Thursday, October 16, 2014

Today's excitements are all post-meridian – I am free to spend a moment here, now, in the morning. My husband has a physiotherapy appt for his rheumatic right hand in the middle of the afternoon (NO NAP) and shortly after that, Mungo will be here – Archie's next younger brother. He'll stay overnight and then catch an early flight to Athens for his own half-term break, which (as you see) doesn't correspond with Archie's. They'll overlap for the weekend.

Waitrose had some quinces when I was last there, a rare treat. I'll make Mungo a middle-eastern-sort-of-stew with caramelised quinces and shallots. He used to be interested in food. He used to cook, indeed. Archie always asks “What's for lunch?” even last week when we drove from his school to the airport, nowhere near Drummond Place and the lunch table. He also invariably asks, “What are you reading?”

The answer to that, at the moment, is “Do No Harm”, the memoirs of a neurosurgeon named Henry Marsh. Recommended, if you like that sort of thing. The early chapters are largely and predictably accounts – and he writes well – of difficult and successful operations. The book gradually darkens: accounts of some of his failures; of his mother's death, with reflections on the deaths that await us all; of his fury with modern NHS hospital administrators.

He is an angry man. I have often reflected that my husband's bad temper – when, for example, he is supervising the hanging of a picture – has the salutary effect of keeping us all on our toes. We might err through clumsiness or stupidity (as he clearly expects us to do), but not from carelessness or inadvertence. Maybe anger works as well in neurosurgery.

Anyway, knitting. Here is the Bridal Shawl as it gradually emerges from the needle. I don't need to tell you that you are not seeing the Messy Corner:

It looks rather small. It will be better when it is entirely free, and much better when blocked.

I think I did 2 ½ scallops yesterday. No yarn arrived from Eat Sleep Knit, or clothes from House of Bruar. I laid out the yarn for the Northmavine Hap (Kate Davies: Colours of Shetland). It is a semi-circle, and begins with a little garter stitch tab. I met that technique in Steven West's Craftsy class. But I haven't done anything about it.

Lying in bed this morning, I thought of my fourth and final acquisition at Jamieson & Smith that happy day in Lerwick – their wonderful Shetland Heritage yarn, bought with a Fair Isle vest in mind but without guidance from a specific pattern. Meg Swansen's one in Knitter's, Fall '97, might be a useful starting point. I might expand that thought.

[The other three acquisitions were Rams & Yowes, an 80th birthday present from Kate herself; some Shetland Supreme 1-ply Lace Weight, later supplemented by a further order and now emerging as the Unst Bridal Shawl; and the Northmavine Hap.]

Lots of nice things in Zite this morning– had I but world enough and time.


I am for the moment completely nuisance-free. Thanks primarily to Cam, who got rid of the endless pop-ups from McAfee, Potentially Unwanted Program Blocked. That left the pop-up ads (despite AdBlock) which were all the more maddening when they were the only irritant. I got rid of them (for the moment) by restoring Google Chrome to its original settings. I notice that that operation has swept AdBlock away. That happened once before, when I reset Google Chrome, but when I noticed the absence of AdBlock that time, I thought the pop-up ads had eaten it, as viruses can disable virus protection. Live and learn.


  1. Even unblocked the Unst bridal shawl takes my breath away! Just beautiful!

  2. Oh that shawl is stunning with just a peek at its potential. I fell asleep last night doing some simple two color work, where the mess is easy to spot in the morning. I can't imagine that challenge. You are inspiring.

  3. Anonymous1:11 PM

    Thanks for the peek at the shawl - your readers await the full picture in due time.
    Your four Lerwick projects seem just right.
    Yay for stemming the tide of annoying pop-up ads.

  4. Wow! More eloquent words to describe the shawl fail me. It is going to be truly beautiful once blocked.

  5. Wow, that's looking awesome. And yay for computer working better.

    Also, I started knitting an Orenburg triangular shawl (from a recent Knitting Traditions) and it's all your fault. I've avoided knitting bigger shawls or thin lace because I can't wander around with them, but I want a shawl like your bridal shawl, so obviously I need to start practicing (and get used to having a "stay at home" project.
    So thank you for the inspiration and curse you for getting me to start a 800-something row shawl with way too many charts :)

  6. The shawl is stunning! You are indeed an amazingly talented knitter!!
    I aspire one day to be as good as you!