Sunday, April 27, 2014

A good day yesterday, on the whole. I knocked off a couple of insignificant chores from the list that looms so large at four in the morning – ordering seeds, very belatedly, for my doorstep garden; writing (with ink, on paper) to the Caliban-figure who has been cutting our grass in Strathardle for the last few years, to tell him we have engaged someone to look after the whole garden, including grass, and therefore don't need him any more.

As Hercules found when dealing with the Hydra, the more you do, the more there is to do.

Archie is coming to lunch today, and will hang out for a couple of hours in the afternoon taking advantage of our unrestricted internet access in the intervals allowed him between chores. His large, cheerful presence will be very welcome. I am astonished and delighted that he wants to come. Visits to grandparents, although dutifully performed, were not sought by me when I was his age.

I remember, in particular, a visit from Oberlin to my paternal grandmother in Constantine, Mich, at Thanksgiving in (probably) 1950. The whole thing was an ordeal, prompted by my mother. The return journey was a long, slow nightmare, because of snow throughout Michigan and Ohio, and perhaps -- who knows? -- elsewhere. I was Archie's present age. I wonder how old my grandmother was? My father had been rather an afterthought, in that family, so she was probably, although not necessarily, older than I am now. Did she enjoy having me?

I might mention that I feel sure that Archie is pursuing advanced gaming on the Internet when he is here, not porn. I think I have come up from behind him too often, when his hearing has been obscured by earphones and the screen visible to me, to be mistaken about that.


We've got to the point where two circuits of the borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl is a good day's work, and yesterday I managed two and a half. I am just starting circuit 63. I was interrupted at the turning-point by some irritating domestic duty, and when I sat down again, found that I didn't know which direction I was going in.

I marked the right side with a safety pin at the beginning of border-knitting, but I haven't needed it and by now it has worked itself halfway through the fabric and isn't much use as an indicator.

I am embarrassed to admit that it took me several minutes to work out how I would know the answer. the work being perfectly symmetrical. I even asked myself – this is an even more embarrassing admission – whether it would matter if I was wrong for one round.

The answer came to me soon enough – if I hadn't turned, I would be knitting stocking stitch. I think, in fact, that has happened, and I will have to undo 12 or 15 stitches when I get to grips with it today.

Otherwise, all goes well. The new motifs, now nine stitches wide, remain straightforward. There are some k3tog's, not too many – and it all depends, as I have said, how the stitches were formed in the round before, which must now be reduced to one.

But today is Sunday. I must press on.


  1. Sorry to hear about your difficulties with the safety pin marker. You might like to consider this. For no particular reason, I marked the right side of some lace with a length of baby ribbon that was lying about on the table - as it does in my house. I tied the knot close up to the knitted fabric, and the ends were so long that they would never have been able to work their way through and become ambiguous.

  2. Anonymous1:22 PM

    If you truly find K3tog pesky, you might consider using a crochet hook in place of the right needle for that one stitch. Then place the completed stitch on your right needle and carry on.

  3. Ellen2:10 PM

    Instead of a ribbon, I usually use a piece of yarn and tie it in a tight little bow. Just be sure that it's colorfast.

  4. =Tamar10:02 PM

    If there is even a chance of the ribbon/smooth yarn knot working its way through, it could help to tie it through two separated stitches, and then tie the knot around the strand between the two locations. so all the strands going to the knot will show which side it belongs on.

  5. Hope you had fun with Archie. I remember not caring very much about spending time with my grandparents when I was a teenager, but I count myself very, very lucky that all them were alive until I was well into my twenties.

    I can't wait to see the bridal shawl in all its glory. I've got some silk in my stash, burning a hole, and I'm looking for a nice lace pattern to gobble it up....You have inspired me to go back to lace!

  6. If I find myself wondering which direction I was going, I find that orienting the needles such that the working yarn is in my right hand does the trick. It would be coming out if the last stitch worked, so logically if I knit with the yarn in my right, and it's coming out of a stitch that's on the right needle, I must be heading in the right direction.

  7. i LOVED visiting my grandmother (maternal) who was widowed when i was very young. i was her favorite grandchild having the good sense to be born on her husband's (and my grandfather of course) birthday. he was a favored patient of that hospital and legend has it that he was allowed to go into the nursery and hold me with my father watching from the other side of the window

    i am the eldest of five girls and not a small part of the visiting was that i was the ONLY child while i was there... so besides truly loving her and we shared a love of opera and classical music AND she taught me how to knit (she was an exquisite knitter - i have many sweaters of hers that i treasure).

    anyway, dont sell yourself short - the allure of being with family that is NOT ones parents is very charming but i imagine Archie loves you for you and wants to be there.