Thursday, January 17, 2013

Oh, grannypurple! I am so glad to know it was you who found my knitting on the Google Images pages for the Calcutta Cup – now I have somewhere specific to direct my gratitude.

Life sort of intersected with knitting yesterday, to the detriment of the latter. How do you people who have lives all the time, manage to knit? How did I, in the old days?

I have joined the sleeves to the body of Ed’s Gardening Sweater, and have knit two rounds plain. I need to stop and think at this point, anyway.

Meg’s third article in Knitter’s – we’re up to Fall, 2000 by now – is full of calculations. And all she is doing is a simple raglan. I’m aiming for EZ’s Hybrid, to be found both in KwT and the Workshop. I’m already off base, because I was supposed to leave behind only 5% of K at the underarms for a Hybrid, and I have left 8%.

I’m not going to double back. In my long-ago Fair Isle days, before I had ever heard of EZ, I used to leave too few stitches – the first few rounds of all-together were tight and difficult, and I don’t think the underarm fit was very good.

The rate of decrease for the Hybrid is meant to be one round in three. I know how long I want the sweater to be, so I need to work out where that rate of decrease will get me, as I approach the neck, and how much height to allow for the saddle which constitutes the wonderfulness of the design. The body of the sweater, as Meg points out, can now serve as a gigantic swatch.

Better to face these things in the morning when some, at least, of the synapses are firing.


I made a good start on the Income Tax yesterday. The first piece of information they want, after name and date-of-birth, is interest earned on savings accounts and the like. That item took a big hit, three years ago, was it? when banks cut their interest rates to something totally risible. I was surprised to see, in my first calculations yesterday, that it’s fallen again, although our deposits are roughly as they were. Rates must have been cut from 1% to 0.5% while I wasn’t paying attention.

My mother, whose young adulthood was spent in the Depression, was terribly pleased in whatever post-war decade it was of high inflation, when she could get interest rates which sounded sensational. I used to get cross at her for not understanding that inflation was eating her money away like rats in the cellar.

And here I am in the same situation. 0.5% interest, 2.5% inflation.

On a more cheerful note, we tottered out after our late lunch for a little walk in Drummond Place Gardens yesterday. Crisp frost – the sort of weather Archie likes for rugby practice at school. He doesn’t have to practice tackling when the ground is frozen. They mince around for half an hour and then are allowed indoors. 

We saw the first snowdrops, and lots of Wooden Enemies, and a rhododendron (rhododendron praecox?) covered in flowers from head to foot.

2013 has started!


  1. Wooden enemies or winter aconites (yellow)?

    I love the image of Archie and the rest of burly teenage boys mincing around for half an hour. It sounds like a sketch from Monty Python!

    I always leave about 10% of stitches at the underarm as I like the extra ease. I'm sure Ed will thank you for this when he's gardening.

  2. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Speaking of synapses not firing: here I sit, half your age, having to consult the internet if "wooden enemies" is an actual plant name. I’d not heard this one before; thank you for the morning chuckle! Perhaps some month or other New England will get around to this stage of spring—if the unseasonable weather earlier this winter, followed by a freeze, did not kill off all the deluded plants.

  3. Anonymous2:30 PM

    I have heard of anemones, but not 'wooden enemies'. Are they perhaps the same?


  4. I've always had trouble remembering whether they are anenomes or anemones - having to say "anemometer" to keep myself right. Now I am all confused! That has got to be one of those family mispronunciations-that-stick.

  5. Anonymous5:31 PM

    It occurred to me later that 'wood anemones' might easily have become 'wooden enemies' in the recollection of children. In Danish, my mother tongue, the stress is on the third syllable, and that helps me remember the English name with the stress on the second syllable.


  6. Sarah JS7:30 PM

    And here's another chuckle for the wooden enemies!

    I doubt that my life is any more "all the time" than yours is, Jean. 'Least if yours (with all you do for your husband) is at all similar to my father's (who cares for my mother). But I'm a touch younger than you are & have two teens -- though one is off to college these days. So parenting that one is less day-to-day than it was before she left.

    In any case, I often wonder how some folk are so prolific in their knitting. I got a total of four rounds on one sock knit yesterday. And that was only because I stayed up an extra 15 minutes to do so while listening to a bit of my current audiobook. While I do carry my knitting with me everywhere, there are often whole stretches of days when all that is accomplished in that realm is the desire to knit. Ah well. I tell myself that this is like special food treats that we dealt out to our kids rarely ... "but if we had them every day, then they wouldn't be so special!"

    Not that I actually believ that when it comes to knitting. But it helps me accept where I am at this point with my meagre knitting time.


  7. I have the Knitpicks interchangeable kit. While away recently, I bought some Knitters Pride tips and cords and the cords fit fine on the Knitpicks tips. I actually prefer the Dreamz cords as they are softer and more pliable.

  8. Sometimes I wonder about those people who have so much time for knitting. I have so little these days. They must plan time for knitting.

  9. You mention rhododendrons--some time ago a coworker and husband visited Scotland (from Maryland). Her husband is a rhododendron fancier, she explained. Well, I didn't understand until I saw their vacation photos. (And I realized I never fully appreciated the beginning of du Maurier's Rebecca either, in which the main character dreams of immense rhododendrons.) Obviously the middle Atlantic East Coast has the wrong climate.