Tuesday, June 05, 2012


Stashhaus, there has been lots of criticism of BBC coverage of the flotilla. I gather the wretched Mr Murdoch did better. And in particular, as you say, we needed to hear more about the little boats. Was anyone there who had taken part in the Dunkirk rescue? If not, there was surely a son or daughter. We saw some Venetian gondoliers, and some Maori canoeists – but there must have been lots of other significant boats. It wasn’t a random collection of anything that floated.

The boat with the bells was a splendid idea. Full marks to the English Theo LeCompte who came up with it.


I’ve started the second Strong-Fleegle heel.

I am beginning to feel thoroughly overwhelmed, in a happy and excited sort of way, about how much there is to explore in sock-knitting (as in sock yarns). I haven't even started thinking about toes. Is the Sherman sock the same as the Strick? How do they compare with the provisional-cast-on short-row toe-ups in The Sock Knitter’s Handbook and the Gibson-Roberts pattern in Sock Knitting Master Class? I haven’t the patience to read knitting patterns and think things through in the abstract, but once I have knit one such sock, I think I will be able to grasp how others differ.

And I can’t – or won’t – do that until I have nailed the Turkish cast-on and then Judy’s magic one.

Dawn, I have added Wendy Johnson’s short-row toe to the list in my electronic Filofax. Never heard of it. How does it fit in with the ones mentioned above? I have despaired of the crochet-chain provisional cast-on, until I can at last get to a knitting jamboree (Knit Nation 2013?) and have it demonstrated by a human being, but there are work-arounds for that.


My sister sent me a link yesterday (I've lost it, I'm afraid) to a Financial Times columnist who discovered upholstery-making after falling through a mesh chair and who says that the secret of life is not to find oneself but to lose oneself in work. With which I would agree. The work has to be autonomous, she concludes – you’re your own boss; has to offer mastery – something you can get progressively better at; and purpose – a result.

So knitting should qualify. I feel that it doesn’t, entirely, because it’s so easy, so pickable-up and put-downable. It can soothe an anxious hour or speed a tedious one and provide a sense of doing-something in the weary hours at the end of the day. But it doesn’t exhaust (thank goodness). One can’t – I can’t – “stay focussed for hours” on it.

Whereas gardening, at which my sister excels, ought to fit the bill. I would locate perfect happiness somewhere in the garden (after human relationships, anyway). But she says not – too many failures, too many weeds, too many mosquitoes.

Are we all going to have to take up upholstery?


  1. Those Dunkirk boats were so small for such a big task. We only saw a tiny amount on our news service. Shame about the weather and the coverage!

  2. Anonymous10:34 AM

    The link is below; it's in yesterday's paper by Lucy Kellaway. Non subscribers should be able to get to it free.


    Sister Helen

  3. PBS Newshour had coverage of the flotilla - brief but thorough. They interviewed a 95 year old man who had participated in the Dunkirk rescue.


    I recently read a time travel book about the British experience during WWII which detailed the amazing rescue. "Blackout" by Connie Willis (sequel "All Clear."Learned a lot!
    Also a terrific non-fiction "Citizens of London by Lynne Olson - which is about the role of Americans John Winant, Edward R. Murrow, and Averell
    Harriman during the Blitz.

  4. Hello Jean,
    I don't think Wendy's toe will be anything different for you, but here is the link http://wendyjohnson.net/blog/sockpattern.htm

    I found it when I wanted to do my second pair of socks toe up. I still use her toe, but the heel wasn't a great fit for my husband.

    all the best

  5. I enjoyed the FT article; thanks for pointing it out.

    Nothing could be worse than CNN's coverage of the Jubilee flotilla, specifically Piers Morgan's inane commentary. The man does not know when to shut up. I finally turned the set off in disgust.

  6. nah, no upholstery for me. and I'd say I can have that effect with knitting, when I do it for hours; and it can also be quite exhausting, if you are knitting lace on a larger scale and for several hours. I can focus over long stretches of time, but when I finally give in and put it away, I can feel quite warped bodily - and exhausted mentally! maybe it depends on what the knitting is?

  7. I personally thought the staggering thing about the river event was the sight of two very old people, not dressed for the weather, standing there for hours on end. Wouldn't you have a Plan B on your clothing choices, for weather like that?

  8. I'm feeling largely unmoved by all the jubilee goings on - maybe because it all seems so far away. Anyway - enough of all that. More important by far to note that Scotland BEAT Australia today (in rugby). Woohoo!!

  9. Thanks to the previous comments for the links and the book recommendations.

    I have to admit -my husband thinks I'm crazy, but I've watched (or taped and am catching up on viewing) as much coverage of the Jubilee as I can - not just because I'm an anglophile, but because this a Moment of History. Next on our recorder is the Service of Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to the music and the different camera views of the Cathedral. The coverage this weekend has brought to mind so many lovely memories of the few times I've been in London.

  10. GrannyPurple8:20 AM

    Having frozen Thamesside watching the flotilla, I'm convinced that HM and HRH have a good line in thermal underwear for all occasions--especially her! Even for the concert, she was not wrapped up, and MY neck got very cold watching her...