Sunday, November 26, 2006

I’ve fed the figures through the Sweater Wizard and now have what might be called a pattern for Alexander’s Fair Isle. I wound another skein yesterday, and will probably finish the watchcap tonight. So I’ll be casting on at any moment. It's sort of scary, after all this preliminary chatter.

Kate (comment yesterday), I had a look at your blog and admired your nascent sweater and envied your summer and left a comment. Fit is a constant anxiety. I tend to make sweaters too big these days, after decades of making ’em too small. Remember that blocking can achieve a certain amount. I used never to do it, and am now devoted to the process. As for my Calcutta Cup, this time it’s not to be lace at all, just colour. I think I’ll probably do it in two colours only, no changes, and with the contrast not too obtrusive.

Julie, I am greatly encouraged by your reported success at getting that EZ saddle shoulder to work with stranded two-colour knitting. I hadn’t thought about the agonies of knitting back and forth in two colours, but perhaps it could be endured for so brief a span.

In the 70’s, or whatever decade it was, they all sort of blur together, when I used to knit Fair Isle sweaters a lot, I used to wonder why I ever knit anything else. One yarn in each hand (I learned that trick, and it was pivotal to my knitting career, from “Mary Thomas’ Knitting Book”), a vertically symmetrical pattern…bliss.

When Alexander and James and Helen were at Oxford, we used to go to see them from time to time, from Birmingham, where we then lived. (Rachel, our eldest, was at Cambridge. We never went to see her. Much too far away.) We would take whoever came to hand to lunch at the Munchy Munchy, not far from the station. Vietnamese? or Thai? Not grand, not expensive, delicious – but one had to remember not to sit down until the Tiger Lady had assigned one to a booth. We made that mistake the first time we went in, and none of us has ever forgotten the experience.

But we kept on going there, because the food was so good. And one day the Tiger Lady said, as she pointed out where we were to sit, “You’ve been here before. I remember the sweaters.” Life has its moments of glory.

Is the Munchy Munchy still there? I doubt it. The LYS of LYS’s, Art Needlework Industries on Ship Street, has been gone for decades, and many a dear Oxford bookshop has followed it into oblivion. “Change and decay in all around I see,” as Uncle Theodore was fond of singing.

Here are some pics from Friday’s Thanksgiving celebrations in London. It was a huge success.


Son-in-law Ed, carving, with his daughter Lizzie behind.


The end of the meal -- a choice of desserts was offered, to the astonishment and delight of the Londoners. That's Alexander; glamourous granddaughter Hellie, who had come down from Newcastle University for the occasion; Rachel; grandson Joe; and Ketki, from behind, in the foreground.

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