctor has recently (November 2) finished a plain-vanilla sweater for her sweetie, and it’s a lesson to us all on how good a sweater looks if it fits properly.

So maybe I’d better pick a grandson and concentrate hard. I think I’ll see them both over the Christmas holiday – but by then I may want to have cast on.

Non-knit: I stopped off at Waverley station on my way back from the Eye Pavillion on Wednesday, and found a woman who found me some leaflets which suggest that we may get a full refund for our northward journey on Tuesday. If the delay is more than two hours -- we generously exceeded that measure. We filled out the forms and sent them off yesterday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Safely home. Good trip. Lots of art, assiduous knitting, pleasant times with Rachel and her family. It was all somewhat marred by a signal failure north of Dunbar late on Tuesday afternoon. We and our train were beached for hours at Berwick-on-Tweed.

Two excitements: as we were revving up for departure on Wednesday the 4th – after I had turned the computer off – the doorbell rang and the postman gave me the box of Finullgarn from Sweden. I decided that I might as well attempt my year-without-buying-yarn from now, and as you see have added a visual aid to that effect. The starting date is the day the Finullgarn arrived.

Will the progress bar re-calibrate itself as we approach the end of the month? It’s only a couple of lines of code. The question is enough in itself to impose yarn-buying discipline for the moment.

And as you can see from the sidebar, I not only finished the eternal Big Red Socks for my husband – he’s wearing them, and they’re fine – but started a Christmas-present watchcap out of the Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport bought in error for Shepherd Sock when I realised that the ASJ needed more.

Not only started, but finished. I got quite a lot of it done on Tuesday evening in Berwick-on-Tweed, and reached the crown decreases yesterday afternoon in an Eye Pavilion waiting room. (The dr said my sight had improved, and was clearly very pleased with his efforts at laser surgery.) So last night I finished it off.

I’ll take those two Progress Bars down tomorrow.

Excitement No. 2 was the acquisition of VKB No. 6 in an eBay auction. Helen C.K.S. bid for me while we were away – she doesn’t miss. The price wasn’t bad, and it has arrived safely despite the current vagaries of the Post Office. It’s a spanking copy.

Someday I am going to make a collection of paragraphs about how knitting used to be dowdy but has become smart. The word “grandmother” often appears. VKB No. 6 begins with a choice example – written in spring, 1935, before many of today’s grandmothers were even born:

“Knitted wear is chic. From day to day it increases in popularity. Far away in dim ages old ladies sat in horse-hair chairs surrounded by antimacassars and clicked their needles in the gloomy flicker of a gas jet, knitting and purling warm and serviceable, but infinitely unattractive, garments in grey or natural coloured worsted…”

That leads one to wonder when, exactly, chemically-dyed yarns became widely available?

My husband was allowed to leaf through my new treasure last night. He spotted an ad for a wool shop called Darnley’s with an address in Cavendish Square and another on Oxford Street. Implying, he rightly said, money in the selling of knitting wool.

(And even I remember a shop perhaps called the Needlewoman on Regent Street. Mostly embroidery, though, in that case.)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A quick touching-of-base. No photograph.

We’re poised for London. Catching the train will be tough. Once on it, a happy day’s knitting stretches ahead, with the latest collection of Jhumpa Lahiri's short stories to fall back on.

Yesterday went well. The Secret of Life is not to do any ironing or cleaning. Then it becomes possible to achieve quite a bit, even if slowed down by old age. I think the income tax is about ready for on-line filing. A terrifying prospect, but I’ve done it twice before. And this year, I’ve left things so late that I’ve missed the deadline for filing on paper.

I’ll double-check everything when we get back, and then just do it – in time to start on the Christmas cards.

I attended to the must-do’s-before-we-leave, unless I’ve forgotten some of them, and got quite a bit of knitting done, as well. I’ve reached the 15th increase row, of 25, on the front of the ASJ. And finished a skein of Charcoal – all stash-holders will recognise the thrill of actually finishing a skein. And knocked off two full repeats of the Mysterious Christmas Project.

The discussion of sleeved shawls has been interesting (yesterday, including comments). It is a demonstration, I am absolutely sure, of the thesis that great minds think alike. I am sure that Sarah Hatton’s pattern and the previous Sleeves-in-Your-Pi were separate inspirations. (Although I read something by a classical scholar once about the difficulty of knowing whether the brilliant idea that occurs to you in your bath is indeed original, or something you read four years ago.)

I’m glad to hear (Fleegle’s comment yesterday) that Sleeves-in-Your-Pi is still popular on Ravelry. And I will remember, if it makes its way back to my HALFPINT list, her idea of shaping the sleeve caps.

Day is forming outside the window. It is time to face up to it. Goodbye for now.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sorry about yesterday’s gap, especially as I had been looking forward to labelling it “La Fete des Morts”.

Good progress, however, on the knitting fronts. The Christmas Project is moving along nicely, as is the ASJ. For the latter, I had to do 25 more increase rows – that’s 50 long, long rows of knitting – after reaching the neck edge, to get me to the front edge. I’ve done 11 of them. It would be nice to reach 13 today, half-way, before we go off to London tomorrow. Back in the middle of next week, insh'Allah.

