Saturday, June 18, 2011

When we got home from yesterday’s afternoon outing – a trip to Boots to pick up a prescription; a frequent treat – we found ourselves in quite a remarkable half-hour of good news.

1) The pattern for the Japanese shirt arrived. My friend has done a brilliant and utterly professional job. She has done it twice – I have the choice of knitting it in pieces, or all-in-one without side seams. I’ve printed out both versions, but will go for the latter.

I wonder whether it would be possible to offer the pattern on Ravelry, without trespassing on Setsuko Torii’s copyright. First I’d better knit it, but after that, it might be worth asking Habu with whom Torii works.

2) The briefest of e-mails from Rachel to say that her son Joe got a 2.1 – that means, an upper second class degree. Wonderful news. That’s a solidly good degree to have in his pocket when he starts to look for a job. He didn’t have a gap year before university, and his immediate plan is to have one now, and go teach English in Thailand or somewhere thereabouts.

(A lower second, a 2.2, is known familiarly as a “Desmond”. I’ll leave you to work out why.)

That's Joe in the Grandson sweater, trying -- rather successfully -- to smoulder like the model in the book.

3) A phone call from our niece, C.’s daughter, to say that she has been offered a full-time permanent job at Loretto, one of Edinburgh’s best schools.

She is an infant teacher, and I suspect rather a good one. She previously worked at another notable Edinburgh school (where she taught J.K. Rowling’s youngest – they remain friends). She left a year or so ago, with glowing references, and for the past year has been teaching part-time in an Edinburgh city school and dealing with her mother’s death.

Social services and doctors and (especially) hospice nursing were all wonderful, but it needed our niece to make it possible for C. to be at home, in her own house with her own cat and her own garden –there it was beyond the window, even when she was too weak to walk out – until 10 days before the end.

Teaching jobs are astonishingly scarce just now. Our niece had the interview at Loretto a whole week ago, and had pretty well given up hope.

So that was a good afternoon’s work.

As for knitting, I’ve got a couple of inches to go on the first shoulder strap, and hope to polish it off and make a good start on the second sleeve today. I’ve leaving all stitches live – plenty of scope for pentimenti.

The amchur and the hing turned up – even fuller marks to the Asian Cookshop. The asafoetida is sealed up in a little drum, so I haven’t experienced the smell yet. It is a powder, also containing rice flour, turmeric (why?) and wheat flour. AnnaLivia, I note what you say about adding hing to hot fat at the beginning of the cooking process – I notice that both of the recipes I have immediately in mind, do that and I won’t forget (I hope) that the sequence is important.

Good King Henry doesn't have the faintest idea what is about to hit him.


  1. Well done to your handsome grandson Joe. And I was amused to note that you call a 2.2 a Desmond as so do we :) My younger daughter nervously awaits the results of her post grad diploma while writing her MA dissertation ... such a worrisome time of year for the young.

    I look forward immensely to seeing your Japanese shirt take shape, and please do seek permission to publish the pattern. What yarn will you use? Have I missed that?

  2. Glad to hear that your niece got a job. She must have had glowing recommendations. And that your grandson graduated with a strong degree.

    It is a worrisome time for young people. Many of my students who graduated this year graduated without jobs and were terrified about the future. The best students were okay (One of my favorite students got into a PhD program at a top school where she hopes to wait out the economy, another is now managing a woman's shelter) but everyone else was super anxious. I advised several of the idealistic young men who are sturdy and want to change the world to join the Peace Corps... The University where I teach has for years had a 100% placement rate for our students who leave as credentialed teachers... this year that placement rate was ruined as the state is not hiring teachers anymore....

  3. Anonymous5:22 PM

    Joe and the sweater are enviably handsome.
    -- Gretchen