Sunday, January 19, 2014

Alexander got the tickets!

When he got to the head of the on-line queue yesterday morning, he found that tickets were available in all parts of the stadium. So he started with the best – no, nothing. (Presumably they had only singletons, and he was asking for two.) Then the next best. Same thing, Then the next – and then he began to panic for fear that the parsimonious fans would be starting at the other end of the scale (no ticket to the Calcutta Cup is anything like what a reasonable human being would call cheap) and by the time he got there, those tickets would be gone too.

I don't know how he resolved this dilemma, but he says that Mark and I are in a corner of the ground-level tier. That sounds fine – not exactly the 50-yard line, but not the Black Hole of Calcutta either. (hey! A joke!) I've been to Murrayfield three times, I think (win, win, lose). The third time, we were sitting upstairs and I didn't care for it at all. That was the year I won tickets to the Calcutta Cup in a newspaper competition. We found ourselves in a disconsolate group of newspaper-ticket-winners, some from places in England so far-flung that they had to leave before the end to catch the last train home.

Kick-off is at 5 p.m. I profoundly disapprove of the way sport after sport has become a thing of the night. Perhaps the first and worst was my once-beloved baseball. I am trying to become a cricket fan – a proper, five-day Test Match is still played in daylight. Everything stops for lunch and tea. But it's an uphill struggle on my part.

The match is on March 8. And this time I will stay until I see Princess Anne (she'll be there) hand the Cup to the winning captain. Maybe I'll be the only person in that whole huge stadium who has ever knitted it.


Here's the Silly Christmas Project at last, in James's hands. The pattern is in the book “Knit Your Own Britain”. It's not very good (my rendition isn't, I mean) but at least you can see what was intended.

I've now done 23 2/3rds scallops on the edging for the third side of the Unst Bridal Shawl – another percentage point, and today I should pass halfway.

I've been thinking about the borders – it's obvious I'll have to swatch. There are lots of diamond motifs which may flip over without difficulty – the problem is that I am knitting the shawl edging-inwards whereas it was written centre-out. But there are also trees, and they've got to be right.

There's a Tree of Life Border, edging-inwards, on p.163 of Heirloom Knitting which may solve a number of problems.

It's funny how much I resent the idea of taking some time off to swatch. Real knitters like Franklin and Kate Davies swatch all the time. I remember when I was knitting a Christening shawl for James' and Cathy's youngest, in 2000, and wanted to incorporate the Calcutta Cup which Scotland had gloriously and unexpectedly won that year – couldn't I just chart it and start knitting? It was an Amedro pattern knit from the edging all the way in to the middle. I was nearly finished when Kirsty was born, and wanted to put the her initials, mine, her birthday, and the year in the four quarters of the shawl – with the cup under the “2000”.

And of course I couldn't just bash on. I had to swatch to see if it worked. My lace Calcutta Cup is pretty basic, but it involves curved handles, based on something in Susanna Lewis' splendid “Knitting Lace”. My first attempt did indeed have to be tweaked. If I were using Old Slowcoach, my desktop computer, I'd show you a picture of the result.

If I'm so happy to be devoting 2014 to the Unst Bridal Shawl, why should I begrudge a week of swatching?


  1. You sound so much brighter, jean. I do hope that the nausea has retreated. I did ponder knitting along with you on the Unst bridal shawl, but I don't have a waiting recipient, and I could not contemplate knitting lace in reverse. I admire your courage.

  2. Your Silly Christmas Project is adorable. A genius must have made up the pattern. Swatching is the absolute worst part of knitting for me. That is why I usually knit sweaters from J & S because I know what my tension will be. I, too, noted a brighter note in your writing and hope you are back to yourself. Abrazos.
    Ron in Mexico

  3. I'm so glad you got the tickets to the Calcutta Cup! And I am quite sure you will be the only spectator who has actually knit the cup. Great job on the "jar" of Marmite!

  4. Happy news! I love to swatch for play, test out ideas, research. But once I have the project set, or am starting someone else's pattern, I want to rush right in. With sweaters I'll start a sleeve and use that for gauge, ripping it back if it isn't right. With something as complex as you are attempting, that approach won't work, I'm sure. Good luck!

  5. I don't remember why you are going from the edging inward. When you finish the edging, why don't you start the center and knit outward. The Estonian shawls have the edging carefully sewn on if I remember correctly. That would solve the swatching problem.
    The photo of your edging is wonderful. It makes me want to start one too.

  6. csj04234:41 PM

    How wonderful for you that you got the tickets! I totally agree about sports at night and particularly baseball. I have season tickets to one of the MLB teams and it seems there are more night games every year.

  7. Hmm...we will have to work on you with respect to cricket. Without you behind them how can the UK hope to do a little better next season? You need to understand the psychology - it's a little bit like baseball you know - only far superior. :)
    And that irritating "swatch" - well pockets and a sampler afghan come to mind. At least that way I don't feel the effort is wasted.

  8. Hooray for the tickets! I hope you have a marvelous time with Alexander's friend.

    I love the Silly Christmas Project. Too fun.