Sunday, June 15, 2014

I am currently ¼ of the way around round 131 of the borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl – only five to go, when this one is finished.

I found Scarf Style without much difficulty. Once Library Thing had assured me that I did own it, and I approached the shelf in the spirit of come-out-I-know-you're there, it was easy. I don't like the Kathryn Alexander pattern as well as the one in the newer book, though. It seems sort of bitty and incoherent.

I knit a scarf from IK once – possibly so long ago that I hadn't started blogging. It consisted of five or seven lengthwise stripes. You began by knitting narrow strips of various lengths in each of the colours, and then joining them and knitting the length of the scarf intarsia-fashion until you got to the other end when the colours separated into individual strips again. I think my husband was afraid I would wear it and had me give it to our niece.

Maybe I can find something about it in my archives.

My sister brought the yarn from the US (it was enormously expensive, I remember), puzzled as to why she should have to import a British yarn. Whatever it was (and it was nice), it wasn't available here at all. I emailed the company to ask.

In all this thinking about missing books and Library Thing, I suddenly realised that I never got “Royal Knits” – the little book I accidentally stumbled upon on a website devoted to horrible books in libraries, such as single volumes of out-of-date encyclopedias. I didn't think “Royal Knits” was horrible at all, and left a comment to that effect.

And ordered it from a secondhand bookshop, very cheaply. There was no question this time of my simply not finding it – my Oddities section is very small. It would be there if anywhere. I went to Abebooks and soon discovered that the bookseller had been unable to supply it. Probably mislaid it himself. I never received the notice to that effect, or more likely didn't read it, assuming it was an order confirmation. Anyway, I ordered it again yesterday, still very cheap.


Archie has his last GCSE exam on Monday and will come here at once for a few days R&R. Then he'll go back to Merchiston for a bit of end-of-term-ery, including a sponsored 24-hour cycle ride. When we were driving to Strathardle at the end of May he suddenly asked from the back seat if we would sponsor him for £50. We said no, of course, and Archie was delighted because he didn't want to do it. He promised to report the exact terms of my husband's refusal to his disappointed housemaster. Mr Pyper's looks of disappointment as Archie declines to do something are apparently well-known.

But he reckoned without his energetic mother, who joined us directly from Athens that evening. She emailed Archie's cousins and aunts and easily raised £50 of support, including a contribution from us. The event itself is rather good: the school puts up a  solid marquee at the end of term in which cucumber sandwiches are dispensed to parents on Speech Day. This year, a day or so before, exercise bicycles will be installed and the boys of Archie's house will ride them for 24 hours, with 20 minutes off in each hour.

So often one is asked to sponsor someone for doing something one suspects they would rather like to do anyway. This is a genuine ordeal. Helen thinks Mr Pyper has not made adequate provision for getting in the money, and she is going to try to set up one of those websites for Archie. The money will go partly to an army charity, since they have provided the exercise bicycles, and partly to Macmillan Cancer.

And Archie is going to do it!


  1. Poor Archie - I sympathise madly. I like riding my tricycle but 24 hours of it? No, I think not.

  2. GrannyPurple2:37 PM

    Many years ago, the overweight and unfit son of a colleague of my husband's got pledges for some swimming marathon. The pledges were "per length", and he turned out (to his own and everyone's surprise) to be so good, the pledges had to be renegotiated so his sponsors could actually afford to pay up! Archie's ordeal might turn out to be more fun than anticipated, since there'll be lots of them doing it--and these are usually even more fun to look back on...

  3. I tried to comment yesterday, to thank you for the link to Franklin's newest, and although I tried three times your blog adamantly refused to allow it. I see there are no comments so...something is up!

    Anyway thanks for the link to Franklin; I love the flower he made but agree with you that this sort of thing is not for me.

  4. I found the Merchiston school website absolutely fascinating, like a window into another world. The Head teacher's notes are very revealing. It's good that Archie has thrived there.