Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An extraordinary thing happened.

My husband and I were having supper last night in the sitting room in front of the television, as is our wont. We each had our plate on our knee. On the coffee table in front of us was the tray, and on it were two tumblers, his containing cold beer, mine Waitrose sugar-free bitter lemon at room temperature. The ambient temperature was Drummond-Place-cool.

There was nothing else on the tray. The tumblers weren’t touching each other, nor was either of us touching one of them. In the mindless Monday television we were watching, nobody was singing.

My tumbler exploded.

We have long used these tumblers, in both houses. They are called Duralex, and I think they may be French. They are supposed to be unbreakable, and have served us well. They are the sort of thing you might encounter in a vile café. Indeed, we augmented our collection once by ordering some from a catering catalogue. They do break, explosively, if dropped on the hard kitchen floor in Kirkmichael.

This event seems to me to violate all the known laws of physics, and I find it rather worrying.

At least it wasn’t cider.


I have done nearly eight inches of Grandson Sweater. I was worried at first about whether I had enough yarn – there’s no reason to worry, I did the maths carefully, grams to ounces to yards to metres, and ordered some extra as always. But one needs something to worry about. It would be dreadful to have to order one more ball – and then have to re-set my no-yarn gauge. It’s beginning to look as if I’m going to be all right.

I am glad to hear such good things from you about all three of my recent extravagances – the Haapsalu shawl book, “A Fine Fleece”, and the Japanese knitting class in Stirling next summer. I have a kind of a feeling that I heard about a book like “A Fine Fleece”, half yarn-information, half patterns, and thought, that sounds interesting. And then the title got away from me. So maybe this is it. It will be worth it, almost, for the wonderful Fylingdales cardigan that Donice is thinking about.

I hesitated long over Japanese knitting, because it meant not taking a class from Jared. Even if I didn’t have to get back to my husband and my vegetables in Strathardle, one gets tired. I was tired by the third day when I went to Camp Stitches 10 years ago. And I decided it was more useful to take a class in a subject that I am interested in and know virtually nothing about, than to reinforce topics I do know about for the sake of being taught by Jared.

But I could be wrong.


  1. "Aarghh" for the shattered glass, but please don't worry. Duralex glasses are the toughened stuff, similar to the sort you can put in the oven, and they can do that for no apparent reason.

    My Mum never discovered what was behind the "Case of the Exploding Shepherd's Pie" but she long treasured the advertising posters she asked the two lads who were staying to draw. Advertising - Auntie Mary's Shepherd's Pie - Dissatisfaction Guaranteed.

    The answer is probably a minute crack or chip, too small to be seen, and unfindable among the debris.

  2. "One needs something to worry about." How true this is. My husband will often come up with some new area of anxiety from previously calm territory, in the absence of something of real significance.

  3. Curious and curiouser. A poltergeist, perhaps? As you said, though, better the sugar-free bitter lemon than cider.

  4. That sounds like tempered glass. It does super-odd-strange things. (Obviously.) As Jean says, they can explode for no apparent reason, though usually it has to do with small scratches and changes in heat. Just pouring the liquid into the glass may have done it. I once had a martini shaker explode on me in similar circumstance, and my husband's grandmother had a baking dish do something like that when removed from the oven (heat change again). Just washing the glass can cause micro-scratches that can lead to the shattering. I've seen extreme cases where glass-makers deliberately over-tempered the glass, and they could make it shatter simply by drawing a knife point over the surface of the glass. Really strange.

    I do hope no one was hurt. The loss of the beer, and need to clean it up, had to be aggravating.

  5. On a change of subject...I think you will love A Fine Fleece. I find the designs very wearable. Several fall into the category of designs I would like to knit and like to wear. I'm currently knitting the Town and Country cardigan and am enjoying it thoroughly. Furthermore I've only noticed two very small errors (non critical) in the charts. So...I think they had good pattern editing as well.

  6. I didn't take Donna's class when she was here for our Yarnover, but heard good things. She shared her handouts with me when I was working on mine for my Japanese knitting class and they were excellent. You should have fun. And she has a New York accent, which I always like since it reminds me of home.

  7. Donice8:36 PM

    I cast on Fylingdales last night, and knit a few rows. I think I will have to make minor fitting modifications throughout, including the number to cast on, but it has rave reviews from Ravelers and in the Ravelry group for A Fine Fleece. That is also a good place to check for errata, of which there are very few, and none in Fylindales that have been noted so far.

  8. If the glass shattered into bits, it was tempered. If it shattered into spears, it was not. Tempered glass does tend to explode when the surface has a flaw. It doesn't take much. I had a bowl do that.

    Hunt Jared down in the corridors instead. He's delightful to talk with.

  9. =Tamar1:48 AM

    Even without a scratch or nick, fired china has been known to break after enough time elapsed for the invisible differences between inner and outer layers built up enough tension. It's like earthquakes from tectonic plates. Tempered glass probably has similar stresses between thicker and thinner areas. I'm glad none of the splinters hit either of you.

  10. It's so funny: this happened to one of my Aynsley demitasse cups last year, and =Tamar enlightened me about glazes in the comments! In my case the cup wasn't even in use, was sitting in the china cabinet, and then I heard a sound like somebody flicking a drop of cold water on a hot lightbulb. Took me almost a week to find the shattered cup, and put two and two together...in the meantime I was on a fruitless search for the broken lightbulb I was sure was somewhere in the house!