Tuesday, November 25, 2014

All of Archie's stitches are now back on the needle, and I am feeling my way cautiously around he first circuit. Some stitches are sitting backwards, of course, and others are split. Madelinetosh is rather loosely twisted – in my next incarnation, I am going to take up spinning early in life and come out with a real understanding of yarn. It would be just my luck to reappear as a sheep.

Everything is being patiently corrected, and there will be no Messy Line to mark the spot. EZ says somewhere that a split stitch is the one mistake in knitting which cannot be passed off as a Feature. But I don't think we'll have another try-on unless there is real cause for alarm.

And I did another two scallops on the edging of the Unst Bridal Shawl, without mishap. By the time I had done them, fully conscious of my resolution to try to do a bit more, I felt that it would be wiser to stop. I was perilously near the point where familiarity becomes confusion. (Which row am I knitting? Which direction am I going?)


James rang up last night to say that he has been conferring with his sib, and it has been decided that no one over eighty has to give Christmas presents to anyone any more. With two exceptions: everybody wants to go on getting the New Yorker; and it's all right to give presents to the Little Boys at Loch Fyne.

The previous reduction, agreed last summer, was that we would only give presents to the people we actually saw over Christmas. Tough on those in Athens, Sydenham, and CT, in my case, but it still left me with a hefty list. This new decision will help a lot.

I've already bought two copies of a book which I will give to Rachel and Greek Helen. (I'll tell you about it after the solstice. I suspect all four should have it.) And some Sugru. And a delicious calendar – I'll tell you about that, too. But now I can stop! Except for the Little Boys.

Sometimes I think, had I but world enough and time, that I would like to design and knit a Truly Hideous Christmas Sweater. When did they come in? I was thoroughly alarmed to see several references to Black Friday in yesterday's newspapers. I had to explain it to my husband. They'll have us cooking a bloody turkey next, and expecting our children to turn up to eat it.


  1. Wow, those last two sentences were something! I think it is lovely to have a holiday that creates rituals around gathering and giving thanks. Amid all the Shopping noise, that's what I hear people discussing. It's a great weekend for knitting, too.

  2. I hadn't realized there was anyplace left that didn't have Black Friday(and now T-Giving too) as a festival of greed. So sorry it's creeping up on you.

    Reading your blog has gotten me back to work on a project slightly out of my comfort zone. So hopefully before the end of winter(in Texas that doesn't take very long) I'll have new mittens!

  3. Alexis6:46 PM

    Oh dear! Thanksgiving is quite wonderful, in my mind, but Black Friday is just the worst. And all the pre-Thanksgiving Christmas creep...though here I am happily ignoring my principles on that point and eating chocolate-enrobed peppermint chocolate sandwich cookies....

  4. thats good that the children have lessened the stress of christmas and present giving !

    (several of us grown children get the new yorker from our surviving parent - i love it even if they do pile up and i find i read more on the web - but oh the cartoons just are not the same as on the page).

  5. CurlyMarie2:07 AM

    I believe these lovely commenters must have forgotten that Thanksgiving is an American holiday, and is not observed in Scotland!

  6. Jean, this post and the last one about being reincarnated as a sheep just make me love you even more. Please keep it up!

  7. =Tamar7:26 AM

    I appreciate and agree with your not wanting US holidays to invade other cultures. However, I don't mind Black Friday so much, though I don't participate, because it's named after a fact of economics: selling enough to be in the black ink and able to stay in business, pay employees, etc. That's going to happen (one hopes) at some point in the run-up to Christmas no matter what date or name it's given. Celebratory foods are personal; my family settled on seafood decades ago. Gifts are optional and supposed to be either handmade or second-hand, or funny. Speaking of funny, I think the 'ugly Christmas sweater' came in sometime in the last decade, but I could be wrong. First they were simply fun, then they were sneered at, then they became "ironic" (a misuse of the term, I feel), and now they're fun again.

  8. What a great post! I think coming back as a sheep just might have it's good points. No presents to buy for a start. No Black Friday and no turkey to cook. Only joking! I've never owned or worn a Christmas jumper. They have a competition where I work for the best Christmas jumper. I love Christmas but when it comes to these jumpers I'm bah-humbug. The company I work for is American (although I'm in the UK) and they are constantly trying to Americanise use. I suppose I should have spelt that Americanize! We aren't allowed to say 'Happy Christmas' - has to be 'Happy Holiday'.