Friday, October 24, 2014

Panic continues. It's worst in the morning. Tamar, I'll check on Vitamin B. I have a half-feeling that it was much touted during the war – perhaps recently discovered? I take Vitamin D in quantity during the dark months but I've forgotten what its virtues are supposed to be. And, Weavinfool, you're quite right that panic and happy anticipation are remarkably similar – I remember feeling something like this the morning I set forth to Shetland, and, long before that, the day I went to the Calcutta Cup on tickets I had won in a newspaper competition.

This is worse, I think. I got Rams & Yowes wrapped up and tagged yesterday. That hasn't helped. The wedding present is silver and I need to polish it. I hope I'll get to that today. And today is when I'm having my hair done. That should lift the spirits.

We had a grand time having lunch with our niece. That helped for a while.


My swatch of madelinetosh DK measures just a whisker over 20 stitches to four inches – not even 20 ½, just a whisker. So I'm calling it five stitches to the inch and proceeding on that basis, but remembering, as I often do in this sort of situation, Major Erskine in Evelyn Waugh's “Men at Arms”: “Major Erskine...was strangely dishevelled in appearance. His uniform was correct and clean but it never seemed to fit him, not through any fault of the tailor's, but rather because the major seemed to change shape from time to time during the day.”

The pattern is one of those with tables of numbers – you have to find your size and your gauge for every instruction. I hope it's not going to be too instruction-intensive for wedding-knitting. It's top-down, a novelty for me, and the neck-band isn't going to be added until the very end – so it curls. I'll have to do quite a bit before Archie can get much idea. It's knit circularly below the armpits, but it'll be a while before I reach those sunny uplands. I made a good start yesterday, leaving the Bridal Shawl aside despite my firm instructions to myself.

Here's something from Zite about knitting and the Yes campaign for Scottish independence. Woolly thinking of the worst sort, pun intended, but I thought you ought to see it.


Do you like numbers? Alexander emailed yesterday to say that his son James – the elder of the Little Boys on Loch Fyne – had been set the following sequence as his homework from Strachur Primary School, with instructions to find the next four numbers in the sequence:


The best Alexander and I can do is to assume that “8” is a mistake, and that the sequence required is 4,16,5,25. But James found this solution, which his doting grandmother regards as little short of brilliant:

64, 63, 3969, 3968

I'll let you know what they say about that in Strachur.


  1. When the Senior Cat (aka as my father) is worried about something I ask him if he can do something about the problem he is panicking over. If he can, then "do it". If he can't then "don't worry". Mind you, I am not at all good about following the same advice!

  2. KarenE9:46 AM

    Maths - it's "double number, subtract one" so James is spot on.

  3. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Maths - not "double number"? It's multiply the number by itself and subtract one? Which is what James has done and indeed brilliant as it is the sort of sequence you see in psychometric testing for post graduates and aspiring managers. Jan

  4. Anonymous10:03 AM

    On the subject of sequencing, I have been contemplating attempting a fair isle sweater inspired by Jean's earlier blogs about the one she did for Rachel from stash. I have attempted stranded knitting only once before (1970s tank top) and have never attempted steeks. A pattern I am considering uses steeks for neck line but also uses the Barbara Walker method of "simultaneous set in sleeves". I was wondering if you Jean or any of your followers have heard of this method or can offer advice on what to attempt for a first timer? Any advice would be much appreciated. Jan

    1. Hi Knitalot, I have made several sweaters using the Barbara Walker simultaneous set-in sleeves, worked well for striping. In fact I saw a woman who took a class I taught a few years ago on the method and she was wearing the sweater she made in class. I'd be happy to send you any notes etc. I have from that. If I can find them!

    2. Anonymous2:06 PM

      Thank you so much Mary Lou. I have done some further research on the internet and the advice seems to be to read and re-read the instructions before attempting. If you were able to find your notes that would be much appreciated, I can give you my email address if that would be easier. I'm considering an Ann Kingstone pattern called Field Study which uses the method. I also like the Marie Wallin pattern that Jean pointed out from VK. Part of the problem is that there is just so much choice. Jan

  5. Jean when I am anxious the morning is always worst. I have a couple of guided meditation/self hypnosis apps I use on my ipod that help me, but that may not work for you. Easy knitting is always good, of course.

  6. DawnC3:10 PM

    Jean I am getting on in years and have found to be suddenly sensitive to caffeine. all my life I have been drinking lots of coffee and tea so don't know why this is happening. If I drink a lot of coffee in the am, I have the same symptoms you have described. My solution is half caf after the first cup, it did the trick.

  7. Anonymous4:05 PM

    When I'm faced with tables of numbers (repeatedly!) in a knitting pattern, I go through and mark my size choice in each place before I begin knitting. You can use a pencil to circle (in case of reusing the pattern in the future), or even a highlighter marker. I also mark any "while at the same time" instructions. :-)

  8. Hey Jean, you might want to wash your swatch, let it dry and then check your gauge. I am finding with a lot of super wash wools they really grow when they get wet. To retain their shape they often have to be put in the dryer and will sometimes retain their original shape. I am not a fan of the dryer but if that's what Archie would do then you will know how your sweater will fare. Otherwise you might alter your needle size so as to retain its intended gauge. Food for thought.

  9. Hi Jean...
    I had a 20% coupon for Barnes & Noble and some time between appointments yesterday. So I picked up a copy of The Knowledgeable Knitter. I've been knitting since 4th grade and am approaching 62, so have been around the circular needles a few times ;)

    I bought the book because it's a conversational style book that one can sit down, read, and absorb. I have plenty of reference books, and "how to design" knitting books. This one reminds me more of an EZ style information book.

    It is set up to take you through things to think about as you plan and knit a project. In leafing through the book, there are a lot of little tidbits that I may not have thought about (or have forgotten)

    The last two sentences of her introduction say a lot:
    "You need to show up and knit, but you also need to pay attention. This book is designed to help you identify what to pay attention to, and how to judge for yourself the best course of action to take."

  10. Anonymous10:49 PM

    I get the 64, 63 etc. result

  11. Lynne in Florida1:42 AM

    I agree with James' doting grandmother. Brilliant!