Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I've reached round 100 (a plain garter stitch round) in the borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl. If mental arithmetic serves, the final 36 rounds will add another 144 stitches. It's going to be very crowded. And the Queen Ring, if I am really foolhardy enough to take that on, will have even more. I suppose one could employ a second needle, but it would be awkward.

The original knitter and Sharon knit the borders separately, for that one. The trouble with that solution is the seaming. Sharon doesn't make it sound like much fun.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with how much else isn't getting knit, while I revel in lace. It's the addition of Kate Davies' Hap for Harriet to the list of things I urgently and immediately want to do, which has precipitated these feelings. There's that one, and the Northmavine hap mentioned yesterday, and finishing Rams & Yowes, and the Fair Isle vest I want to do while learning to use my knitting belt, and I bought that Carol Sunday beautiful stripey scarf kit – there must be close to a year's knitting in that lot alone. And that's just the recent stuff, leaving the Real Stash untouched.

That Anonymous Comment

Many, many thanks for your support. It was deeply appreciated. But, Anonymous, if you're here this morning – there's some truth in what you say. Old age is biting deep around here. This past winter took a heavy toll. And as a result, the blog is more and more confined to events behind our front door. Edinburgh might as well be Akron, Ohio, for all we see of it. No more trips to London, few to Strathardle. Even exhibitions right on our doorstep are difficult to manage and rarely attempted. Have the courgettes come up? (No) Did I reach round 100? (Yes) In the excitement stakes, it's not exactly Godzilla.

But the recent discussion of how much imperfection can be tolerated in lace knitting, is an odd bone to pick as the reason for leaving. That's clearly a temporary thread which will fade away in a day or two like Eeny Meeny (sinking, in the Amazon bestseller lists) and the habits of cuckoos.

We have at least this weekend's trip to Strathardle to look forward to. Will there be enough Good King Henry to try some experimenting? My sister recommends bitter leaves in general, fried with a bit of garlic and butter. And that woman suggested soaking it in salt water for half an hour before cooking as spinach. And this year's crop of nettles should be just right for soup-making.

Will we be in time to net the Summer Pudding Bush? Probably so – the birds leave it alone until the berries begin to turn pink and then red. And what about apple blossom? How much? And did it get frosted? It takes only the slightest touch of frost, at the right moment, to carry off the whole year's crop. Are there any flowers on the white lilac we planted last year? How are the mice? Lots of potential excitement there.

My husband and Archie and I will drive up on Saturday. Helen will follow on Sunday, directly from Athens.

What knitting to take? I can't remember what I did last time. I think it probably has to be that Pakokku sock


  1. Jean
    I love your blog just the way it is. I always read it and thoroughly enjoy doing so.

    Many thanks
    Carol in Stratford-upon-Avon

  2. Enjoy your weekend in Strathardle!

    Re lifelines: I use Knit Pro, too. The holes allow sewing thread to be fed through, for a larger size lifeline you can attach a ribbon to the thinner thread and pull it through after completing the round.
    Addi Clicks have a special split cable that can be pried open and you can easily feed a bigger lifeline through.

    And as for Anonymous - rude commenters like that - as upsetting as they can be - are best ignored. They're not worth the attention.

    I enjoy reading your blog. It's a shame that when you put yourself out there, you're also opening yourself up for unwelcome attention. But don't look for fault in yourself. After all you're not in the business of pleasing everybody and nor should you.

  3. Anonymous11:36 AM

    Every once in a while I have to consult Wickipedia to find out what plant you might be discussing (courgettes, for example. We call them zucchini.) There was a joke going around the Midwest states that if you parked in town on a Saturday you should be sure to lock your car - otherwise, someone would leave a gift of zucchinis (they produce like mad!).

  4. Anonymous12:35 PM

    I look forward to seeing how your knitting projects work out this year. It seems you have a lot of fun in store! Knitting is supposed to be fun and relaxing for us, isn't it? Another faithful reader who is not an official follower.
    LisaRR in Toronto

  5. I often prepare bitter vegetables with a bit of anchovy. It may be the salt in the anchovy that makes the difference. That would follow along with the suggestion to use salt and garlic.

  6. eadaoine1:19 PM

    A number of years back I found your blog when I was beginning to do lace knitting. I found it very encouraging that someone who knit such beautiful pieces could be so honest about mistakes and problems. As I continued to read it became one of my favorite blogs-sort of like a letter from a distant great aunt filled with family doings and literary references. I look forward to it every morning..

  7. Jean, I will try once more to comment via my iPad. Always a losing battle, to this point. Like so many, I read your blog first thing, as I drink my first espresso of the day. It's a ritual, and you never disappoint, whatever the subject. A loyal reader, from back in the days of the knitted lace list, but not an official follower.

