Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Here we are again. A productive session in Strathardle – the potatoes are in, and the whole vegetable patch is looking rather unusually tidy. I planted some sorrel – a delicious perennial vegetable – and some rather weedy kale plants from a garden centre. If only the creeping buttercup were edible, our problems would be at an end. I extirpated a lot of it.

Pictures of the haugh, taken from above on its own side of the river. We saw more smoke. I don’t know what is going on down there, and feel that the village is being a bit Wicker-Man-y when I try to ask questions.

Knitting-wise, I am currently employed on the toe of Rachel’s second sock. Barring disaster, therefore, I should succeed in finishing today: a third pair of socks for April. I’ll cast on for Thomas-the-Elder next. This is getting pretty boring; I won’t be sorry to move on to dinosaurs.

As I was driving home, I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a knitting magazine in the pile on the doorstep (go away for three days and it’s not always easy to get the door open) that I could read over lunch – and there was. The pattern on the cover of the new Knitter’s is fully worthy of the late lamented You Knit What? website. (I’m glad to see that someone is having a go at reviving it – You Knit What Two.)

But there are two things that interest me within, and that’s two more than many a magazine contain. I like the Zigzag Bricks, being an entrelac fan anyway, and the yarn it’s knit it, unknown to me, looks very interesting.

But the really good one is my friend Candace Eisner Strick’s Nordic Stars. I am, you will remember, planning to knit Ketki a Calcutta-Cup-Ought-Eight sweater. (That’ll be after the Swallowtail Coat of a Beautiful Blue, which in turn comes after the dinosaurs – oh, Princess, when will I return to you?)

It will be a Fair Isle sweater in which I hope at last to achieve the Prince of Wales joke – a rotationally symmetrical pattern which I will pick up at the sleeve holes and knit downwards so that the whole things appears to have been cut from one piece of cloth. Fair Isle knitting pulls the stitches out of their natural rectangular shape into a square, making this possible.

I was going to do it with Alexander’s Calcutta-Cup-Ought-Six sweater but only realised when matters were fairly well advanced that you can’t do it with more than two colours.

Candace uses two ideas which I shall borrow: one is to reverse the two colours, exchanging pattern for background, at the underarm point. And the other is to use a third colour for trim. She doesn’t employ the Prince of Wales joke, although she could, because her pattern is rotationally symmetrical. I may borrow that, too.


Thank you, everybody, for kind notes. Helen Chronic-Knitting-Syndrome wrote to me privately with some excellent advice. In general, I think we can handle the decline at the moment, but I should probably rally all four of our children to start thinking what to do with the house in Strathardle when we can’t hack it.

There is a passage in the Bible somewhere – I don’t think I remember enough accurate consecutive words to Google it – about how in old age you put out your arms for someone else to dress you and take you where you would rather not go. Can anyone give me the source?


  1. The Bible reference doesn't sound familiar, but you might try doing a search at Blue Letter Bible. You can search on as little as a single word in multiple translations of the Bible - a handy electronic concordance.

  2. Anonymous9:37 AM

    The reference you want is the Gospel of John, ch.21 v.18.

  3. Is this the quote that you were looking for?

  4. No help with the Bible, as I was raised Catholic....and I was thinking the same thing re. the new Knitters. Maybe they only get fugly submissions these day. (Candace ES's was the only nice thing in there.) What do you do with sorrel?

  5. Ow, I'm still laughing and Mary Lou's comment. At an ecumenical tertiary student's camp, one which is often criticised for not being bible-centric enough, a Catholic student boasted in their feedback questionnnaire that they felt they had more Bible study in a long weekend than they'd had in their whole life!

    Socks. Well anyone who finishes one pair has my undying admiration. A person who can churn out 3 in one month - words fail!

    v. curious re the haugh...