Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter Plus One

...and not much accomplished. I haven't raised the question of eyes again with my husband, and I haven't re-attempted to get in to Typepad. We're going to the country today (so no Blog for a while) -- probably until the end of the week. The weather is very grey, but vernal, and the forecast is wet.

I've nearly finished decreasing to the end of the gusset of the right sleeve of the Fair Isle jacket. I keep checking anxiously, at every colour change -- and there are lots of them -- to make sure that I'm marching in sequence with the other sleeve. It's probably time to relax a bit and trust the balls of yarn to be in order. A mistake or two would be of no great consequence, either.

The striped Koigu waiting for me in Perthshire will be, as ever, a pleasant change. Will the potatoes have started sprouting? Watch this space...

Sunday, March 27, 2005

I've started the right arm Posted by Hello

Easter Sunday

Who would have thought they'd change the clocks today? It's a subject I'm usually pretty alert to, clock-changing, but I missed it entirely yesterday, if it was advertised -- didn't catch a mention on the evening television news, for instance, if there was one. Finally got it on the radio this morning. A great greyness has settled over the climate, so morning, noon, and night look much alike.

Above, of course, is the Fair Isle jacket, with its right sleeve started. I took this picture yesterday. The right sleeve is a couple of inches longer this morning, the gusset nearly decreased away. The totality is definately shorter than I would wish -- the whole jacket, I mean, not the sleeve. Rachel is the shortest of our four children, it'll be all right, but I'm cross at myself.

VK surprised me by turning up yesterday. Not without interest, at first glance. I hoped there might be a farewell Venishnick, but I can't find one. Every other designer I've ever heard of is there.


I am sufficiently weary of the picture-and-text problem here that I am considering a move, perhaps to Typepad which Mary Morrison uses. It's a pay service (Blogger is free), but I could afford five bucks a month if it would let me weave text around pictures. But I went to their website just now and tried to sign up for a trial and it kept rejecting my efforts with the message that I hadn't filled in all the required fields. I had certainly filled in every field I could see. I tried three or four times and then gave up. Maybe they're taking the holiday weekend off.


Our GP is all for Thessaloniki for my cataract operation, but my sister is not, for what sound like cogent reasons. My husband had a row with our optician a while ago, and now goes to someone else himself. He has embraced the idea of Greece with great gusto -- I think that's partly why. It would be a relief to me to stay here. No reason we shouldn't go to Greece another time.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Drake boys, again Posted by Hello

Good Friday

We got here.

I've just spent a few minutes wandering around the Blogger website, trying yet again to figure out how to incorporate photographs into text -- instead of having them each as a separate post -- and, having achieved that, how to incorporate more than one at a time. No luck. Perhaps the answer will be to put them on my own website, with HTML code here referring to them there. Meanwhile Blogger has withdrawn the facility to incorporate even one -- I post it, and visit the Blog to ensure that it's there; I go to Blogger and click edit, and it's gone -- just its caption and a useless button.

Today's picture is another from the happy envelope that arrived from Greece this week: Mungo, Archie, and Fergus on their mother's birthday in January, although there don't seem to be enough candles on the cake. Mungo is still (or again) wearing his striped Koigu, although you can't see much of it.

Fair Isle Jacket

I did about an inch last night -- the colour sequence and the decreases and the pattern itself all more or less successfully re-established. Picture soon.

Sweater needed

My winter standby has long been a fisherman's rib number in two shades -- one variegated, one solid -- of Colinette DK. Friendly and cosy. But it pilled dreadfully, and my husband got tired of picking up pills all over the house, and has relegated it to the country. So I need another sweater. I still have an eye on Candace Strick's Merging Colours. ( She's toiling away at the dyepots these days. Even if I were willing to risk the pills again, Colinette has long since given up producing anything in knittable weights like DK -- presumably super-bulky brings in more bucks. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport might be the answer -- machine-washable, too. I like the look and feel of two-colour brioche stitch (see yesterday's swatch), but it might be too warm.


I'm going to see our GP today to discuss the entire problem, including the possibility of going to Greece in October for the operation itself. There is a super duper hospital in Thessaloniki.  Fergus was born there. It even made a pitch a couple of years ago to have NHS patients referred to it for, precisely, routine operations such as hip- and eye-replacements.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Brioche revisited Posted by Hello
Today's delay was Blogger's fault.

