Saturday, May 05, 2012

I am sorry for yesterday’s silence. I was suddenly hit on Thursday evening by the sort of depression that feels like the wrecker’s ball. Will the dining room story ever end?

The latest man, from HBMDJJ, came yesterday, and inspired confidence. He is drawing up an entirely new specification, including bringing the ceiling down, repairing consequent damage (if any) to the cornice and ceiling rose, putting a new ceiling up, redecorating. The wallpaper is in good condition at the moment, only slightly dusty, and ideal for the prints we hang in there. The need to replace it was sad news.

It will take a week or so, he said, for the insurance company to take all this on board, and then there will be another interval while his company schedules the work.

But have we the strength to see this out?


Still, yesterday went better. I picked up the snood again, and got the grafting done. It’s not too bad – but wouldn’t it have been smarter, Jean, to put the join in the darkest stripe instead of the lightest? The loose ends have been tidied, and there remains but the “light blocking” the pattern recommends.

I was very grateful for Wednesday’s comments about provisional cast-ons. Annie, a machine-knitting friend once recommended the course you suggest, a few rows knit in a waste yarn, and just face up to the subsequent unpicking. That will be at the top of the list the next time I have to do one.

Shelly, I managed the “itsy, bitsy spider” cast-on once, working from some book. It wasn’t called that, but one recognises it at once. It was fun, too, once one got one’s fingers going. I can’t remember the subsequent effort to recover the stitches, which probably means it went smoothly.

FiberQat, I’ll search out Judy’s Magic Cast-On. That sounds promising.

Shelly, again, that was an interesting story about Candace’ sock class. I think I learned the crochet cast-on from her, when doing one of her patterns as a Games entry. Can’t find a pic. Melody? There, it worked fine, and was a revelation. The resulting cardigan was (as usual, for me) unplaced.

But if I ever get to attend the workshop I now dream of, one of the things I want to learn is that one about the crochet chain, where you pick up stitches into the back of it. I did that only once, and it was a total disaster, involving an agony of unpicking. But, surely, if one gets it right….


I met a Strathardle neighbour in Drummond Place yesterday – sort of thing that happens. She said she had heard James on the radio recently. News to me. An email from his wife Cathy says that he has been much involved (not surprisingly) with Ch*n G*********. He (James) has been urging him (Ch*n) not to go off to America with his immediate family and leave his old mother behind at the mercy of the village political thugs. I was rather touched.


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  2. On top of everything else, you now have to select new wallpaper. That would be the last straw for me. No wonder you were depressed yesterday.

    Crack open a cider and ignore everything for half an hour.

  3. As always, with things like the ceiling, it is not the getting it fixed that is the killer, but the hanging around while the experts decide what and when and how much, and take so much of your life away while you are waiting on them. Somehow it seems impossible to settle whole this goes on. Amazing just how much knitting you are actually getting done.
    You are strong - take a bite and hang on like a ferret!

  4. Barbara12:49 PM

    I learned the grafting using waste yarn rows from Lucy Neatby in a sock class. She calls it "knitting a toe chimney" because knitting five or six rounds at the toe of your sock, using a contrasting color yarn looks very odd, a little like the chimney a child draws on the picture of a house. She stresses that your chimney should be knit of VERY SMOOTH or even slippery yarn to make unpicking it easy.

    I love this technique, as I'm not very good at grafting. It is very easy to do, as you are simply "recreating the stitch" which you can already see in front of you.

    Lucy has a video of the provisional crochet cast-on I found when I googled it......very helpful and clear.

    Barbara M. In NH (currently in Michigan!)

  5. Repairs and renovation are terrible indeed. Too many decisions. Too much dust.
    Good thing knitting exists.

  6. I want to just make sure it's totally clear - I love Candace and have complete respect for her as a person and her knitting and teaching. She is totally awesome and funny and creative beyond belief! I would take another class with her in a heartbeat. It was just this one tiny thing that I disagreed with her on, in a shrug-your-shoulders, each-to-their-own kind of way.

    Also, with the crochet cast-on, you get the same result whether you make the crochet chain around your knitting needle or you make the chain first and pick up the stitches. I've done both with success. I say, if you already know how to manage the one around the needle, don't go back to the separate chain! It's just an added step with more chance for error and probably best for people who just can't fathom how to do a crochet chain *and* get it around their needle at the same time with all the fumbling. I love provisional casts-on because they're just so cool and leave all options open till the end!

    Jean, you will make it through this ceiling mess! You are strong! You have a very strong will - I hear it in your voice when you blog. Channel some Elizabeth Zimmerman, and knit on through all crisis! Better, accept all the help you can get from family - that is what they are for! Getting your husband out of the house while it's all being done will not only be better for his physical health, it will keep him out from underfoot and allow the business to get done without so much back seat driving. (Sorry, utmost respect for your husband, but it does sound like he's a bit of an extra cook in your kitchen here!)

    You can step through this one day at a time, and it will make a funny story to tell one day when it is all over and you have a fresh, new dining room to tell it in. (Still, yes, the situation sucks and through no fault of your own. I hope the upstairs people understand what havoc they've wreaked on your life! I hope the construction people are really loud and obnoxious and make them suffer a little tiny bit)

  7. The ceiling business must be tiresome and time-consuming, but it will come to an end at some point. "Come what come may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day..."

  8. Christine10:00 PM

    Judy's Magic Cast On is great, the only way to start toe up socks for me, a bit fiddly till you get the hang of it, but worth a bit of persistence. Maybe not the thing to try right now!! My Mum and Dad had a habit of having deluges through the ceiling during my childhood and adolescence. It happened several times for various different reasons. The ensuing chaos became part of our family history. It's funny now, but it wasn't then!

  9. =Tamar10:50 PM

    The crochet cast-on works but I have to look it up every time and I still get it wrong. Judy's Magic Cast-On is wonderful and it does create the same number of stitches on both sides (or one fewer or even two fewer if that's what you want - it's flexible). I still have to look at the instructions but it's even better than the crochet one for toe-up socks and top-down hats.

  10. =Tamar10:50 PM

    The crochet cast-on works but I have to look it up every time and I still get it wrong. Judy's Magic Cast-On is wonderful and it does create the same number of stitches on both sides (or one fewer or even two fewer if that's what you want - it's flexible). I still have to look at the instructions but it's even better than the crochet one for toe-up socks and top-down hats.