Friday, August 15, 2014

Yes, great news about Alistair. He didn't quite get the grades the university had asked for in its formal offer so there was half an hour, at least, of despair in Sydenham yesterday before they got onto the UCAS website and discovered that Glasgow (his first choice) had accepted him anyway. They won't be sorry. He is going to do computer science of which (at least in the view of his awestruck grandmother) he is already a keen amateur. Robotics and 3-D printing. I don't think he was well served by the school in Beijing.

I think Hellie had a similar experience – grades not quite good enough – before Newcastle accepted her. In her case, there were at least a couple of days of agonised waiting.

Alistair's younger sister Rachel, meanwhile, had been doing some AS-levels – she was a year behind him. She got two A's and two B's and it doesn't matter much anyway, as she has decided to start the Sixth Form again (two years) at her London school. One of the B's was for Critical Thinking. We are all curious to know what that subject consists of, and how Rachel could possibly have failed to get full marks in it. She's an ace at Critical Thinking. One of the A's was for Mandarin.

So the next excitement will be Archie's and Mungo's GCSE results, next week. Mungo (Archie's younger brother) is a bit of a nerd, in the nicest possible way – his results are likely to be stellar, and I am anxious that Archie shouldn't be too entirely eclipsed, to mix my astronomical metaphors.

Hellie and Matt's engagement was announced in the Times yesterday. We hadn't read it for a while, and enjoyed it a surprising amount,


Well, I did count the stitches I had picked up, top and bottom, around the centre of the Rams & Yowes blankie, and, sure enough, there was a considerable discrepancy. After a bit of a mental tussle – couldn't I just make some corrections on the first round?– I undid the top (“when in doubt, take it out”), slid my finest lace needle through the stitches to be picked up, and knit them (not without difficulty) from that. The count is now a near-perfect match, top and bottom.

I haven't checked the count on the sides, the steeked edges. I'll do a lot of counting in the early rounds. But I expect the sides to match, or nearly.

I have embarked on the first round, which is purled. That's not arduous at all, it turns out. I'll go on doing garter stitch in the round the basic way. But the super-long needle has suddenly become a burden, too much time needs to be spent pushing stitches around, so I'm transferring to a shorter one, which may prove to be too short. Meadow Yarns again, if so.

No Unst Bridal Shawl at all while all this was going on yesterday.

I had a considered look at the new Rowan magazine while I was up in St James' Centre yesterday. (Boots didn't have the prescription yet, so I'll have to go again.) I didn't care for it. I hope Rowan hasn't lost its momentum. John Lewis had the cover sweater on display, that one with the cabled body and Fair Isle sleeves. In real life, it's much more attractive than I expected. The yarn (Cocoon) is sort of fuzzy and the pleasant haze smooths over the differences between the two elements. I've knit Cocoon into big scarves a couple of times. It's yummy stuff. But this sweater is not for Archie.


  1. Sometimes, the old ways are the best, no? Purling every other round, that is. I have a tendency to spend too much time trying to figure out something clever and end up back where I started. (In life, too, not just knitting!) Cocoon is lovely stuff, but a whole sweater would be warm enough for a coat.

  2. That sweater in Cocoon is gorgeous in real life...yes it would be super warm....maybe more appropriate for Alistair in his Glasgow U dorm?