I've finished the scarf, blocked it, and picked up stitches around the armhole for the second sleeve of the Fair Isle jacket -- it feels good to be back in the saddle. The scarf is only the second thing I've finished this year -- the other being the ribwarmer. Not much to show for a year already 25% gone.

I used never to block. My first serious adventure in that field was nine years ago when I knit a lace-weight shawl for daughter Helen's second baby (who turned out to be Archie). I was pulling out all the stops on that one, as her first child had died at 6 1/2 weeks the year before. And of course it turns out that blocking is great fun, and that it entirely transforms lace.

I think it's in "Knitting" that Meg describes the process for sweaters, and adds, "I love this stage". If she had added, instead, a stern warning about how important it was always to block, I'd have paid no attention. But now I always do it, and I love it too.

Brioche stitch

One evening recently, bored of the scarf and humiliated by my previous failure with two-colour brioche stitch, I got some waste yarn out, and retrieved IK. And I did it. See above. But it's not entirely easy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Italian Chain Ribbing Posted by Hello
The picture is a close-up of the scarf stitch, Italian chain ribbing from Walker I, page 47. I think I'll declare the scarf finished today at five feet plus and get back to the second sleeve of the Fair Isle jacket. I'll be happier when that is successfully under way.

Barbara Venishnick

Marian Poller steered me to her obituary in the Hartford Courant. There is a facility for leaving messages with the obituary -- rather like comments on a blog -- so I added mine. This idea is new to me, and it seems an excellent use of electronics. I am sure her family will discover thereby how highly the knitting world regarded her. She is survived by her mother, as well by members of the generations one expects to see represented.

If you want to attempt it, I must warn you that the Courant is intolerant of the slightest mis-spelling (I think I've got it right, above). Good old Google is prepared to give you a certain amount of latitude.

On-Line Knitting

My server,, had a hissy fit the other day and started blocking all my Yahoo groups. I straightened things out soon enough, but the interval was oddly peaceful. So yesterday I took the ultimate step of unsubscribing from some of my knitting groups, and setting all the others to Nomail. I still maintain a couple of groups on non-knit subjects, and indeed contributed a note to one of them yesterday on the subject of potato-chitting.

There's plenty to read out there on the blogs, and it has been a long time since I learned much of anything from a posting to a knitting list. But it's the end of an era, all right (if I keep it up), and one that has made a tremendous difference to my life as well as to my knitting.

Knitting With a Smile

The third and last book in last week's box of treasure. (I have another book-order in mind, however.)

This one is Swedish in origin and sub-titled "A Knitting Sketchbook". I expected charts of Swedish stitch patterns, but it's more than that. It's a pattern book, and a good one. The disappointment is that although many of the patterns recommend the author's own yarn, "Gunga Din", her website doesn't seem to provide the specifications and colour charts I had hoped for. Just kits. Maybe I didn;t persevere long enough. Maybe the site is new and will expand. Maybe I should try a general Google on "Gunga Din yarn". The author is Inger Fredholm, and her website is

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Mungo in his Striped Koigu Posted by Hello
I got some beautiful pictures from Greece yesterday, grandchildren and scenery, sometimes combined. This one (above) was the only one with knitting in it, so I'll start here -- Mungo in his striped Koigu, with his brother Fergus. The sleeves look slightly long, otherwise pretty good. It's pure EPS.

The Opinionated Knitter

Which brings me to the second book in the splendid boxful which awaited me when we got back from the country last week -- the posthumous collection of EZ's writing. It's simply wonderful. I don't think there's anything in it that could quite be called a whole new pattern -- but one sees some of the greats, the EPS and the Baby Surprise, for instance, evolving under one's eyes. And one "hears" that inimitable voice again. It's full of tips, from both EZ and Meg (including, ironically, for me in my present situation, two-colour brioche stitch), and wonderful old photographs, and beautiful new ones -- Meg turns out to be a genius photographer, as well as so much else.

No EZ fan will want to be without this one -- I guess that means, no knitter.

I was also excited to note that one of the EZ videos is being re-mastered (is that the right word?) on DVD. I have never been able to see the videos, because British and American video tapes travel at different speeds. But I can buy a DVD, I think, and play it on my computer.

