Thursday, November 06, 2014

My sister and Roger are already at Heathrow (8:15 a.m.). It's going to be a long day for them – and they must by now have been on the go for three hours or so. They're travelling business class which will make the flight much more comfortable and allow some repose en route. But on arrival – I don't know whether it's Boston or NYC this time – they'll have to drive home. No limo this time. At least it will still be daylight, Sister Helen thinks. She says Roger is doing well.

We have an easy day ahead, insh'Allah, with a podiatry appt in the afternoon. (No nap, no cider with lunch.) Yesterday, therefore, was foot-and-lower-leg washing, not a trifling occupation.

Archie's sweater is moving nicely forward. I mustn't forget my resolution not to leave the Bridal Shawl for too long, for fear of needing to re-learn the edging pattern yet again. But I am approaching the most complicated bit of the sweater, and am currently inclined to press ahead.

I'm knitting back and forth, making a ribbed placket for a front opening, increasing at each of the four raglan points on every right-side row. BUT, any moment now, I am to slow the sleeve increases down to once-every-four-rows while continuing to increase the fronts and the back every other row. Am I up to it? After six more sleeve increases – that'll be 24 rows, right? – the sleeve stitches will be left behind and the body subsequently knit in the round – if the placket is finished. The pattern seems to think it might not be.

Good news on sizing, though. You'll remember that I threw a tape measure around the boy when we were in Strathardle recently – probably the very day I lost my keys – and the answer was 48”. So I have chosen the XL size from the pattern offerings, which promises 52” – four inches of positive ease. I made a big swatch and measured carefully. Archie seems to have left a sweater here – yesterday I spread it out and measured from side to side. Exactly 26 inches!

So the only thing left to worry about is whether the pattern-writer has done the arithmetic correctly. I was more than a bit alarmed to discover yesterday that the Knowledgeable Knitter suggests one checks that very point, before starting – see how many stitches the pattern requires at the widest moment, and compare that to your swatch and desired width.


I ordered “Icelandic Knitting Using Rose Patterns” yesterday, as recommended by Kate Davies in her latest blog post about her yoke book. No wonder books pile up on the floor, but this sounds absolutely like my sort of book.

My computer has recently denied me access to my Pictures Library, although assuring me that the pictures themselves were still there. Where? I don't think I understand file structure in Windows well enough (if at all). But yesterday I let it upgrade me to Windows 8.1, as it had been trying to do for days. Everything is a bit alarming and different-looking this morning, but the Picture Library has come back. I think I'll copy them all to Dropbox anyway.

One of you has kindly instructed me in how to abstract individual pics from a Flickr album, so I may be able to show you more wedding photographs soon. And I haven't yet downloaded the few from my own camera.

You asked about tartans. I don't think it's a subject to take terribly seriously – it was all invented by Sir Walter Scott for the State Visit of George IV to Edinburgh. But the answer is that we are Robertsons, and my husband does take it seriously. The Robertson tartan allows a lot of variation, and I think Mungo chose with care. His is Ancient Hunting Robertson, or something like that. I don't know about Archie – he could possibly be wearing a Merchiston school tartan. I'll try to remember to ask.

Once we were at a New Year's party in Strathardle and I overheard an arrogant neighbour say to James, “I see you claim to be a Robertson”. “Robertson” is one of James's names – he's JAR Miles. His son Alistair is AJR Miles. James replied politely.


  1. skeindalous10:24 AM

    A new gadget that is very helpful with the count-several-things-at-one-time sort of knitting is the 'Sirka Counter' by Grellow and Gray. It has a set of dials that you advance each row and it tells you when you need to do one sort of decrease, and when to do another sort. Seems odd at first, but it is a clever and well made device. They have an informative website. I am usig it to do cable counts and body shaping decreases simultaneously. It does, indeed, work!

  2. Anonymous1:28 PM

    The keys are sitting in the spot where the tape measure was---in the sewing basket, in the drawer or on the shelf!

  3. Ellen1:46 PM

    The reason that its good to check measurements at the point where you separate the sleeves from the body is that this is the one time that you can measure the whole thing while it is flat. You can thread all the stitches onto one long piece of yarn of a different color, or do the body and each sleeve separately ( preferred method as its one more step taken towards completion). In the Yarn Harlots blog yesterday there is a picture of her trying on a WIP, doing just that. The advantage to doing this at this point, is that if the measurements fall short, you can add a few extra stitches at the under arm, or take a row or two back if you find you have gone to far. Easier to do now, than later find it's the wrong size.

  4. I'm named after my maternal granny, Isabella Robertson. It's the norm in my family to take both of your granny's names (my elder sister is called after our paternal grandmother) so I have Robertson as my middle name. It all rather fell apart with the next generation of girls though so my DD has both her grans' first names as her middle name and my DS has my mother's maiden name as his middle name.

    Last time I looked though both OH and DS favour OH's maternal grandmother's tartan though, Hunting Morrison. It's best not to take tartans too seriously, I agree!