Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St Patrick's Day

One of the great things about moving away from the United States, is leaving St Patrick behind. One doesn't hear much about him, here.

Princess, etc.

Yesterday evening was a series of interruptions: even so, I’m half-way across the 11th row of the 13th repeat of the Princess centre. The 13th row, which I should surely reach today, is the end of the opening motif, and the last row in the pattern with double decreases involving the markers. I’m getting fairly adroit at the necessary manoeuvre, holding the marker between index and middle fingers of left hand until it can be replaced, but I’ll be glad to dispense with it.

The box with the date and signature begins on row 27. I think it had better be preceded with two or perhaps four rows of garter stitch – not across the whole row, of course, just the stitches where the signature box is about to be formed. So I might get to the preliminaries of that undertaking this week.

I’ll have to pause at the weekend to wind skeins and knit a swatch for the Adult Surprise sweater which I am hoping a) to take along next week as train-and-London knitting and b) to submit as “child’s cardigan” in the Home Industries Tent of the Strathardle Highland Games this summer. EZ’s percentage system can hardly be expected to work without a decent swatch.

Thank you for your comment, Ted (attached to the Ides of March post). (Any hope that you might find and resume your own Princess? Believe me, it’s fun.) I’ll have a look at the Shetland Museum photo archives, and at the Amedro stole you mention. My current plan for knitting the Queen Ring pattern as a stole – I think I’ll have to go ahead with this – involves nothing more complicated than garter stitch grafting, which I think I can manage. The Queen Ring pattern gives 6 plain rows at start and finish of the centre: the ideal point to stop and start again from the other end, and eventually graft.

I Knit

Our numbers are now up to four, counting me: we’re meeting at I Knit near Waterloo Station in London at about 2:30 p.m. on Thursday the 26th – anyone else who happens to be around would be most welcome. Bring your knitting. Email me at the address in the sidebar to be sure of receiving news of last-minute changes.


I have been thinking, as you know, of getting a Kindle or similar for my trip to CT for Theo’s wedding. I am cooling down on the idea, because of cost. It would be wonderful for those six days, but I wouldn’t use it here. Three well-chosen paperbacks should do the trick, and I can always abandon the ones I’ve finished.

I went to Waterstone’s yesterday with this thought in mind. (I went to the one at the east end of Princes Street, mid-afternoon, on my way to the station to book the tickets for next week. Were you there, Wren?) I got Kate Atkinson’s “When Will There Be Good News?” – that’s a certainty, and it’s 480 pages long. And “Until It’s Over” by Nicci French. I read about them in a Sunday paper this week, and they sounded like my kind of thriller writers. (They’re a husband-and-wife team.) That’s a gamble. And “In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat”, about quantum physics, for something meaty. That’s another gamble. I would have liked something about Darwin and speciation, but nothing looked quite right.


  1. I passed through Waverley at 830am and 6pm, to/from a trip to Leuchars/St Andrews to discuss brown dwarf clouds (and knitting).

    I note with great joy that the restrooms at Waverley have the dyson blade hand dryers...

  2. On my last trans-hemisphere oceanic flight, I took knitting (USA to A/a so OK to knit) and a couple of books, 'Love Me' by Garrison Keillor and 'Cross Bones' by Kathy Reichs. Have you come across bookcrossing.com? A nice past time of giving books little holidays... better than garden gnomes who are getting too uppity.

  3. Anonymous12:54 PM

    Why is it great to leave St. Patrick or St. Patrick's Day behind? I don't have a drop of Irish blood in me going back 5 generations but I enjoy the wearin' o' the green and a slice of good Irish soda bread with my co-workers as much as the next person. I cannot remember the last time I heard the story of St. Patrick and the casting out of snakes from Ireland but it sure beats the daily grim news from or about Afghanistan/Baghdad/Darfur/AIG any day of the week.

  4. Anonymous1:33 PM

    I would love to leave St Paddy's Day behind. Our monthly Knitting Guild meeting is tonight and I actually dread the drive home.

  5. I have never commented before, but I consider you to be a dear, dear friend. My son who has lived in Dublin for the past few years has become quite interested in rugby. (He was in Edinburgh for the England France game this weekend). He was startled to find me somewhat knowledgeable about the game. My response -- my friend Jean in Edinburgh talks about rugby quite often.
    I can recommend a few books on Darwin and evolution that have come out in the last few years. I'm a retired biology teacher. "The Reluctant Mr. Darwin" by David Quammen (in paperback). "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry A. Coyne (a new book -- quite readable -- the facts supporting evolution) and "Darwin -- discovering the Tree of Life" by Niles Eldredge (the book written for the exhibit on Darwin that has traveled around the world and in now in England -- only available here in hard cover).
    Janet from Falmouth (Cape Cod)

  6. Anonymous6:06 PM

    If you haven't yet read the two-volume biography of Darwin by Janet Browne, I highly recommend it-- for at-home rather than travel reading, though, as the volumes are large and hefty even in paperback (no pocketbook version, as far as I know).

  7. Interesting choice of reading matter. I admired Kate Atkinson's early work. This one, though, was a bit too aptly titled for my taste.
    I visited I-knit as a half-term treat a few weeks ago and was impressed by the range of publications and impedimenta on sale, more really than the yarn. - for example, a shawl pin with an ebony stick to secure it.

  8. Anonymous9:50 PM

    I agree to what Janet has added about Darwin books, especially "Why Evolution is True". Although not about Darwin specifically, but along the lines of speciation, I might also suggest "Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body" by Neil Shubin.

  9. Have you considered getting audio books and listening to them while on the flight rather than hauling books around. Some books can be downloaded and played on iPods and other mp3 players if you have one. You might see whether any of your libraries allow you to do this. I have an account at Boston (Massachusetts) Public Library and do this all the time. Then you can knit and read at the same time.

    I know you're coming to Connecticut and there are libraries here which also allow you to download audio books. Let me know if I can be of any help in this matter.

    Sue in CT