Barbara Vinishnick

I read on Marian Poller's blog yesterday ( that Barbara Vinishnick, the knitwear designer, had died suddenly, in her 50's. Google has yielded nothing -- just page after page of references to her designs. I've written to Marian for more news, if there is any. Barbara V. has long been a great favourite of mine -- there's no book that I know of, just lots of patterns in VK and elsewhere. I met her very briefly in the Stitches Market at Stitches East in 2002 and told her I was a t'riffic fan.


Yesterday's silence wasn't Blogger's fault, for once -- a friend stayed overnight, which meant I lost the early-morning computer session which I devote to banking and blogging. The picture, of course, shows the scarf-in-progress stretched out next to my shape-it.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The (in)famous scarf, so far Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 20, 2005

My Calcutta Cup mug Posted by Hello


     A whole blog-entry vanished into the ether yesterday, when I tried to publish it, so all we were left with was the photograph, published separately, of progress made on Rachel's striped Koigu when we were in the country last week. As light and warmth increase, less time will be spent huddled by the fire when we are there, and progress will be slower.

The Calcutta Cup

The international rugby season ended yesterday. France beat Italy of course, Wales beat Ireland (making this season a clean sweet for Wales) and England beat Scotland. The England-Scotland match always comes at the end, and has a trophy of its own, one of the oldest in the sporting world. The cup certainly appears to be of Indian manufacture, and is said to have been competed for originally  by teams of British civil servants in India, who melted down the sixpences in their pockets to have it made.

Be that as it may, England almost always win. The victory commemorated on my mug was the most recent Scotttish one, a true miracle. We had been beaten by everybody that year, including even Italy. England, contrariwise, had beaten everybody and came up here on that last day to complete their clean sweep. I drink my morning coffee from it in Calcutta Cup week, and on Laetare Sunday in mid-Lent. The word means "rejoice" and it was on that liturgical day in 1990 that the great victory occurred. Now I have hung it up for another year.

One of our grandchildren was born in 2000. I knit the Cup into her Christening shawl.

The Scarf

progresses. Tedium is now the enemy. I have knit nearly three feet -- and will have enough yarn to proceed as far as necessary. So that's a relief. My shape-it scarf is six and a half feet. I may reduce that a bit here, but not much.

Jamieson 3

What a standard they maintain. There are severak things in this latest book that make me want to down tools and start knitting now. Namely, the big Bressay jacket at the end, the Patchwork jacket, the Trellis jacket, and the Islander pullover. Plus there are good Fair Isle's and cables. The Trellis jacket is one of those mitred-garter-stitch-stripes affairs. It is a seam they have mined before, but this one is a lulu.

I now read Mary Morrison's blog every morning (, and am inspired by her beautiful cable work to go back to that area of life. But I don't need even Jamieson 3 for that: I want to consider knitting Elizabeth Lavold, whom I love but have never attempted, or even perhaps devising something with travelling stitch patterns. I took a day-course on that from Candace Eisner Strick at Camp Stitches in '99. It was fascinating, but I have never used the technique since. Nor has she written the book about it which I keep nagging her to attempt.



Saturday, March 19, 2005

Rachel's Koigu Stripes, again Posted by Hello

Friday, March 18, 2005

Not much change... Posted by Hello


We got back yesterday to find the package from Meg -- The Opinionated Knitter, Jamieson 3, and "Knitting With a Smile" by Inger Fredholm. Wow! Sometimes books one has been waiting for are a disappointment -- I am afraid Martha Waterman's Shawls and Scarves comes to mind in that category, and more recently Hoxbro's "Shadow Knitting" although I may warm to that one once I start knitting the famous alien scarf from Stitch n' Bitch. Not her pattern, of course, but the same technique.

But all three of these new books are simply sensational, in their different ways, making one regret anew the shortness of life.

Country Life

Above (I hope) is the promised picture of my kitchen garden, to be published every time we come back from Strathardle. Despite the caption, there is a change. The previous one shows a winter scene, this one, spring.

In fact, it happened while we were there. On Monday when we arrived it was so cold that the refrigerator wouldn't go on until the kitchen had warmed up a bit. It snowed that night, and Tuesday was bitter cold (although the birds, recognising equinoctial light when they see it, tweeted away regardless). Wednesday was spring, warm, grey, damp and drippy. Yesterday as we were leaving, there was sunshine to boot. We'll be back in Easter week, DV.

Nothing is happening, so far, with my seed potatoes. Why is that? Supermarket potatoes, this time of year, develop strong and healthy sprouts within days. The kitchen is warmer than an upstairs bedroom at Burnside, of course.

