Friday, March 20, 2015

Good old Edinburgh! The forecasts were very gloomy last night, but the day is starting off as bright and sunny as anyone could ask, with only a few wisps of high cloud. It could still change – the show doesn't start for another hour. It'll reach its apogee an hour after that. I'm talking about the eclipse, of course. I plan to take a series of pictures of Drummond Place for you, to show progressive darkness, not the sun's disk.

But I might venture that black bucket of water on the step again, and a very, very, very quick glance at the sun's reflection in it.

They must be clearing the decks at the Eye Pavillion and gearing up for a busy weekend. A sobering thought.

More utter non-knit:

Greek Helen sent this image yesterday. She says that cats in ancient mosaics are incredibly rare, and once she realised that this one was drinking water from the cup, not playing with string as she had at first thought, she wondered if it was a cat at all.

I told her that that is the detail which proves it is a cat. My husband and I are old enough to remember the Good Old Days when cows were sometimes milked by hand and the kindly farmer would direct an occasional jet of warm milk straight into the mouth of one of the hopefully-waiting cats. Neither of us ever heard of a dog mastering that trick.

Now, knitting

I got the shawl blocked yesterday. Here is the “before” picture, but I am afraid that in its present state it is next thing to invisible. I'll have to think of a way to photograph it for you after I unpin it.

It is disappointingly small – just under five feet square, whereas Sharon predicted 72” which is six feet. She asked for J&S cobweb “or similar”. I used their Shetland Supreme Lace Weight which probably hadn't been invented when she wrote the pattern – it's the result of a relatively recent collaboration with the Shetland Museum.

I wouldn't use any other. And I used the needles Sharon asked for, 2.25mm. Again, I wouldn't use any other. I'm delighted with the fabric. I've blocked that baby within an inch of its life – there's certainly not another six inches in each direction to be found there.

So Hellie will just have to have a disappointingly small shawl, if she wears it at all. At least the audience, those who were at Thomas' and Lucy's wedding and were paying any attention, will see at a glance that she's not wearing the Princess all over again.

As for other knitting, I got on a bit further than expected yesterday. The next skein of Tokyo Shawl yarn has been wound and the next band begun. I'll go on with it today, and also wind a skein of the new, pocket-square yarn. There's only one more Tokyo skein to wind, which is a relief. The yarn is  fine and it takes a long time. Mercifully, the alpaca yarn which is carried along throughout, comes ready-wound, as do the small balls for the accent stripes.

It's going to be hard to photograph it before the end, what with the way the cast-on edge rolls up and the alternate st st and reversed st st bands puff out. The chiselled effect created by the YO's and k2tog's distant from each other won't show until it's blocked, I fear.

And on that subject, the pattern says to pin it out to shape and then place a damp cloth on it and leave it to dry. It'll need a big cloth, even a sheet – it's supposed to be 28” x 68”. Has anyone ever blocked like that? Would it be all right to do it the usual way, wetting the article then rolling it as dry as possible in towels then pinning out?

The sun is still shining brightly, but there's a bit more cloud and some wind. I think I'll go get the papers now, before the show starts.


  1. Anonymous8:50 AM

    Actually, Jean, I think it is a dog, based on body shape, and also because it is possibly wine in the cup rather than water? The liquid seems to be pink ,and the human couple look quite merry!

    My labrador , if she gets thirsty on a walk , drinks water squirted from a water bottle, - or indeed from the watering can as I pour onto the plants in the garden - and I've seen many other dogs do the same.


  2. skeindalous9:14 AM

    I have found with the yarns for the Tokyo shawl that one needs to label them very carefully, in a secure manner. The colors are so similar that one can easily loose track of which is which. Lovely yarns.......

  3. It was so overcast here on the south coast that the effect of the eclipse was almost non-existent. I hope you had a more exciting experience.

    If I'm remembering correctly, from photos you've posted in the past, Hellie is smaller than Lucy isn't she? Maybe a slightly smaller shawl will be just right.

  4. rosesmama10:37 AM

    Alpaca is very fragile when wet, and can shred apart when blocking. Perhaps that is why they suggest wetting it after it is pinned out.

  5. I have blocked smaller items that way, but not generally lace or anything required a wet cloth larger than a bath towel. I have pinned out and then sprayed with a mister, as well. Unless you have to block it quite severely, I can't see any reason not to use the wet blocking method. I hope you got to see the eclipse.

  6. Looking forward to the eclipse pictures.

  7. You could use a series of smaller cloths to block it, for example, pillowcases. It doesn't need to be one large cloth.

  8. My mother (90+ years) blocks everything by the damp cloth method. Sometimes several cloths/ towels are required.

  9. If the sides of your shawl each measure 5 foot, if it is worn folded along the diagonal I think that would measure just over 7 foot, if my 50 year ago algebra is correct. Plus, that bias end would be stretchy and would help hide the messy corner. I'm sure all will be well.

  10. If the sides of your shawl each measure 5 foot, if it is worn folded along the diagonal I think that would measure just over 7 foot, if my 50 year ago algebra is correct. Plus, that bias end would be stretchy and would help hide the messy corner. I'm sure all will be well.

  11. The mosaic is Dionysus, Greek god of wine and theater. The animal is his panther