Monday, March 20, 2006

My husband came back from the metropolis with an ugly cold, and spent yesterday in bed. I think he’s marginally better, and that we can probably see this out without medical intervention, but any such thing is a tad scary at our great ages. We’ve had our flu shots.

Rachel phoned last night. Her son Thomas-the-elder had made contact with “Yuri” at the last moment and so was able to set off to Leningrad in the hope of being expected somewhere, and even of being met at the airport.

The promised picture of her and her nephews Thomas-the-Younger and James-the-Younger, all in their striped Koigus, was duly taken yesterday, and she had even succeeded in transferring it to her computer, but could get no further. Alexander will have to lend a hand.


Tamar, it was good to have your question yesterday.

I knit a few socks when I was young, and enjoyed them, and then moved on to other things. Ten years ago, when I first got started on the Internet and therefore the Knitlist and therefore the Patternworks catalogue, I decided to try again. We were flying to the US for my mother’s ninetieth birthday in the fall of ’96. I hated flying passionately. I ordered some Brittany birches and some Socka multicoloured and a Patternworks sock pattern.

Ever since, I have knit socks when we travel, and in waiting rooms. I am now an intrepid birdwoman, no nerves at all. Sock production has dropped since my mother died three years ago – no more transatlantic hops – but I still notch up three or four pairs a year. Socka isn’t as good as it used to be, either, since they merged with Regia or whoever. I don’t entirely like the self-patterning yarns, the ones that produce stripes and phony Fair Isle.

Anyway: I now know that Patternworks leaflet by heart. I never knit fancy-schmancy socks, but leave it to the yarn to do the work. For gents, I cast on 64 stitches on 1’s; for ladies, 56. The gents I knit for are for the most part pretty well interchangeable, sock-wise: my husband, my sons, Helen’s husband David. Thomas-the-Elder and his father Ed, Rachel’s husband, need slight adjustments. Whereas the ladies are different each from each. Helen is the most dramatic – her left foot is a whole shoe-size bigger than her right. I put in a half-inch stripe of a different yarn near the toe on one of her socks, each time.

I knit the ribbing on four needles – Maureen, it’s nice to meet someone else who doesn’t like ribbing on dp’s – and switch to five thereafter. Couldn’t say why.


I’m up to the fourth scallop, of 29, of the edging for my sister’s shawl. I’m knitting Amedro’s edging as given, for her Cobweb Lace Wrap. It’s so easy that it’s hard not to make mistakes, but I like the result, and especially like the central double-scallop with its fish-tails. I had to go down (from Amedro’s specification) a couple of needle sizes before I felt comfortable. I think Sharon M. says that the yarn I’m using is slightly finer than cobweb: the result may be a slightly smaller shawl, which is in turn a slightly worrying consideration.

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