Monday, November 28, 2011

We continue to mend, and even hope to go to Strathardle tomorrow. Thank you for your notes of concern and sympathy.

When we finally got into bed on Friday night – by then, in fact, Saturday was well advanced – we turned on the radio and, before unconsciousness overcame us, heard the World Service trailing a program – sometime this week – called “Knitting in Tripoli”. It’s not the one you and I would like to hear. It’s about what non-combatants do in such a situation to keep life moving forward and themselves sane. That’s what I had been doing in the preceding hours in a&e – knitting in Tripoli.

What I Tell You Two Times is True

I have bought and printed the pattern for the Driven jacket to which I linked on Friday. The blogger who wrote about it said that the Malabrigo Worsted for which it is written is incredibly soft. That same morning, the Knitting Daily editor said that she had knit a hat from the Weekend Hats book in that same yarn, and had come to the same conclusion. Do I know this yarn?

That same day, both the Telegraph and the Economist predicted the demise of the Euro and major misery for us all to follow.


I thought the little Brownstone would go faster once the sleeves were attached, and sure enough. I’ll start the raglan shaping today. As we all know, it goes like the wind after that.

I am well advanced with my second bauble. I had better return to it today, somehow. Here’s the first one:


Stash Haus, I keep thinking about your question about UK Christmasses, and coming to different conclusions. It’s much darker here. Maybe that’s the whole problem – maybe I remember that Christmas of 1960 as less stressful just because it was lighter.

We don’t have anything like Black Friday here. Nor did we, in the US, when I was young. There was a general consensus that when Thanksgiving was over, it was time to think about Christmas, but that was all. The push is getting earlier and earlier here. I used to tell myself, keep going steadily towards Christmas after my husband’s birthday (November 19) although I often didn’t do it. Now, Christmas has taken over the shops well before then.

Obviously, if you have to have Thanksgiving dinner on Christmas day, as well as doing presents and cards, it’s going to be tough.

What follows will sound trivial and silly, but it’s part of my problem: my husband’s family insist on sending each other cards, as well as presents. I have always – and still do – regarded cards as one step down, for people one is concerned to keep in touch with and wants to hear from, but doesn’t love quite enough to buy or knit anything for. I will observe this convention, this year as always, and send cards (as well as presents) to his nieces which I wouldn’t dream of sending to our own children or to my sister. But I don’t like it, and the knowledge that I must do it adds to the pressure.


  1. Malabrigo worsted is very very soft indeed, but also turns itself to felt extremely quickly.

    Christmas cards are an annual annoyance here too - I only send them to people we won't actually see at Christmas, as a substitute for greeting them in person. My husband's family think they should be sent to everyone one knows. Some years I remember, and send them cards (with a degree of grumpiness), other years I don't.

  2. Anonymous12:17 PM

    If I could manage to just send a card with a brief, generic message...."Thinking of you. Hope you and the family are well." ......I would not mind sending cards. But I feel obliged to write a true, personal message to each recipient along with the Christmas newsletter we include for people we won't see often. (I am one of those who enjoys reading these, although I know I'm in the minority.) As a result, it takes a long time, and I personally feel good if they arrive before January 15.

    This year we will be on a month-long cruise to Hawaii and Tahiti for the whole of January..... our way of convincing ourselves and my husband's co-workers that he is really, finally completely retired. (No one will be able to call him with one more question or problem if we're somewhere in the South Seas.) So the cards will have to go out soon. Or maybe I can mail them from Honolulu!

    Glad to hear you are both recovering from the Friday night excursion.

    Barbara M.

  3. Really pleased to hear you are both recovering from your adventures.
    Malabrigo IS very soft but as your other commenter said, is quick to felt. It is also quite expensive in the UK. Try First4Yarns.
    Christmas cards annoy me too.

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  5. Gerri3:07 PM

    yes, yes, Malabrigo is soft which makes me wonder about pilling? I've only used it for small items that were gifted away, no future evaluation.

    I was away so missed your Fri/Sat concerns-I am glad you are both mending and I hope the process completes so you can indeed go to Strathardle.

  6. =Tamar4:42 PM

    I remember being shocked to see a Santa Claus in a Thanksgiving Day parade in the late 1950s. Actual shopping didn't begin for another two weeks, with some people routinely waiting until Christmas Eve. Sometimes a particularly nice card is itself a small gift I have chosen carefully; others are simple carriers of contact (I don't judge cards I receive).

    The completed bauble is simply elegant!

  7. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Oh, dear. It is sad when a friendly tradition (a Christmas card) becomes an annoyance. We have had 35 years of that same family issue - we don't send, DH family does - and I find myself begrudging the task that in the end only takes ah hour or two. I need to talk myself into a better frame of mind. Maybe composing a BRIEF newsletter/note would help - it has been a good year for grandkids...

    Beverly near Yosemite

  8. Anonymous5:17 PM

    re: Driven. I am a little concerned about the reverse stockinette stitch. I believe it was Maggie Righetti who warned of elbows sagging out due to the inherent nature of the stitch - so I have avoided it for sweaters for more than 40 years. Anyone with actual experience willing to comment? (I do like the shape and thought about knitting it inside out!)

    Beverly near Yosemite CA again

  9. I know well the diabetes thing, my late husband had some very low episodes and they are never fun.
    On a bright note, I enjoy your blog. I love your humor. I also like your brownstone.
    Lynn in IL

  10. Regia has a 10 year guarantee, and I don't think you will need to reinforce toe and heel on a sock. I have knit a few pairs without any problems.

    Hundertwasser lived some years in NZ, as I do. Google his Kaikohe public toilets, an artform so beautiful!

  11. I'm posting late, as usual. Allow me to add my own words of relief that you and your husband continue to recover from what was truly a "black Friday." And I'd like to put in a few words in defense of Malabrigo worsted (probably too late to persuade you, but oh well). I am the proud possessor of a very soft scarf knit in a golden shade of Malabrigo at least 5 years ago. It is still my "good coat" scarf, and hasn't pilled or felted to any noticeable degree. Whereas the Cascade 220 hat I knit my husband must be de-pilled every year (don't get me started). So if you can get Malabrigo in the U.K., I'd say go for it!