Helen C.K.S. will be the one with her finger on the trigger when the deadline comes up later this week for that Vogue Knitting Book I have my eye on. She has nerves of steel, and has acted as my agent on several similar occasions in the past.

If the weather is reasonably cooperative, I’ll take a picture of the ASJ today just lying there, not forced into something approaching its final shape. I’ve just finished a narrow stripe of Envy and am about to go on to a broader one of Roadside Gerry.

I’ve printed out the free pattern for the Claudia hat. Now that we’re actually in November, however, time presses, and I can begin to feel panic at the back of my throat. The Income Tax! The Christmas cards! One thing to be said for these dreadful, dark months – they go by all too fast.

Here’s a question for you:

Take a look at this (November 2), Fleegle’s recent, splendid FO. (I don’t read The Knitter – who’d have thought there’d be a magazine I’d skip? – but I do extravagantly admire Sarah Hatton’s work.) However, the question is this – there was a sleeved shawl in one of the magazines, probably Knitter’s, within living memory. It spent some time on my HALFPINT list before slipping back into oblivion.

Does anyone remember it?

[My notes are better than I thought they were -- I'm thinking of "Sleeves in your Pi", Knitter's, Winter 2000. I haven't looked at it yet.]

I really ought to document the HALFPINT list more carefully. I used to keep notes in my electronic Filofax of interesting patterns in the magazines as they slipped by. I haven't noticed anything worth recording in Knitter's since 2003 but, as you see, I found that useful note on an earlier page.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Scam

Mary Lou, thank you for that most interesting comment, which I have forwarded to Mary. An English friend of hers phoned the police on Friday, but they weren’t interested. Whereas in your stepmother’s case, Western Union already knew. Maybe this is a standard-variation scam these days. Maybe the police take it more seriously, states-side.

Gretchen, the scammer had thought of your points: “I would have loved to call you but i don't have any money on me and the hotel telephone has been disconnected at the robery incident” and “I've been to the US embassy and the Police here are not helping issues at all.” It doesn’t stand up when you think about it, but when you think you’re reading a message from a friend it is, at least for a moment, unsettling.

And it is very unsettling to think of a hacker not only hacking, but reading one’s emails to construct a plausible appeal. As if a burglar went through your underwear drawer.


I moved forward yesterday, but not very far. Less than an inch on the ASJ, and a full repeat but no more on the Mysterious Christmas project. It’s too wet for a doorstep photograph this morning. The latest stripe is Pilsen.


My sister grumbled in a telephone call the other day that my blog was of little interest these days, being all about knitting. She should enjoy this one, at least.

I’ve been holding back on this, but it’s all completely public-domain. The Chambers of which Thomas-the-Younger is a member has been much in the news lately.

And Thomas himself has at last got his page on the 4 New Square website. They make much of his months at JP Morgan Chase without mentioning that his Aunt Ketki was influential in securing the post for him.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Just as you said, Helen: the Royal Mail system for translating an on-line customs-fee payment into action on a specific package lying on a shelf in Edinburgh, works just fine. I got the yarn from Angelika in yesterday’s post (marked "Paid") – two more skeins of Charcoal, and one colour, Huron. Even I don’t need to have that one explained. It’s green-y, pretty bright, similar to Panopticon. That must have been the idea, to help link Panopticon in.

It’s a relief to have the Charcoal. I bought two skeins to start with. The first one is nearly finished, won’t last for more than a couple of further dividing stripes. And I need it not just for dividing stripes, but also for a final edging of the whole and perhaps a collar.

I reached the neck edge yesterday, as hoped. I’ll take a pic tomorrow, when I’ve advanced another inch. The neck-edge stitches left behind don’t do much to make photography easier. And it won’t get easier, until I’ve finished mitering and left all the front-edge stitches above the diagonal on waste yarn. Another 48 rows.

I could happily spend the rest of my life knitting Lorna’s Laces colours into random stripes, but if I had to choose one, it would be Mother Lode. Not a Chicago place at all, unless there’s a local (copper?) mine.

I’ve packed my knitting for London next week – I am determined to finish those tiresome red socks for my husband, and start on a Christmas-present hat – I don’t think I’m giving too much away, there – with the Lorna’s Laces Charcoal Shepherd Sport yarn I bought by mistake (instead of Shepherd Sock).

Indeed, it occurred to me as I worked on the Mysterious Christmas Project yesterday that I will have enough expensive and delicious Cocoon left over that I might just dash off a brioche hat – EZ has a pattern somewhere – for someone not on my Christmas list at all. Daft.


I was the non-victim of a brilliant scam yesterday. I belong to a little group of knitting friends, six women, the other five American-based. We haven’t met as a group since Stitches East in ’02 but we have a name for ourselves and we are, I am sure, grouped in each other’s mailing lists under that name.

One of us, Mary, is an Englishwoman by birth, from a numerous family. She made her career in Hollywood – as a writer – and still lives in California. But she is an intrepid traveller, adventure-prone, and the message from her was therefore perfectly plausible, saying that she had been robbed at gunpoint in London -- she often comes over to visit family -- and needed money urgently to pay her hotel bill so that she could catch her flight home.

