Saturday, March 12, 2016

After all Thursday’s excitements, there is remarkably little to report.

No more news has reached me on the baby front. The Dunfallandy blankie is on its way south. Rachel said on Thursday that Lucy’s mother will be staying with them for the first few days. She is a retired GP, and Juliet is not her first grandchild – the perfect mother-in-law.

I’m substantially further forward with Milo Bambino, a most ingenious and clever pattern. I have progressed to the second of the six graduated skeins. It’s too early to guess whether I need to worry about having enough yarn.

And I spent some time with Mrs Gaugain’s Shetland shawl, as promised, but without much result. The shawl is surrounded by a narrow garter stitch edging on all four sides. I’ve got that. It is knit on 244 stitches from start to finish.

But beyond that, every row is a to-me-bewildering succession of “take” and “cast”. I’d need to try knitting it. How is the border pattern orientated? And the centre pattern? How do they relate to each other? It is obvious from the text that the centre is separate, at least in a sense, and that it has a different pattern.

Franklin, perhaps ironically, was writing yesterday as ever was – Friday with Franklin – about the delights of knitting from 19th century patterns. He was talking chiefly about swatches and stitch patterns – the sort of thing currently on show at the Museum in Lerwick. But I am sure he would enjoy untangling Mrs Gaugain’s shawl. I’d like to do it myself, had I but world enough and time. After one had knit a few rows, perhaps one would be able to chart the rest…

I’ve printed out all the patterns I want to take with me to the EYF for yarn-buying purposes. As for lessons, I’m worried about Woolly Wormhead’s injunction (amongst others) to bring along straight needles of the appropriate size. I never knit with straight needles these days, unless they are dp’s – which would, of course,  be entirely appropriate for hat-knitting. But she doesn’t say “dp”, she says “straight”. I can see myself turning into one of Franklin’s “Knitters we Meet in Hell” at this very moment.

A fuse blew here on Thursday evening. (You don’t really need to know this.) Our fuse box is old and peculiar and well beyond my own do-it-yourself abilities. I phoned our electrician this morning, an old friend, and he said he would come, but he hasn’t done so. A third to a half of the house lacks light, although the sockets, thank goodness, continue to function.

As the afternoon light was fading today, and I was setting everything out in the kitchen so that I could find it and produce some sort of supper, I thought of my father, reading Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall” in the months when he knew he was going blind from macular degeneration. He never actually said that that’s why he was reading it. Maybe I’m romanticising.


  1. Woolly Wormhead's book "Going Straight" has all hats knit sideways on straight needles, and I've knit several. DPNs might not be long enough, but I expect they would work, if that is what you have. Convert to straights by adding rubber points to keep stitches on the needle.

    I'm glad to hear you have laid plans to attend your classes, and I look forward to hearing about your good time.
    And thanks for the baby pictures!

    1. Is there some reason you can't just knit back and forth on circular needles? I do that all the time.

  2. My father and his brother lost their sight to macular degeneration,that is a poignant picture of your father in the dusk. I have never read Gibbon, but when I hear it mentioned I think of Our Mutual Friend and some of the reading of Gibbons scenes that made me laugh out loud. I must be easily amused.

  3. =Tamar9:26 PM

    If possible, I suggest asking the electrician to replace the old fuse box with a circuit breaker box. It's a one-time cost and then if a breaker is thrown by a surge, you just turn it back on. It's also a chance to have overly-comprehensive circuits divided, so that, for instance, there's always one power access point in each room that is on a different circuit.
    Circuit breakers occasionally need replacing but it's fairly easy.