Sunday, September 06, 2015

You win some, you lose some.

The Sous Sous is going to be too long. I didn't swatch – the pattern comes from Loop and is written for tosh DK. But now it turns out, the old story, that my stitch tension is very slightly too tight (that's good – it's awfully wide anyway) and row tension errs in the other direction. It's already as long as the finished measurement should be, and there's still a whole pattern repeat and more to go as the shoulders are gently sloped.

I've got to frog back and remove a pattern repeat, that's what I've got to do. I've already frogged once, when a cable proved to be wrongly crossed. I can do it.

I wound a second skein of Whiskey Barrel, so that each project would have its own. I still haven't cast on my husband's vest, and was still worried about size yesterday. Then I reflected that, as well as the original swatch for my husband's lost vest, I have Archie's swatch and the book (“Knits Men Want”) with my pencilled circlings of the numbers that applied to me. There's much to be said for always knitting with tosh DK.

It was soon revealed that Archie's sweater was knit on a calculation of 5 sts to the inch. Measuring my husband's old swatch, I had thought 5.5 and was calculating accordingly, and concluding that I needed to cast on more than I did the last time. I measured again, and now agree with myself that 5 is more accurate. It's actually about 10.25 sts to 4” on both swatches. That means my husband's original tally is going to be right again. All I've got to do is cast on.


Thank you for your help. I had forgotten Gould.

My problem is speciation. How do species split off from each other and become unable to interbreed? I read an essay once by T.H. Huxley himself, a contemporary and stout champion of Darwin, worrying about this problem. Dawkins goes on and on and ON about adaptations within species. I suspect his answer to the bigger question would be that it obviously happened – we all are ultimately descended from the first single cell, giraffes and cucumbers equally -- so the answer must be that all it takes is time.

This sounds to me a bit like that old chestnut about providing a hundred monkeys with a hundred typewriters and waiting until they wrote the works of Shakespeare. It wouldn't happen. You'd be lucky to get “Who keeps the gate here, ho!” no matter how long you waited.

Now that biology has got down to the knitty-gritty, DNA and the genome, I'd like to know – explained in language an old lady can understand – what the current hypotheses are about how speciation comes about.


Our niece phoned last night – the woman who'll drive us to the wedding, if I get to go. She said that when she met me in the hospital on a visit to my husband a couple of weeks ago, I was looking remarkably well. She put it down to my abstemious, cider-free life. I'm pretty sure that if it's true – a big if – the explanation is rather freedom from responsibility for my husband, and plenty of sleep. A disquieting thought. These conditions are soon to end.


  1. Big adjustments in your lives, Get as much sleep as you can.

  2. =Tamar6:48 PM

    I think that part of the issue with speciation is that DNA doesn't stay the same. It copies itself in order to multiply and there are errors in the copying. Most of the time they are irrelevant errors, or seem to be irrelevant, so they are passed on - things like differently shaped earlobes. But sometimes the different shape has an advantage or a disadvantage, such as making one kind of food easier to eat. So one brood of finches finds seeds easier, while a different one finds insects easier (or something like that). Assuming a greater availability of one kind of food, the ones that can eat it more easily outbreed the others, and the random change becomes permanent. Enough such changes and one may by chance make interbreeding non-viable, or at least difficult. (Occasionally there's a mule that can breed, but the next generation is sterile.)