Saturday, March 03, 2012

Archie’s week was a success. The housemaster to whom Helen and I had consigned him on Monday, said with every appearance of meaning it that he had fitted in well and that he (the housemaster) hoped he (Archie) would come back in the autumn. Archie’s own account, on the way home, filled in a lot of detail and confirmed the impression of a successful week. The school has its own boa constrictor.

No rugby – he fell on some stone steps on the first day and banged a knee, which then swelled up impressively. But a couple of days mincing about the field during the warmest February in living memory would hardly have provided much of a taste of the potential horror of the experience, anyway. I think the housemaster was right that the real issue was how Archie adapted to the discipline of communal life.

So today we are going to the Farmer’s Market for some mutton and rare-breed pork (and sweetbreads, if anybody has them). Say hello, if you’re there. We will be easy to spot because of Archie’s height. Then across the Gardens to Princes Street and Waterstone’s which is what Archie wants to do.

The knitting progresses. Soon the v-neck decreases will be sensible.

I haven’t picked up stitches for v-neck ribbing in decades. Centuries. I had a quick look at my bookshelves and Google yesterday, without success. I don’t want to know how to do it so much; I want a rule-of-thumb for the rate at which to pick them up. I’m winging it with this thing, with a lot of help from Vicki Square and “Knit Great Basics”. I dare say I can extract a ball-park figure from her of how many stitches I want.

I’ve just ordered her first kimono book. I’m not sure I knew about that.


  1. I do love your description of rugby for the unathletic. My husband joined the choir at his public school, not for the singing but to avoid rugby which was the timetabled alternative.

  2. On v-neck ribbing, I have always used the rule:
    pick up a stitch in the end of each row three times then miss a row. That has served me well and deals with the fact that stitches are not square. I have long ago abandoned any attempts to get the stitch count exact - just made sure they are near enough and divisible by whatever is needed for the rib or pattern you are going to do.

  3. Anonymous4:17 PM

    I just LOVE that a major selling point was the boa constrictor. Would have been for me, too. Sounds like he's found the perfect match.

    Beverly in NJ

  4. Anonymous4:46 PM

    The school has its own boa constrictor - a positive sign, if you ask me.
    -- Gretchen

  5. I am so glad the week went well for Archie! It would be nice for all of you if he ended up going to school in Edinburgh. But a boa constrictor? Oh my. The only thing I fear more than dentists and flying are snakes. If it was my grandson at the school I would be terrified to go visit. :-)

  6. Anonymous6:27 PM

    I do hope that Archie and his parents choose the Edinburgh school. It will be wonderful for you and your husband, as well as for Archie, to have him so close to you.

    I was amazed (and horrified) that the school has their own boa constrictor. I wonder if that huge snake dines on misbehaving boys!

    Mary G. in Texas

  7. Anonymous7:27 PM

    I am always amazed when I return to your blog after not having read it for a few days at how much knitting you get through despite living such an active life.

  8. Pleased to hear Archie had a good week.

    This may seem like an odd thing to say, but I find your knitting descriptions fascinating as your knitter's mind seems to work in a different way to my knitter's mind ... I'd come at that v-neck with tape measure, notebook and pen, you have the confidence to wing it!

  9. Picking up stitches every 3 out of 4 rows is the rule of thumb Meg Swansen uses for button bands and necks. The following row can then be used either to increase or decrease if need be.