Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Today’s excitement, the first of 2010, is that my husband’s publisher is coming to lunch, to work on/talk about the Magnum Opus. If he can get here. The bitter cold continues, and a couple of airports between here and London are closed. A chicken noodle soup with an agrodolce element is proposed.

A certain amount of kerfuffle will be involved. I must be brief here.

Christmas knitting

The slouch hat is a free Ravelry download. (You asked, Anonymous.) The preliminary rounds of k1b, p1 ribbing involve a certain amount of teeth-gritting, I remember, but they look extremely well when completed and after that it’s a doddle. I notice – going back this morning for the link – that the designer used 47 gr, so my left-over singleton ball of KF yarn should be enough. James's watch cap is generic, from instructions in Vicki Square's "Knit Great Basics", a very useful book of schematics.

The ASJ is Rachel’s. I think she likes it. I had stopped blogging for those last few hectic days before Christmas, but I remember I wanted to tell you this (you probably know): I wondered whether I could skip blocking. I even wondered whether garter stitch really needs it. But I went ahead and did it, and it had a marvellous calming and smoothing effect.

I got this picture from Beijing yesterday. It’s called “Walking to Lunch in a Blizzard” and was taken on Sunday the 3rd. Beijing is on the edge of the Gobi desert, bitter cold in winter, unpleasantly hot in summer, not much in between and not much precipitation ever. So this is unusual. That’s more snow than we’ve got in Edinburgh at the moment.

However, the important thing here is that James and Kirsty are both wearing their new hats.

Other knitting

It was rather satisfactory, the way things worked out. Christmas knitting completed, I had nothing – well, nothing to speak of – on the needles, and was ready to start a new, major project with the New Year.

Yesterday I cast on the Grandson Sweater. Twice, because the long-tail for the first attempt was perhaps four stitches short of the needed 284. I have swatched, and measured, and thought, and worried. The result, at the moment, seems vaster than empires and more slow. I can only press on, and resolve to turn back and start again if need be.


"Neighbours" is back! Yesterday's plot line was "Rebecca agrees to re-stock Harold's Store". The excitement was almost too much for us.


  1. Anonymous2:15 PM

    That's perfect, Jean, thanks for the info! The slouch hat pattern is just what I'm looking for - I'm going to use my new Addi circular sock needle to make it on (I bought this just before Christmas, but found that it is too long for me to use for my 60sts socks - an average size, I know, but impossible to work on a circular, so I'm sticking to my set of 5 Brittany double-pointeds...). So many stitches on a 30cm circular should make the work fly and something tells me we're all going to be needing more hats and very soon ;-)

  2. Gerri3:50 PM

    I'm sure lunch went well, kerfuffle being put to good use. I'm going to go figure out how agrodolce would get incorporated with chicken noodle soup. Just add a dollop?

    Ok, what I want to know is: what about the "mysterious Christmas knitting?" I guess I'm the only nosy reader of the blog.

  3. Anonymous6:39 PM

    To avoid inaccurate guesses at the amount of tail needed for a long-tail cast-on, I now tie together two strands of yarn from two separate balls and start casting. One ball becomes the working yarn as the work continues, the other is the nearly-infinite tail. The only downside is having extra yarn-ends to weave in at the starting point (the ends of the two strands beyond the knot which temporarily united them, which of course must now be untied. Don't make it too tight!)

    Best wishes for the new year, and may I second Gerri: what about the mysterious Christmas project?
    -- Gretchen

  4. I feel confident in your ability to settle this one for me, Jean. When is 12th Night? 5th or 6th of January?

  5. It's bitterly cold in Beijing! We were there in 2005; when we got back to NY, temps were in the single digits, a heat wave compared to what we were used to. I'm sure they'll make good use of the gorgeous hats.

    Glad you got your program back :))