  8. Lending another voice of support and encouragement to the choir. Don't change a thing about your blog. I read it as much for "how to be old" as for the knitting; both are high-end and interesting. I have almost no elders in my family so appreciate the daily view into yours.

  9. And my 2¢, read 2 blogs every morning with first coffee and sometimes first light. Yours and a friend from upstate NY, everything else waits until much later in the day. Hoping on an upcoming road trip to maybe meet up with Kristie.

  10. I like reading about the lace mistakes. I have made so many of them in my shawl, but figure no one except myself will notice them. I am supposedly over 75 percent since I have started the fourth ball of yarn. There is still a lot of edging to go. I have finally hit the point of wanting it to be finished so I can go on to the next project.

  11. Anonymous4:39 PM

    The Provisional Kitchener's last paragraph above expresses my feelings too. Since I simply have your blog bookmarked I don't show up as an official follower, but I've been reading your every post for at least six years now. Long may you blog!
    -- stashdragon

  12. I'm sure many will chime in on this subject today, but I feel the need to do so as well. I love reading your blog and I'm always updating my husband on the doings of "my Scottish Knitting Lady." Your voice on knitting is such a thoughtful and realistic one. I came here through a recommendation on Franklin's blog, and I'm so glad I did!

  13. You know, the Carol Sunday looks like an easy knit . . . I'd be tempted to take it along . . . .

    As to courgettes, in our family we revere Bill Geist's essay, "The Zucchini Plague." Well worth searching for, and very funny reading.

    Along with everyone else, I read your blog first, every morning, and miss it when you travel. Have a lovely day!

  14. Anonymous6:26 PM

    I am not "That Anonymous", and I am only anonymous because Google and I have quarreled for years regarding my existing Google account. If I use my correct Google name and password, it tells me it's incorrect. If I try to set up a new Google account, it tells me that I already have a Google account! It's a no-win situation for me, so I remain anonymous on anything regarding Google.

    Jean, don't try to change your blog to fit the wants of anyone else. And don't apologize to anyone about your blog content. It is interesting and wonderful, regardless of the subject matter.

    Seeing you mention summer pudding, I once questioned another blogger in the UK what it was. She explained, so I now know what it is. I also questioned the use of the term "pudding" in the UK, since I have read blogs where the "pudding" was some sort of pie or cake, or whatever. How could a pie or a cake be pudding? I learned that the term "pudding" in the UK means the same as "dessert" in the U.S., not necessarily what we know as pudding here. Mystery solved!

    Keep on blogging as always, and have a wonderful time in Strathardle, even though we miss you here while you're gone.

    Mary G. in Texas

  15. Dear Jean, I don't often comment, because I'm at another of those stages of life that narrow one's horizons (here it's the demands of two children under five and a very small income - by the time everyone is washed and fed and washed again and walked and sung to and kissed, the day is 27 hours long and I have no coherent words left).

    I have no grandparents left now, I have lost that link to the past - that is one of the reasons why I read your blog, to remind myself that my generations hopes and fears and discoveries are rarely so very new. I also read because you are so very alive - your wide-ranging interests, your breadth of knowledge. Inspired by you, I have started to knit Granny Cheyne's Shetland Shawl from Margaret Stove's book. Edging first, because that suits the five minutes here and there that is my knitting time at the moment (and could that be one of the reasons why Shetland knitters knit their shawls thus? There is a fascinating book by Elizabeth Wayland Barber called 'Women's Work', on very early textiles, which places them firmly in a context of women who also needed to look after children and prepare food, and had no concept of a separate workshop and undivided attention to give to the task).

    So please don't worry, please keep writing just as you are. Some of my favourite books are collections of Mass Observation diaries - often the writers fear that their record is terribly dull and everyday, but to those who come after it is fascinating.

  16. Anonymous8:06 PM

    Only just had time to comment about the horrid comment from yesterday. I'm a big Roy Orbison fan, and a line from one of his songs sprang to mind when I read said comment 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all'. Your blog is my coffee blog. On my 2 or 3 days at school, I read it during morning break. When I'm at home I sit down with a coffee before opening your blog. It's like reading a well-loved story, and I really don't like it when you're not there. Coffee doesn't taste half as good! Ignore one horrid comment and concentrate on all the people out here in Blogland who LOVE reading about you, your knitting and your wonderful family
    Liz Phillips

  17. Anonymous12:31 AM

    Hah. I've made my mother read your blog because she will appreciate the quotes in classical languages and I appreciate the knitting. And we both need to appreciate the trials of growing old. Thank you!

  18. =Tamar5:46 AM

    I too read your blog daily, though I often do not comment. I keep thinking one of these days I'll try lace knitting, but first I want to finish the cowl I started, and then the socks that are still languishing, and the other UFOs. So much that I wish I had knitted, but somehow don't want to work on right now...