The Scarf

More about the new books, and about Burnside knitting, in days to come. For now, back to the alpaca scarf. I am beginning to think the project is cursed.

I decided last night that there was no hope of achieving the length I want with the yarn available if I persevere with brioche stitch (which is hungry for yarn). I have been wearing all winter the "Shape-It" scarf from Sally Melville's (excellent) book "The Knit Stitch" -- I want something long and narrow like that.

So why not just knit a Shape-It with the alpaca? Because it's in garter stitch, which is also hungry of yarn, and because it's knit sideways, with the whole length of the scarf on the needles at once, so it's awkward to break off if you run out of yarn.

I've started again with fewer stitches and the "Italian Chain Ribbing" pattern from Walter I, p. 47. Success, I think. Picture soon.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Scarf, and other matters

We're going to the country today -- back Thur or Fri. Winter is putting up some spirited resistance in its retreat, but the forecast this morning predicts that spring is about to join us.

My sister sounds well. She had been afraid she would have to cancel the work scheduled for this week, but she is able to go ahead.

The scarf is under way --

The Alpaca Scarf Posted by Hello

The picture is terrible. The colours are in fact dark, rich reds.

The beginning proved a dreadful struggle. At the point where we left off yesterday, I had decided to switch to fisherman's rib. I didn't like the effect and there was a technical problem, too boring to describe, about my plan of starting with a few inches of the main shade and then switching to shadow stripes.

So I ripped it out yet again and thought I'd return to brioche stitch, with shadow stripes from the start. I followed the directions in IK precisely, and came to grief again. The two-colour instructions are not as elaborate as the basic ones, and don't include an illustration. I may have been doing it wrong. If I was right, the "brioche purl" is not as easy a manoeuvre as the knit stitch in plain brioche.

By this time I was feeling panic-y, as when one has chosen the wrong question to attempt on an examination, and time is running short.

I ripped again and tried pure one-colour brioche from the IK instructions. Another failure.

I hurled IK away (not really) and got out KWT, remembering that I had knit some watchcaps in brioche stitch from its pages. EZ was, as ever, a great comfort as well as a faithful guide. Brioche stitch is not easy -- "[It] is written on my heart like Calais on Mary Tudor's," she says. She describes it as a "richer and fruitier" rib than fisherman's. "Fruitier" is perfect. The instructions can be found in the index under "H" for "hat".

Maybe when this is over I will do myself a swatch of brioche and fisherman's -- there are various ways to do that -- and anything else in their group, and try to figure out the structure. My knitting knowledge is pretty limited in that respect.


Most of the interest is gone now. At the beginning of the weekend, both Wales and Ireland were still unbeaten, and we were looking forward to next weekend when they play each other. But France spoiled the fun by beating Ireland on Saturday, in a good game. The other two were dull -- England beat Italy (everybody beats Italy) and Wales beat Scotland (everybody except Italy beats Scotland).

Sunday, March 13, 2005


My sister, who is a doctor, is working in Africa. It was she who brought the alpaca to London recently, on her way out. She has been helpful and sympathetic about my eye questions this week, as about many family medical crises and anxieties in the past.

On Friday she woke up with the very symptoms of retinal detachment she had been describing to me. She told herself not to be ridiculous, but the symptoms persisted. Her husband drove her for six hours to Pretoria (they started from Maputo in Mozambique, I assume) where it was put right. Not retinal detachment, just a tear. An unnerving experience for all, especially for her, and one which proves that God is watching us and that He has a black sense of humour. Which I think we knew already, although we sometimes forget.

My sister is younger than I am, and not so near-sighted.


No picture of the alpaca scarf after all, I'm afraid. It's lovely to knit, like knitting the cat, and brioche stitch is pleasant and easy. BUT I failed, after several attempts, to master the two-colour version. I hope I would be able to get it in the end if I stuck at it, but I'm not going to. I've frogged it, and I'll switch to the similar two-colour fisherman's rib, which I knowI can do. So maybe there'll be a picture tomorrow. Both brioche stitch and fisherman's rib involve, effectively, doing two rows' work for each one row forward, so it's slowish.

