Friday, December 30, 2011

Here we are. We’ve survived the solstice. Can we entirely trust them to have thrown the switch Up There? But they’ve never failed us before.

We had a grand time at Loch Fyne, although my husband still hasn’t recovered much oomph since he came down with that cold three weeks ago. Rachel and her family are safely back in London – it’s a long drive – and we are here. Alexander delivered us to the door yesterday, whence he had collected us on the 23rd.

Yesterday morning we were blasted from sleep at about a quarter to eight by a flash of light which filled the room and the dull, popping sound, much magnified, of a fuse blowing. My first thought was that the power point on the far wall opposite the window (into which my beloved iPad was plugged, charging overnight) had exploded.

It was, in fact, lightening. The house lost almost all power, a phenomenon none of us had ever seen before. Electricity, in our previous experience, is either on or off. But yesterday the Loch Fyne Mileses had lights which glowed dimly –so the lines weren’t down? – and nothing much else. They also lost their telephone (so no internet). Ketki phoned from her mobile while we were being driven home, to say that power had been restored. When I last heard, BT was promising reconnection for sometime next week.

The iPad is fine.

Much to catch up on, but knitting is most important.

Here is Arne & Carlos’ bauble being hung on the tree by James-the-Younger, shortly after the start of the King’s College Carol Service on Christmas Eve. This year’s soloist – the boy who sings the first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City”, unaccompanied, to a listening world -- was particularly glorious. That’s the moment when it’s all over; that’s when it starts.

Here are the two Brownstones, a few days later, on Big Thomas and Little Thomas. Fit is not entirely successful, in either case.

Here is almost the last of the yarn, as a beanie on the head of Alistair Miles, James’ and Cathy’s son. The fit is perfect, if I do say so.

Except for a sunless lull on the 27th, serious gales blew incessantly. My husband couldn't attempt little walks about the garden, as we had hoped.  I got lots of knitting done. Those KF hand-dyed-effect socks are within perhaps 20 minutes, perhaps less, of completion.

I used to knit socks on 64 stitches for all the gents on my best-beloved list, until my husband found a pair too tight and I switched to 72. This time, I finished and Kitchener’d the first sock sometime last week. He tried it on and found the foot too big – “like a duck-billed platypus”. So I took it back to the gusset – the worst part of that is deciding to do it – and knit the foot on 64. It seems fine.

When KF’s random-striped Regia, colorway “anthracite”, arrived here some weeks ago, we thought it too blue. My husband is anti-blue. But now, in the solstice light even at midday, it looks like anthracite, and I think I will cast it on today, at least tentatively, for the next pair of socks.

And when they are finished – roll on, 2012!


  1. I am glad you have survived the stresses of the solstice (and Christmas). We had a similar bang and power cut earlier this week - around 2:40am - for some reason it set the oven timer off and caused the bedroom clock to "jump" forward half an hour!

  2. skeindalous12:32 PM

    Very pleased to hear cheerful news from you. The two boys in the Brownstones look very dapper, despite your hesitancy. May 2012 be a most excellent year.

  3. Anonymous12:43 PM

    Welcome back, Jean. I've missed you!

    Barbara M. in NH

  4. Best wishes for a very Happy New Year!
    I feel like we can already see more light each day in Toronto.
    We need those in Northern Finland to weigh in with whether they have three hours of daylight yet ...

  5. So glad you had a good Christmas, and wish for you that, as the days lengthen, you may both strengthen.
    I too have been having baggy sock problems of late. I have no idea what is going on - I used to just cast on 72 stitches and knock out a pair without even thinking. Now they are baggy. It is not just you. It is annoying having to wonder if I am getting them right!

  6. The Anthracite is wonderful. I am working on a apir of socks in it now. Very little blue. It is nice to have you back blogging. Have a wonderful and healthy New Year.

  7. =Tamar2:52 PM

    I'm happy that you had a happy Christmas, and wishing you a Happy New Year as well.
    I wonder about the fit problems - sleeves can be shortened, but I wonder - are you knitting more loosely, or could it be that the yarn is stretching? Also, I'd be cautious about shortening even the sleeves until after they're washed again.

    Lightning happens, but getting dimmed lights as a result is very odd. Is there a lightning arrestor on the system? I'm not sure how they work but maybe there's some kind of surge-suppression arrangement that got stuck? Glad it was repaired quickly anyway.

  8. Anonymous2:59 PM

    Go glad to have you back and glad to hear your holiday was good.

    I think the 2 sweaters look good. Thomas the Younger will surely grow in to his, and Thomas the Elder can layer his to pad it it out. They both look very handsome in the sweaters!

    I hope 2012 is a great year for all the Mileses world-wide.

    Beverly in NJ

  9. Anonymous3:06 PM

    I love the red sweaters and the beanie. Glad you had time with your family. AND welcome back.
    Ron in Mexico

  10. Donice3:25 PM

    I had the same thought about the boy who sang the opening of "Once in Royal David's City" this year, he was just about the best I've heard. I always think of those boys waiting to know who will sing, and then being the one who must sing to millions. It is 10 am here in Ohio when he sings, but I thought of you beginning the tree.
    I received an iPad for Christmas and am thoroughly enjoying it, and so grateful that you had talked about Zite - it was one of the first apps I added.
    Happy new year to you and yours, and much good knitting. All of the red knitting looks splendid!

  11. It was so nice to get up this morning and see you are back. I am glad your husband was well enough for you to make the trip to your son's so you could spend Christmas with your family. I am also glad your iPad didn't suffer from the strange power outage. I have never heard of the power being partially off like that either. Very strange! And the Brownstones look great on the recipients.

  12. Glad to read that you all made it safely through Christmas. We have had that weird brown-outness here in Ontario. Happy New Year!

  13. Welcome back, Jean. Pleased to hear that all survived.

  14. Anonymous5:12 PM

    Hi Jean, I also knit my husband's socks with 72 stitches but I always have 2x2 ribbing on top of the foot (so the socks aren't neither baggy nor tight). I don't mind ribbing though, and I know some knitters avoid it as much as they can...

  15. Ah, it was nice to see your blog come up again in my reader.

    I have taken your request (a few months ago) that I begin blogging again and have worked that into my resolutions for 2012. Now to try and figure out what my password might be.

    Happy New Year, Jean :)

  16. I thought of you, Jean, as I arrived at my parents' house on Christmas Eve day (in the mid-eastern part of WI) to hear them rave about listening to the service from Kings College. It's a tradition they'd begun once my father retired and wasn't spending Christmas Eve afternoon preparing for the upcoming services.

    We've had lights dim momentarily when lightening has struck nearby, but nothing like you describe. So strange to have it sort of "middling."

    Happy 2012 to you and yours.