Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Off to Strathardle

Blogger has suddenly required me to provide a title. 

I’m glad we took the extra day. I feel somewhat rested, and the sun is shining this morning which makes me feel braver. Off we go. Back perhaps Sunday. Indeed we could drive back Sunday morning and be here in time for the final.

I’ve turned the heel of Mind the Gap. I should surely finish the whole sock in a couple more days. It’s looking good. I’ll take the Pakokku sock along, just in case – nothing would be worse than running out of knitting.

I think the only two things I’ve learned about knitting from fellow human beings, as opposed to books, are:

1)      to cast on over two needles when a stretchy edge is particularly desirable, as for a sock. I think a fellow-knitter at Hampton elementary school in Detroit told me that one.
2)      to avoid the dread Gusset Hole by knitting up an extra stitch into the horizontal bars between the two needles. I take two or even three bars and twist them. Then decrease the extra stitch on the next round. That one was from Margaret McCormick of Brookline, I think.

I’ve made a particularly neat job of this first Mind the Gap sock, if I do say so.

Someone must have taught me to knit in the first place. I have no memory of that, or very little. It was probably my father’s mother. She lived in a small town in Michigan (Constantine) and we saw her often in our Detroit years, and she knit big heavy uncomfortable scratchy sweaters for me. I remember being given a knitting needle with stitches on it, and moving them one by one to another needle – but nothing happened, so there wasn't much future in that.

I cringe at the memory of my mother encouraging me to wear a big heavy uncomfortable scratchy sweater by saying it would make me a “sweater girl”. Early ‘40’s, this was.

For quite a while, in the early days, I twisted my purl stitches. I remember being puzzled by that, long after Detroit. I don’t remember how I figured out what was wrong.

New Topic

There has been talk here recently about what might be called reading-from-stash. Someone has written a book about doing it. I don’t think I could bear it. I could knit from stash for a year or so, forever if I had to – just let me order in a bit more madelinetosh before we start. But I would panic if required to stay within these walls for reading. There are plenty of books here to read – lots of unread Trollope, to begin with, whom I adore. Loved authors to re-read, Jane Austen, Evelyn Waugh, Pirandello, Horace, Barbara Pym.

The nice man from Pickford’s who moved us in here 20 years ago, said that he had moved many a clergyman in his day but had never seen so many books.

Maybe I had better retrieve from memory or Amazon, that book by the female writer about attempting such a feat. Title such as, Henry James is on the Landing. Did she panic?


I’ve started introducing myself to Feedly. It looks and feels good, but I haven’t entirely grasped the ins-and-outs yet.

Happy Fourth, people.


  1. I have read that book with "on the landing" in the title. I don't remember panic, but I do remember some disappointment. It is my plan to buy and keep books once I move to my "final resting place", but for the time being I prefer to keep the local library in business :)

  2. It's Susan Hill, and the title is 'Howard's End is on the Landing'.

    I do sometimes wonder why I feel I need to buy new books, why I think none of the several thousand are the right book to read now (and there are at least a hundred unread books in various places), but I never do manage to stop buying books for longer than the few weeks of Lent. I re-read plenty though, and at least a hundred a year head out to Oxfam.

    1. When I was a student I was a regular at the local Oxfam bookshop, so much so that the manager used to ask me when I was bringing back some of the books I'd bought! I'm hopeless at letting books go.

  3. Patience11:01 AM

    I've been collecting Wodehouse for years as I come across them in stores or see a title back in print. I'm down to about a dozen books of his that I still don't have, but they're obscure works and may not come back.

    I've been thinking lately to organize by publishing date and read through so I can follow the stories in order. Hmmm.

  4. Anonymous3:01 PM

    I used to say I wouldn't mind living in the bottom of the Grand Canyon as my retirement long as I had internnet and an online source of yarn and books. Well, here I am holed up on the edge of town, living on a 5 acre lake. Just as I made that statement the postman delivered my Loopy Ewe package and I had downloaded an e-book minutes before. Guess retirement is a success!

  5. I think reading from stash is a good idea if you have a lot of books that you have bought but never got around to reading. Otherwise it's an alarming idea! Unless you could also use the library or something.

  6. =Tamar8:26 PM

    At this point I could probably read from stash for years. I have many books that I love to reread and many more that I should reread and rejudge. There is a phenomenon when a book beloved in memory is reread and suddenly you see all the flaws, judging it by modern standards, etc. Although it can hurt, that's one way to weed a collection. But my idea of a weeded-down, basic collection is a far cry from most people's...
    "They got the library at Alexandria; they're not getting mine."

  7. Anonymous8:48 PM

    Hampton Elementary? I've been lurking in the shadows for a couple of years but had not heard mention of your Detroit years. I grew up there, went to Mumford High School (class of '65 and then on to University of Michigan. How surprising to read of Hampton in your blog!

  8. Anonymous9:20 PM

    Happy 4th to you, too. I hope you have a great weekend and good weather all around. I often knit into the bar to avoid the gusset gap but haven't tried taking up 2 or 3 bars for it. Will have to give it a try, especially for a gap that refuses to leave. Thanks for sharing the tip. - Joe-in Wyoming

  9. I would also panic if forced to read from stash. If given access to the library, I could do it though...

    I am loving your blog, by the way. But I cannot figure out commenting through Feedly.

  10. Welcome back, if back you be.
    Hooray for Murray - and in straight sets. If you were able to watch, he didn't keep you waiting in stress for too long!

  11. For when you're back, found this blog, pieces by Ronald Blythe, writer of the wonderful book Akenfield, something about it made me think you'd like them

  12. csj04232:44 AM

    Hi Jean:

    I don't really care too much about tennis competition, but thanks to your interest, I watched the match this morning. Congratulations to you and to Mr. Murray. You must be ecstatic. Can't wait to hear about the goings on at Strathardle.