Here instead, for today, is a picture of some


Peas Posted by Hello

The smarter supermarkets are selling little growing pea plants this year for consumption whole in salads. (They are not to be found in our local Sainsbury's, however -- Edinburgh must be deemed not chic enough, or too conservative.) So I thought I'd try, using last year's left-over seed, and here you see the result. I harvested this first sttempt yesterday, after taking the photograph. They were delicious, but there weren't enough of them. I must sow more thickly next time.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

On to the Alpaca

I finished the first jacket sleeve last night, and started the alpaca scarf which I have been asked to knit as a graduation-from-law-school present for my nephew Theo's girlfriend Kristin. I'm doing it in brioche stitch, as per the current issue of VK. Casting on was something of a struggle -- I was doing it very loosely, over two needles, and the whole thing kept dissolving as I subsequently tried to knit the foundation row. But I'm past that difficulty, and this is clearly going to be a just-one-more-row'er. There should be enough for a picture by tomorrow.

I continue to enjoy Mary Morrison's blog, and the links she provides. It's regularly updated, which is a great thing in a blog.


I have been over-kind to myself the last few days, on account of eyes and things, and am determined to toughen up today. Our newspapers have started publishing a puzzle called Su-Doku by which I am obsessed. It is a nine-by-nine grid, with the 81 squares divided internally in the obvious way into nine three-by-three squares. When the puzzle is solved, each row, each column, and each three-by-three square will contain all the digits from 1 to 9. You start off with a few numbers provided. I can usually solve them up through level "difficult", but only very occasionally manage "friendish" or "diabolical", and waste far too much time trying. The next-day solutions are useless. If you get it right, you know it's right; and if you're stuck, you need someone to explain what number to put in next, and why it's got to be there.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Socks for Thomas-the-Elder Posted by Hello


The oculist has been phoned, the operation postponed -- my tatties are safe! We'll probably celebrate by going to the country next week. Thank you, everybody, for messages on the subject.

You'll have heard of the goings-on in Parliament. I'm on the side of habeas corpus and our ancient liberties, myself. One gratifying tidbit: a radio journalist remarked yesterday that the situation might resolve itself during the night because the members of the House of Lords were mostly old, and would want to go home to their Ovaltine. I thought he was wrong, and sure enough -- this morning the radio tells me that the House of Lords was almost as crowded and obstreperous at 5 a.m. as it had been previously.

I learned yesterday that Parliament can deem Thursday to go on as long as necessary, and that is what is happening. Gilbert and Sullivan live!


Above is a picture of Thomas-the-Elder's socks. The photography is, for some reason, the opposite of washed-out. Those stripes are far less conspicuous in real life.

There is a real oddity about the yarn, too. I am using Lang Jawoll, which is put up in 45 gram balls which claim 190 metres. Socka, my old friend, comes in 50 gram balls of 210 metres. Thomas' socks are done on exactly the pattern of other gents to whom he is related -- 64 stitches on 1's, 50 rounds of 2x2 ribbing, 90 rounds of st st, heel, foot. In Socka, the first ball runs out somewhere maybe 2/3rds of the way along the foot (and I've knit lots of gents' socks with Socka). This yarn, as you see, lasted until the toe-decreases were under way. I only had two balls of it, so I knew I would have to put in something else for the end of the foot, and I am particularly pleased with the effect, which really does look like a design feature. The young are so conservative -- I had been a bit worried about changing colour in mid-foot.

But the geometry of it (if that's the right word) mystifies me. Could I have done fewer than 90 rounds in the leg? I'd better count.

Do you think I'll get my books from Meg today?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

ready for wrist ribbing Posted by Hello


A nice note from Mary, and one from my sister, confirm in their different ways my preference for postponing the eye-replacement until the Work's All Done This Fall. I'll phone the oculist today if husband agrees.

The jacket is ready for its wrist-ribbing. The sleeve looks a bit short, and I may cut the front steek and try it on before I proceed. Or maybe not. The twirling-around-in-lap thing, as one knits the sleeve, would be worse if the front were open. Twirling isn't too bad, if I take care to keep the working yarns up and away from the sweater. Entwining is the enemy here.

The picture is washed-out, again. I'll take one in natural light soon, now that we've got some natural light.

"Knitting" magazine

The new British magazine, now monthly. As usual, there is no pattern I have any interest in knitting. There never has been, since the beginning. But they are not repellent, and the articles are interesting, and above all, there are the ads. And it's a two-way thing, of course -- now that there is somewhere to advertise, it's worth a supplier's trouble to risk the fancier yarns. Koigu, Cherry Tree Hill, and Lorna's Laces -- all favourites of mine -- are now available here.

