Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More Non-knit

Rachel rang up yesterday towards the end of what sounded, from background noise, like a fairly hilarious family Whit-Monday lunch. They were all making lists of five books. Is it all right to include children’s books, she asked? What about non-fiction? the gents wanted to know. I don’t know, I said – ask Hellie, she started it (and was the one family member who wasn’t there, being still in Newcastle).

But I told her to make sure that everybody wrote their lists down. Rachel would include “The Little Princess” on hers. I don’t think I’ve ever read it. I have glowing memories of “The Secret Garden”, although I can’t have looked it for 60 years, but Rachel finds it dull.

Thank you for being so forgiving about my non-performance on the thinking-blogger front, Mar, and for your endorsement of Middlemarch. For me, though, the first three books I listed yesterday – Brideshead, Mansfield Park, and The Leopard – are the ones that burst on the scene like fireworks, each in a different decade of my life. Middlemarch and A Suitable Boy, although richly enjoyed, and re-read, are there to make up five. I almost replaced one of them with Allingham’s “Tiger in the Smoke”.

Back to business…

Here’s Sam, coming along nicely. (Sorry about the loose end of yarn around his neck.) He remains difficult – there are so many different Aran panels. The sequence is KLNMEFGHFGENLKM, referring to charts in the back of the book, and then there are J and I to be worked in the tail area. Much anxious flipping back and forth. And things will get worse soon, as the charts are not all the same length and some will start repeating while others are still working themselves out for the first time.

And I suspect, looking at that middle bobble, that I may have lost count and done two extra rows there, before I closed the circle around it. Maybe they won’t notice.

Liz, thank you for your new comment on Saturday’s post. It’s good to meet another Sam-knitter. I did all right with the neck instruction that threw you, but had trouble on my first two or three attempts at the neck with “P then K TBL of next stitch”. It means to work the P and the K TBL in the same stitch; I did them, at first, in successive stitches.

The genius of this pattern is that it avoids the horror of toy-knitting, namely the knitting of a lot of little tiny oddly-shaped pieces and then laboriously sewing them together. There will be a bit of that, I think, when I get to Sam’s feet, but so far it’s entirely organic.
Thank you again for the scientific comments. Sarah, my husband had observed the behaviour-change you mention. Our local rabbits no longer seem to live in big warrens, interconnected underground, as they did 40 years ago, but to dig shallow separate holes for themselves. An example of a Darwinian adaptation?


  1. What an interesting way to have a conversation!
    The change in rabbit behaviour may have been due to myxomatosis: animals inclined to live in close contact were more likely to catch and die of the disease. But other factors might influence it, including predation pressure. In some areas they're apparently as communal as ever. The Mammal Society is republishing the Handbook of British Mammals; I look forward to seeing what the rabbit expert has to say.

    Sam looks very... flat :-)
    I like the sound of the challenge, very demanding but not taking quite so long as lace. Did you buy the kit or just the pattern?

  2. At the moment, I am re-reading the entire works of Angela Thirkell.
    I especially like the "war years" novels. It gives one an interesting perspective of civilian lives, during the war. Her opinions of the British Government immediately following the war (or, as she puts it - when peace broke out, with all its nastiness) is very funny.

  3. Anonymous3:10 PM

    I adored "The Secret Garden" as a child, but when I revisited it as an adult (in fact, as a librarian making recommendations to children) I found it deathly dull and wondered what I'd seen in it when I was young. Evidently something, as I had those fond memories...

  4. Anonymous4:43 PM

    I'm enjoying watching and reading about your progress on Sam, maybe I will knit him one day...

    Your mention in Sunday's post of your beloved red squirrels, rarely sighted, finally explained those signs we saw, as we drove through Scotland, of the exclamation point and then Red Squirrels. We asked several people about their significance but no one really was able to explain them. The five of us had some good laughs in the car speculating on them,,,Caution, Killer Red Squirrels?...Giant Red Squirrels? They're plentiful here and terrorize the larger grey squirrels, so we had no clue that they were rare over there.

  5. Hello, Jean -

    I'm in Maine, which is part way to Scotland, and after reading yesterday's entry have decided to come over so I can lie upon a soft green bank in Strathardie while you read the romantic bits of Middlemarch to me, especially when Dorothea and Ladislaw really start to heat up. I will make you daisy chains for your hair.

    See you soon.