Thursday, March 27, 2014


The great man said, essentially, that there is nothing wrong with me. He had another ECG done and it was normal. He thinks, like others I have mentioned, that too much cider has weakened the system. (He had a vaguely Scandinavian name and looked as if he might be a cross-country ski-er.)

I think the only thing to do is to take his expensive advice and behave as if I felt perfectly well and see how I get on. I have started today with a cup of coffee – I had been eschewing it lately as too stimulating – and feel better already. We had long planned to go to Strathardle the week beginning April 7 with our niece, so that's now definitely “on”. I spoke to her last night.

And Rachel's son Joe had, long ago, proposed himself for a weekend there. I've emailed him to say, any time! My reluctance to be there alone with my husband remains in force.


All went well yesterday. I have put the stitches back on the precarious long needle so that I could see what I was doing. So far so good. I have established the border pattern (of the Unst Bridal shawl, we're talking about) without difficulty on all four sides. It's a long way around, and it'll get longer, but it's fun.

This is the point at which I had determined to get the Rams & Yowes blankie out and allot a couple of days a week to it. I can't bear to, at the moment, so exciting is the shawl, but I must bear in mind that it's to be done.

I got a your-order-has-been-dispatched message yesterday from Heirloom Knitting about the new needles (I ordered two different lengths). I opened it, and it begins, “Dear Jean, How wonderful to hear from you again!” which was a marvellous boost. I mustn't forget to send them pictures of Thomas's bride wearing the Princess shawl when the time comes.

Kate Davies has now posted a whole blog entry about her new pattern, Machrihanish, a man's Fair Isle vest, with her usual brilliant photography. Tom couldn't have taken any of these pictures, because he's in all of them. I warm to the vest, which is knit from Jamieson & Smith's “Shetland Heritage” yarn.

I bought a vest's-worth of that yarn when I was there, and a Fair Isle vest is still high on my to-do list. My hesitation about this one – from Kate's new Cross Country Knitting venture, mentioned yesterday – was that the patterns tamely repeat all the way up. I have long believed that in “real” Fair Isle, they should each be different, although so similar that you have to peer closely to see the difference.

But that's a small difficulty – I've got nothing around here if not pattern collections. I could easily make substitutions which would use the same number of stitches and rows. I had my eye on something of Meg's from, I think, Knitter's for this vest, but maybe I should have Kate's pattern too. The fit is magnificent. This is the project for which I am going to get that Shetland knitting belt out and try, try again.


  1. So relieved at your health news. I suppose the offish ECG could well have been an effect the hospital had on you. Keep on with the coffee - it is a heartening medicine (pun intended) and doesn't do anything drastic to blood pressure. I proved that with my own blood pressure machine!

  2. Apparently all our good wishes have cured your heart. Nice!

  3. I think I would have felt better if he had prescribed some kind of medication, even if it were a placebo. After all, your symptoms of weakness persist, whereas not so long ago you were up for a longish walk. I believe in exercise as a remedy, with the fervour of the new convert.

  4. Ruth in Ontario, Canada1:41 PM

    I agree with shandy on the exercise. And the effects of caffeine should not be ignored - withdrawal from it can produce very real symptoms. If coffee makes you feel more like yourself, I think you should go for it. My former GP told me that caffeine is good for the brain, too.

  5. Even though we are deep into Lent I will sing "Alleluia" for your good news!!!

  6. skeindalous2:18 PM

    Meg Swansen has a very nice Cardigan called on Ravelry "Fair Isle Cardigan'! It is done in black, white and brown and each row of pattern is distinct. Very nice and has been in my queue for years! I particularly like the Fair Isles done in muted, heathery shades.

  7. This is great news on the health front! You must be feeling tremendously relieved.

    I love the new vest Kate has designed, but my problem is I don't know a single guy I could knit it for. I wish she had written it for a few sizes smaller so it could be converted to a woman's vest.

  8. Great relief! Keep up the caffeine, it really can help. Spring, should it ever come, may help you feel better too.

  9. =Tamar6:39 PM

    I'm glad you are feeling better. Gentle and regular exercise seems to be the standard advice. Speaking of standards, I do wonder which group the great man was using as the baseline for 'normal', because I've heard it varies according to the place you live; still, that's on my side of the pond, not necessarily yours.

  10. How "great" can the Cardiologist be if he thinks the cider is to blame? A glass or 2 a day isn't bad for you....I hardly think you have been getting rip-snorting drunk every evening. You would not have been able to produce so much lovely knitting if you had. Wait for the ECHO which will show at what percent your heart is functioning.

  11. Anonymous11:02 PM

    I absolutely agree with Lou. You can't knit at the level you do, Jean, whilst in your cups - or, for that matter, hung over. Plus, it cider were the problem, it's your liver that would be complaining before your heart. Wait for the ECHO.
    PS - I've read and enjoyed you for years, and I thank you for your brilliance, your talent, and the always high quality of your knitting. Onward!

  12. I doubt the cider is doing you any harm. As others have said your liver would be damaged before your heart.