Here we are. Today's ordeal is to be the washing of my husband's hair. Any joint enterprise brings out the worst in him – and it's fairly near the surface at the best of times. If one is, for instance, hanging a picture, this can be a good thing, Adrenalin flows. One does not err from inattention. But washing is different, It would go better if we could laugh about it like friends.
Knitting continues to go forward smoothly. I've clearly reached the endgame of the Unst Bridal Shawl – I can see that, from the way it hangs from the long needle when I turn around at the end of a row. This final side is proving remarkably disaster-free: that's good, too. Now I must find a place to block it.
I am fretting a bit about the length of Archie's sweater. I have an old one of his here – not a fave, but I've seen him wear it. And it's perhaps a bit short. It measures 25” from the highest point of the shoulder seam to the bottom. I've just looked up the measurements for the most successful sweater I ever knit, Joe Ogden's Grandson Sweater. 26”, is the answer. Joe is tall, but not nearly as solid as Archie. Probably not quite as tall.
I was grateful for Kristie's comment the other day, that big men need a bit more length. On the other hand, men don't snuggle down in oversized or even just overlong sweaters as women sometimes do. Men need fit. Rachel once bravely said that a sweater can't be too big – when I had just finished knitting a too-big one for her, from “Kaffe Fassett at the V&A”. I can think of at least two too-big sweaters I have knit for men.
The schematic for the pattern I am knitting from “Knits Men Want” shows a rather alarming 31” from top to bottom. The fact that it ends in shirt flaps, rather than ribbing, may justify a bit extra. And there seems to be a mistake – although that remark usually means that I have misunderstood something. My current target, according to the book, is 17” from the underarm. Then 1 1/2” of flap. But the schematic shows that length as 19 1/2”.
Laying the current project on top of Archie's old sweater, mentioned above, it looks as if the new one is about an inch deeper in the armholes. An extra inch already, therefore.
I think my conclusion to all this is that I will skimp a bit on the 17” prescribed.
One undoubted advantage of top-down knitting is that an error here will be easy to rectify. A Boys' Weekend is planned, fairly early in January, when James' and Cathy's son Alistair, now in his first year at Glasgow University studying computer science, will come over and Archie will get away from school overnight. (Alistair is finding things rather Glaswegian over there, as I certainly did in my first year at that institution.) The cousins are close in age – the pregnancies overlapped, so to speak.
Surely by then I will have finished the body of Archie's sweater, and he can try it on with only the sleeve stitches to be put on waste yarn. When he tried it on before, to assess chest size, it took three days of knitting time – one to put the stitches on the waste yarn, two to retrieve and unsplit them and sit them aright.
A message from Loop yesterday says that the red yarn, for the inside of the hems, has been dispatched – first class, and requiring a signature. If our usual postie is doing the round, she'll sign for me. But you never know, this time of year. One skein will go easily through our big letter box, unless Loop has some very unusual packaging. But it's one more thing to fret about, at least somewhat.
I do like Kate Davies' new hat pattern, based on one of the designs in her Yoke book. The actual pattern not yet released, but soon.
I have an early dental appt tomorrow, so I won't be here.