I assumed the message was for our little group. We haven’t been in close touch lately, but we still love each other.

The prose didn’t sound like Mary, but she was supposed to be upset. I didn’t do anything but felt guilty and uneasy all afternoon, until I heard from her alive and well in California. Someone had hacked in to an old email address and sent the appeal for help, apparently, to her entire address list, not just our little group. She doesn’t know whether anyone fell for it – a Western Union address was given, to which you were asked to wire money. The police aren’t interested.

I have always felt not too worried about security for things like Googlemail, although I’m pretty careful about on-line banking and eBay. This episode sort of shows what a dangerous world we're involved in.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A less good day, yesterday. But the sky didn’t fall, and at my age I think that has to be counted as a plus.

I got back from the supermarket to find a card from the post office – they do function, intermittently – to say that they didn’t deliver a package for me because there is a customs charge. That must be the package from Angelika’s – two more skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in charcoal, essential for finishing the ASJ, and two or three more colours, just for fun.

The actual customs charge was modest, as befits a modest package. But then the post office superimposed a charge of their own, three times as large, as is their wont, to compensate them for their trouble. I paid on-line, and now I am worrying about whether that will translate into anyone’s actually picking up the package (when there is anyone available, not on strike, to do so) and bringing it to me. The sorting office used to be near here, and one could walk over in the afternoon and straighten things out. But it recently moved far, far away.

At least it’s American yarn. In my early internet days, when the world was suddenly open to me and I hadn’t learned any better, I paid charges more than once on packages of German sock wool being re-imported to the EU (=me) from Patternworks.

Later yesterday I learned that the chain that runs my local off-license has gone into receivership (like Chapter 11, only worse – teetering on the brink of bankruptcy). That’s where I buy my Sunday cider, Weston’s Vintage, and I have no other handy source, not Waitrose or the local Tesco’s. (I could divert to Sainsbury’s. They have it.) I’d rather become an out-an-out teetotaller than drink Magners.

And my troubles are small compared to those of the pleasant people who work there.

Knitting continues to chug forward. In fact, today I might reach the point where I have as many stitches on the needle for the ASJ as I started out with – a major milestone. That will mean I am at the neck edge, and can abandon six inches worth of stitches, secure on waste yarn, as I go on mitering. That will speed things up a little bit, at least at first, and also may make photography easier.

And I got in a repeat and a half of the Christmas project yesterday, too.

Mary Lou, you're absolutely right: brioche stitch is so quick and pleasant to knit, and trying to do it in the round so awkward, that there’s really no point.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A good day, yesterday: we have been having postal strikes, are having another one today. Yesterday, the system coughed up an armload of accumulated mail for us, including three knitting magazines and a wonderful package from JeanfromCornwall (posted only the day before) with photocopies of a Sunday Times series of articles about knitting from a quarter of a century ago.

I have so far only dipped a toe into all this richness. First impressions are that Knitter’s is really pretty tedious, Knitting (the British monthly magazine) continues to improve, and VK (now called Designer Knitting here) is pulling away from the pack.

There’s a KF in Vogue which caught my eye as I first flipped through, but I didn’t spot it as his. That’s unusual. It’s in Rowan Colorscape Chunky – Kaffe does half the work and the yarn does the other half and it looks easy and fun.

Lots of cowls, but I continue to prefer the Moebius one. Perhaps I’d better buy the pattern and salt it down with the others on my HALFPINT list.

“Meg’s hat”

(The mysterious and surely unknit entry on my Christmas list of last year.) Thank you for thinking about the problem, Tamar, but I don’t think it was the swatch cap. (I’ll have to do one for the Grandson Sweater, though, and am looking forward to it.)

I thought for awhile yesterday that I had cracked it – the i-cord lattice hat in a recent Woolgathering. I half-intended doing that for the Knitted Hat class at the Games this year, but didn’t get around to it. But I looked it up and it was published in March ’09, which rather rules it out for last Christmas.

I’m sure I wasn't thinking of the Dubbelmossa. I looked to see if there was a hat in Meg’s VK articles last year. No. One remaining possibility: her invention of brioche-in-the-round. There is such a hat in the spring ’09 Woolgathering (along with the lattice one, and others) but I think it was previously published in a magazine, probably in a brioche article. And I did cast on some circular brioche once, fairly briskly abandoned.

Maybe I should try again. It would be quick and cosy and fun to knit, if I could crack it.


It’s very slow, now, as I keep saying. I’ve moved the Progress Bar forward a bit, but it’s pure guesswork. The Schoolhouse leaflet I am working from doesn’t really give us a full-length picture of an ASJ. We have adults wearing jackets, but the photograph is sort of cut off at the waist. I can’t yet guess how much lengthening of the body I’ll want to add once I finish mitering. That’s the point at which a BSJ is finished (except for finishing).

Not terribly much, is the answer, I suspect. I don’t want a jacket as long, proportionately, as the CSJs which are fully illustrated in the leaflet. I’ll use a favourite, beat-up cloth jacket as a model for length.