On the other hand, there are a couple of ads for alpaca in the current issue. I followed them up, in pursuit of my idea of a Fair Isle alpaca sweater. I could get round the too-hot difficulty by knitting another jacket, of course. The websites were disappointing. One offered a very limited range of dull colours, the other didn't show colour at all, just invited me to write for a shade card.

And I vaguely hoped that the cheap dollar (to which the Chinese yuan is pegged) might have inspired someone to venture on a good range of cashmere. But no dice there.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


I saw the Great Man. After eyedrops and many machines, he told me that I have unusually long eyes (a factor in my life-long short-sightedness) which involves an increased risk of a detached retina. This risk, I gather, operates at all times, even as I sit here, and is also a complicating factor in cataract surgery.  If the retina does detach, it will need further surgery to put it right and will never be as good as before.
I had thought that I had committed myself to a conveyor-belt leading to eye-replacement surgery soon, but he lobbed the ball back into my court. It's my decision.
If all goes swimmingly well, he still thinks that six weeks without driving is about right. Putting drops in my eyes every day -- will I be capable of that? -- and having follow-up examinations.
I have pretty well decided, if my husband will let me, to postpone it all until October. The worry, of course, is our little house in the country.  By then we could have celebrated the Games, dug the potatoes, battened down the house for the winter, and would be ready to face the worst that fate could produce for us. It would be taking a bit of a chance on my current driving, but the decision is hedged with risks on all sides. If it happens right away, even if all goes well, we would spend April aching for Strathardle. And if it didn't go well, the thought of the daffodils blooming unseen and the grass growing uncat and the seed potatoes rotting in their trays, would make it far worse.
When I got home from all this, I found a message from Meg about the books I just ordered. I had stoically asked for them to be sent surface mail:
"OK Jean - your books all went off yesterday - together - and Air Mail was
only a few $ more that Surface - so we deducted the $4 for your early order
of O.K. and you should have the parcel in 8-12 biz days...?"

There's a woman to do business with!


I got nicely forward with the ribbing of the second sock for Thomas-the-elder during the intervals of eye testing, and the second sleeve of the jacket has inched forward. That project  is going to take a lot of finishing, when the knitting is done -- the sort of thing it's best not to think about, like eye surgery.

Mary Morrison's URL (recommended yesterday) is The first link in her "Bloggin' Along" list, also mentioned yesterday -- the one that connects to the page of the Shetland lace designer whose work is beyond imagining in its beauty -- is


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Too Much To Say

The oculist rang up yesterday. I have an appointment this evening to meet the man who is going to do my eye-replacement operation, and have some tests. I had begun to hope they would forget all about it.

Yesterday I visited Mary Morrison's blog, inspired by her comment here. It has been added to my Blog list, and I will visit often. Apart from the interest of her own writing, she provides a list of links to knitterly sites -- I've only followed the first one, so far, although I plan to work my way conscientiously through them all. The first is for a Shetland lace site, a Canadian woman, whose work is of simply breathtaking beauty, and I knew nothing about it. I find I can't leave this text behind and go get Mary's URL for you, so I'll put it in tomorrow. But it can easily be found in her comment here, a couple of days ago.

Mary rightly aaid that the Elizabeth Lavold pattern was the only thing of interest in the current Knitter's. I have EL's first book, and admire it extravagantly, although I have yet to knit anything from it. I'm interested in her yarn, of which I have read great things. It looks dull, in the photograph in Knitter's and in the Patternworks catalogue. But I don't believe it.

Here is how I keep yarn when I am doing a multi-coloured project:

The Fair Isle jacket Posted by Hello

I think the container was intended for butlers to keep silver knives and forks in, in their butler's pantries. My husband bought it for me many years ago, and I find it very useful.

The new British magazine Knitting, now monthly, turned up yesterday. And I have knit 11 inches of the first jacket sleeve -- I need 14, and then the wrist-ribbing. So the end is in sight. Of that, and of my eye appointment, more to come...

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Kitchen at Rhuba Beag Posted by Hello

Laetare Sunday

After today, we'll revert to pictures of knitting. The Fair Isle jacket sleeve is sizzling along -- I'll have to switch to two circulars today, and start adding the unfortunate colours which I eliminated early on, so that the bottom of the sleeve will echo the bottom of the jacket and make the whole look, I hope, unified.

