Sunday, October 28, 2012

Odds and Ends

I am enjoying my 25-hour-day, although it won’t be so much fun when the dark descends this afternoon.

I hope all East Coast American readers, and my sister and her family, are well battened-down in advance of the storm.

Sock yarn: those of us with a bulging bag of sock yarn oddballs should always keep an eye on what The Socklady is doing. The link is permanently in my sidebar. Currently, she is showing her most recent pair of “conservative wild & crazy”s – a work of art. The longer you study the way they nearly-but-don’t-quite match, the cleverer it looks.

Else wrote to me a propos gents in scooped-neck sweaters (yesterday, Beverley Nichols; Friday, the Prince of Wales) saying that “these low-necked sweaters are not for the working men who have to be kept warm while on their boats or tending their sheep...” It is an aspect of that strange style which I had never considered: perhaps it was an essential part of the evolution of men’s knitwear from purely functional to fashionable.

Jeanne, thank you for the kind remarks about my daughter’s Fair Isle sweater yesterday. (It has appeared here before.) The colours are all natural, and it’s rather wonderful how they go together. Some of the variation is achieved by the differences between sheep – that is, the yarns are undyed. And the colours are all from Strathardle lichens, from my Dyeing Phase. The reds are from ochlorechea tartarea which I found above the Croft of Cultalonie – I think I could still take you to the spot. Lichens are much more forthcoming with browns and yellows – I can’t remember what I used for those, but they were abundant.

I’d like to get back to dyeing, although it’s difficult when the kitchen is occupied all day with food. I’d like to try growing woad.

All well with the Wingspan. I am nicely advanced with the 5th triangle and the first ball of yarn still hasn’t given up the ghost.


I am thinking about getting my husband the new Microsoft tablet – is it called Surface? The name is utterly forgettable, whatever it is.

He is about to finish a final revision of the Magnum Opus and wants me to put it all on his Palm for future consultation and searching. I think a tablet would be better for a number of reasons. 

This new thing has a USB port, which ought to make it easy to port the Magnum Opus in. I am equipped to convert his files from the DOS-based Word Perfect he uses into Microsoft Word, the modern lingua franca, already present on the Surface (if that’s what it’s called). It would require some learning, but I think it could be done. He never did master mousing, and now we have moved beyond that.

And if we extended wi-fi to previously uncolonised parts of the house, I think he could learn to use the Web. He knows how useful it is, but I have to do all the searching.

So if anyone knows anything about this new machine, I’d be interested to hear. I hope they stock it in John Lewis so I can go up the hill and talk to a Young Man.


  1. Anonymous1:00 PM

    I have a personal, admittedly irrational (in part) dislike of Microsoft and its products. (For me it dates to those pre-Windows days when one typed Ancient Greek, or any non-Latin character set on an Apple and "what you saw was what you got" but on pcs you typed code, printed, and hoped you had done it correctly. The intervening years brought further experiences which did nothing to change my initial impression.) So that factors into my suggestion: instead of a tablet, why not one of the newer Kindles or Nooks? They provide e-mail access & web surfing, but are also designed for consultation of books (even if self-imported). And perhaps the publisher would provide a free author's copy of the electronic edition? Just a thought. - Cheers.

  2. You might want to hold off on the Microsoft Surface. From everything we are's a mess. Here's a link:

  3. For all things technical I go to CNET. Here's the review

    It seems the learning curve is steep on the Surface if you are a committed Windows user but since your husband doesn't have to "unlearn" a lot of things it might be just the thing. The chief complaint about the Surface seems to be the lack of apps but for your husband's use I don't see that as a problem. The apps will no doubt come in the future.

  4. =Tamar4:33 PM

    Some people on the east coast have evacuated to safer places and others are battening down the hatches while hoping it won't be as bad as they are predicting it _might_ be. It just occurred to me that the weather predictions sound as overblown as some of the political rhetoric. It's all "might be" with very little solid information.

  5. Anonymous4:38 PM

    re: sock yarn. I was intrigued by the Jacques Cousteau cap that you mentioned. After knitting two plain for adults, I switched it up for a couple of child-size hats, using leftovers of sock yarn knit two strands at a time. I am most pleased with a nearly-solid red mixed with a wild variegated - overall looks red but much more interesting. Thanks for the pattern note.

    Beverly near Yosemite

  6. Actually, it look lik it might be worse than the hype in terms of the storm. I had a few friends who had to evacuate last minute.

    My mom does something similar with her odds and ends Jean. Since sh only makes ankle socks she has lots left over, so she will make pairs with mismatching sections, toes, heels or the body different colors of leftovers. They are fun in their insanity.