Friday, September 05, 2014

The persecution from PUP-FOP – the endless pop-ups from McAfee saying “Potentially Unwanted Program Blocked” – hasn't started yet this morning. Long may it last. It stopped yesterday evening, in fact -- I thought maybe I was being attacked by a Chinese computer which had been turned off for the night.


Thomas Ogden, the eldest grandchild and this year's bridegroom, sent me this link to an extremely interesting talk Lord Sumption gave at Lincoln's Inn last year. It's as lucid as Cicero. It's not an argument for one side or the other, more an historian's account of how we got here. Half of it is devoted to Ireland, the Union that failed.


No further news from Glenalmond. Mungo's kilt, however, is ready – it was somehow or other delayed by a delivery of faulty cloth. His father is rightly concerned that Mungo shouldn't be embarrassed by having to appear in trousers on the first Sunday of term at his new school when everybody else is wearing a skirt, so has arranged for the kilt to be taken by courier, delivery guaranteed for tomorrow. Unfortunately – as is common – the courier won't say when they're coming here for the pick-up, so I am nailed to the spot. My husband isn't really nimble enough to get to the door.

Fingers crossed for early. One of you is coming to see me today. We will stroll in Drummond Place Gardens if I am free.

Foggy Knitter, I don't know the learn-Latin book by Peter Jones. I'll look into it. I have given Mungo “Gwynne's Latin”, a recent book by an elderly ex-schoolmaster who believes (as I do) that the best, certainly the quickest, way to get hold of Latin is by means of the good old-fashioned paradigms, amo-amas-amat and little sentences about girls loving sailors.

I was interested in the remark in your blog – link provided just above – about the early instance of a circular-needle pattern in that Coronation Year magazine you recently bought. My first experience was as much as 10 years later, a pattern in a Vogue Children's with a deep Fair Isle yoke. I learned from it the profound pleasure of knitting Fair Isle in the round.

But I have a vague half-memory that my maternal grandmother (Texas, but not a native) knit skirts on circular needles. That would have to be in the '30's. Maybe I'll have a look at my early Vogue Knittings, to see how those skirts are knit with their hundreds of stitches.


I've finished the fold rounds on the Rams & Yowers border, and turned the corner for home.


  1. Ah, I still have my very battered copy of "An Intermediate Latin Grammar". It begins, if I remember with "agricola" and "hasta" and other such words. My friend who has just gone into a nursing home is looking into whether there are any on-line courses in Latin. (She took it up a couple of years ago as a retirement project but cannot now get to university lectures.) If she succeeds I will advise you accordingly. Mungo may find such a thing a useful back up. Peter Jones is very basic but good fun. (He also did an ancient Greek one.)

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  3. Very good of you to be available to catch Mungo's kilt when it lands. I'm sure he will be very relieved to have it on time.

  4. Hi Jean,

    I'm wondering if you've been following Deb Robson's posts about being in the Shetland Islands for the past several weeks?

    She's the former editor of Spin Off magazine and has written a couple of books about rare and endangered sheep breeds. Her blog is titled The Independent Stitch. I think you might enjoy revisiting Shetland through her.

  5. Ah, how it takes one back! I chose to study Chemistry rather than Latin at 14, only to find that I had to do a crash course in it at Sixth form level as it was an entry requirement for the English course I wished to do. One would need more Latin than that O Level gave me to tackle Classics as a university subject.
    Did Mungo have his own tartan to choose for his kilt, or is there a generic Glen Almond plaid?

  6. Jan Hughes9:38 PM

    One more computer comment, as I switched from PC to Mac early this year. It's a very beautiful machine, and a pleasure to use. The software, however, can be difficult.
    First, the book to get is: "Switching to the Mac - the missing manual, or the book that should have been in the box" (Amazon). Second, the peace of mind outweighs the initial frustration - where I used to get a daily barrage of penis-enhancement emails, now I only get about one a week, and it's for an African investment opportunity. This leads me to believe the hackers figure Apple users are (a) wealthy and (b) well-endowed. Since I am neither (and female, to boot), I figure I am safe. Onward!

  7. Anonymous12:38 AM

    I have several cable needles, still in their wrappers, that I believe are from the '30s judging by the sweater fashions pictured on the wrappers. The cables are actually very tightly wound tiny steel coils spot welded to the steel needles. And I remember my mother had some of them in the '40s. I was fascinated by some where the cable was sprung. The ones I have are about 24" long and none over US size 3. I remember the gorgeous dresses my Mom and aunties knitted in thin crepe yarn.

    I knitted my first stranded sweater in 1963 on plastic circs. using Fleischer's Bear Brand worsted. It was a Norwegian pullover with an allover rose pattern. I don't remember where the pattern was from. I knew nothing about steeks so when I got up to the armholes on the body I just turned and purled. There was no one to tell me it was too hard. And since I didn't have any DPNs when I knit the sleeves I just pulled up a loop in the cable - 40 years before magic loop.
    patknitter in Seattle

  8. Jenny1:18 AM

    I knit myself a two piece roughly in 1968. It was a beautiful coral colour and the skirt was about one inch above the knee and that was scandalous. For me anyway!
    I have no idea what became of it!