And while we were away last week, I finished the first of a pair of socks for Thomas the Elder. We will have a picture of that soon, too.

But for today, here are Alexander and Ketki and Jamie (in his Scotland rugby shirt) in their kitchen. It's a wonderful house (we hadn't seen it before), designed by the local laird (who is an architect) for his sister when she married 15 years ago. The marriage failed promptly.

I am about to order The Opinionated Knitter and a couple of other books from Schoolhouse.

Googling about yesterday, I found a good range of fairly fine-gauge alpaca: Blue Sky Alpaca at the Yarn Co. An alpaca sweater would be terribly hot, but still it's tempting. One of the great attractions of knitting, I feel, is the way one's desires are always so much more extensive than the time available between cradle and grave for actually knitting. One solution is multiple-WIPs. I used to do that. But it doesn't really solve the problem.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Thomas the Younger Posted by Hello

Where To Begin?

Blogger threatened its old trick just now, of removing a photograph when I try to surroud it with text, so I shall leave today's one un-implanted. That's Thomas the Younger, as the caption indeed asserts, and he is as aimiable a baby as the photograph suggests.

We had a grand time with Alexander and Ketki and their sons in Argyll. More photographs will follow.

Just as we were leaving here on Wednesday -- in a state of some nervous tension, as there is effectively only one bus a day, and the taxi was late -- the mail came with no fewer than three knit items: the alpaca yarn my sister had imported, a Patternworks catalogue, and the new Knitters' , only six weeks after the arrival of the last one.

Except for the yarn, the excitement is less than it sounds. I hadn't seen a Patternworks catalogue since the great move from Ploughkeepsie. Is it somewhat less wonderful than it once was? Or has the Internet made me blase? And nothing siezes me by the throat in the magazine, either.

A few days ago I posted a picture of Ketki wearing a colourful alpaca sweater, store-boughten in NY. I only once knit a sweater in alpaca, deliciousness itself to do, but the thing immediately stretched to knee-length. I abandoned it before it reached my ankles. But it occurred to me, after posting that picture, that maybe the Fair Isle technique would solidify the yarn. There is nothing in the Patternworks catalogue (which runs too heavily to Bulky and Super=Bulky for my taste) which might do, but I am about to explore Elann alpaca-and-silk on-line.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I am whizzing along with the first sleeve of the Fair Isle jacket. I didn't get much done last night, after our return, but I did manage the arithmetic for the decreases (I hope I did). My current plan is to finish the first sleeve before I interrupt things to knit the newly-arrived alpaca into a skinny scarf.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Modern Technology

Daughter Rachel's computer has gone off to some shop, to rectify whatever it was my brother-in-law did to it while trying to set up a wireless network. Meanwhile my sister has discovered that there is another wireless network somewhere so near that she can log on in mid-air from her laptop. It's all too much for me.

I am making pretty good progress with my website, except that I have hit the problem, encountered before, that I upload things, and can see that the file is there on my server's computer, and they don't show up when I log on to my own website. And who knows why? I have learned through painful experience that browsers, at least mine, can't read files with capital letters in their names. But that's not the difficulty this time. And there are no friendly XP-type error messages to help.

Back to Knitting

The jacket sleeve is proceeding swimmingly. Twirling it around in my lap is not as bad as expected (although of course it will get worse) and is more than offset by the sheer joy of completing a round so quickly, after all those weeks of circumnavigating the torso. I even found myself last night wondering if I should carry straight on and knit another Fair Isle, now that I've got the parameters back in my head.

My smart granddaughter Hellie had a look at the Clapotis on-line yesterday, and likes it a lot. Here's (a rather washed-out photograph of) the yarn I have in mind:

Cherry Tree Hill DK Posted by Hello

Since there are clearly far fewer mills in the world than dye-ers, this may even be the precise yarn specified, under a different name. But this will have to wait until the jacket is finished. I will interrupt it to knit a skinny rib scarf in the alpaca when it arrives -- I think I'll go for brioche stitch, as in the latest IK. But that's because there's a deadline. Hellie's Clapotis is under no such compulsion and I will force myself, with difficulty, to wait.


We're going to Argyll tomorrow to visit Alexander and Ketki (and Jamie and Thomas-the-Younger) on the shores of Loch Fyne. Another Blog hiatus, until Friday or Saturday. What a restless pair we are.