Saturday, March 29, 2014

Much excitement yesterday.

  1. First and best – The doorbell rang at 9 yesterday morning, and there on the doorstep was one of you, with her husband, with some flowers for me. They had come to Drummond Place and walked around it, finally recognising the Very Doorstep on which the Milano was recently photographed. I deliberately didn't ask for their name, although now that seems a churlish omission. It was as if the flowers had come from all of you. I was stunned with gratitude.

  1. (This has to be read in conjunction with yesterday.) Helen's excellent friend S. rang up to say that she had SEEN Princess Anne going into Valvona and Crolla – a justly famous Italian delicatessen near here. Clearly the Royal Person knows her Edinburgh. One would expect no less. The Court Circular reveals that she had two more engagements in the city on Thursday, in one of which you got tangled up, Knitlass.
  1. The dealer who outbid us for the picture in NYC last month rang up and offered to bring it round. It was a sad moment, seeing it in the very room where we had once hoped it would hang. It's a stunner.

Forget those 1's. They seem to exist in a different reality from which I cannot remove or correct them.


On I went. I'm now doing the 9th of 136 rounds of the the borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl.

I should make it clear that the trouble I had with the Fleegle system had nothing to do with keeping the two balls of yarn straight, despite that false start early on. One ball is nearly finished, the other brand new; they were easily distinguished. No, the trouble lay with the pivotal stitch. I had to keep it near the corner, so that it didn't get involved in any of the lace patterning. Fleegle illustrates the system with a stitch which drifts away from the corner as the count is increased. I didn't think I could pivot on the corner stitch itself – maybe I should have tried that. Fleegle says that the system works just as well when the pivotal stitch doesn't drift.

The other time I used the system, more or less successfully, I was knitting edging-inwards instead of (as now) centre-out. That may have helped.

The YO's on either side of the corner stitch every other round added to my confusion. As they continue to do. With wrap-and-turn, when (if ever) do you knit the wrapped stitch? Every row? Every other row?

Sue, that is a brilliant idea – consult “Principles of Knitting” on garter stitch in the round: and I shall do so virtually at once. I have the original edition. It's been republished since, and everyone who wants one can now have it, but not long ago it was in the hen's tooth category. I got mine in a swap with someone on the Knitlist (this could even have happened in the last millennium) in exchange for an early Rowan magazine, no. 4 I think. I have since regarded it simply as a trophy adornment to my knitting shelves and consult it all too rarely.

My newest needles were dispatched yesterday, and I paid extra for first class stamps. So with a little bit of luck, I may have them today. Meanwhile the one that came apart and which I will never trust again, continues to perform well.


Walking a bit farther went well yesterday. This is all very odd.


  1. Anonymous11:00 AM

    My apologies for not introducing myself yesterday. I think I was rather starstruck . I met Stephen West at Shilasdair last year ( shameless name dropping ) and I think I just babbled then. So happy to meet you and see you looking so well.

  2. When I do wrap and turn in garter, I don't pick up the wrap and it doesn't really show. In lace, that may not work as well. There is a yarnover way of doing short rows that might just work as a way to do this in lace. Perhaps I'll have a chance to test that out. It would be a neat trick if it worked. And if the rest of us lived in Edinburgh, we'd be leaving you flowers on the doorstep, too! Thanks, Wanda.

  3. nosenabook1:39 PM

    Wanda, you are priceless. And I'm relieved to hear from an outside source that Jean is looking well.
    Jean, If your health status is now "odd" then I'll take it as an upgrade. Good!

    On completely a different topic, your shawl knitting reminds me of when you were making the Princess, and I learned that perseverance is not the least useful attribute for a knitter. This has been useful!

  4. Alexis1:48 PM

    I have been reading your blog for a relatively short time. When I saw "Drummond Place" and "Valvona and Crolla" I did a double-take--heretofore I had only known those names from Alexander McCall Smith's novels! I suppose I'd always assumed he'd made them up, and I'd never bothered to check.

  5. Thanks for the reminder about Principles of Knitting. I always forget it, too.

    Maybe the side effects of the osteoporosis medicine are finally wearing off? In any event, glad someone closer could bring you flowers.

  6. Thanks, Laura, for reminding me about the osteoporosis pills. They are powerful and could easily take this long to finish having an effect on you, Jean. And when doctors say they will wear off in whatever length of time, they don't necessarily know that as fact.
    Keep on keeping on, just as long as you are pointing the right way. We require it of you!

  7. =Tamar7:42 PM

    What a pleasant surprise to get flowers!
    Sadder about the painting, but at least your husband had a chance to study it closely for a time.

  8. I am a newly signed-on follower, though I have been following you for several months, and looking forward each day to reading of your life. On the days you haven't been able to write, I'm always worried that your health may have become worse, so am happy to hear of such a great improvement. Your recommendation of Alys Always has moved me to seek it out and enjoy it too. I'm from Jannali, NSW, Australia and have long been a slave to Fair Isle knitting and E Z's dictum that "you are in charge of the knitting, not the other way round"

  9. So I take it the painting didn't sell in Maastrict? Or it did and the dealer was giving you a farewell look at it? Somehow, your photo of the painting was more... poignant? impressive? than the auction house's one.