Thursday, November 13, 2014

The package from Meadow Yarns arrived. The house is awash with knitting needles, my husband said, why did you buy another one? Not understanding that if one wants a 100cm 4mm circular Symfonie, that's what one has to have.

The Sirka counter is a delight. Thank goodness I got it in time to handle the last few rows of buttonhole-every-12-rows, sleeve-increases every four, back-and-front-increases every other. I over-estimated progress yesterday – I've still got four more rows of yoke to do, and six more of placket. Maybe today?

I used to have a peg-board that handled the same sort of multiple reckoning -- until one lost too many of the pegs, as eventually happened with me. 

Today's excitement is another trip to the dentist. I might take Archie's sweater along. I'm nearly finished with the second skein of yarn; still too early to guess whether I have enough.

Knitalot, I think willy warmers might do rather well, in the right sort of Christmas Fair (comment yesterday). Quick and easy to knit, too. I remember a fair amount of giggling on the subject in the dear old days of the Knitlist, and I am sure that Google could produce all the patterns you might need. Let us know how you get on.


Wedding panic is being replaced by Christmas panic, which is, if anything, worse. I really don't like November. At least I am spared Thanksgiving. The family decided last summer to stop giving each other Christmas presents. That sounded good, but it turns out that it's all right to give presents to the people you actually see at Christmas – eliminating those horrible queues in the post office, at least, but still leaving a fair amount of Thinking and Doing.

What about knitting? Last year I knit a Marmite jar for James and a KU beanie for Lizzie at Kansas University. I am apprehensive of Christmas knitting in general – absurd to add stress to one's only refuge, and at such a stressful time of year. But I might cast an eye about for a quick and easy and wonderful idea.

At least the horror of Christmas helps speed one through the worst weeks of the year. Goodness! Could November be half-gone already? I worry about you, Catdownunder, having to assign a portion of glorious summer to it.


I wonder if I can express this both safely and comprehensibly.

My husband was for many years director of the B^rb*r Institute, a small and very distinguished art gallery attached to the University of Birmingham. It had – has – its own endowment and could hold the university at arm's length if it kept its nerve. At some point in the 80's or early 90's the university got a new vice chancellor who thought he spotted an opportunity, and the B*rb*r trustees capitulated. My husband was eased out to be replaced by a go-getter. Subsequent appointments have been even more go-getting and briefer. For the first fifty years after it was established, B*rb*r directors stayed until retirement. The provisions of Lady B*rb*r's trust deed have been in several respects disregarded.

Please tell me if you think I should take that paragraph down.

But what provokes it, is a page in yesterday's Telegraph about how to spend a weekend in Birmingham. The City Art Gallery is mentioned – strong on pre-Raphaelites. And the Ikon Gallery, an old friend. But there is no suggestion that you might want to hike out to the university campus and take in the B*rb*r. Twenty years of go-getting, and they've got nowhere! We were very happy.


  1. There is no reason to take down that paragraph. The truth is the truth after all. Much the same thing happen to my father-in-law in California. He was a scientist and very good at getting grant money; the University wanted it.

  2. Alexis1:27 PM

    Well put, Theresa I.

  3. Ellen1:31 PM

    When my parents arrived in their 80's, my mother, losing her vision and her right to drive, found it difficult to shop. She started giving items from their very over crowded home as gifts, and I think all the recipients were pleased. The gifts ranged from books to napkin rings, to craft suplies (for me) and sometimes were absurd, but no one was ever disappointed. Just as you "shopped" in your house for a wedding gift, you might think of doing that at Christmas (And as Mom said, "it wll be one less thing to dust"...not that she ever did!)

    1. Anonymous6:34 PM

      Excellent idea, and one that I ought to put into practice.
      -- stashdragon

  4. Anonymous1:54 PM

    The paragraph is fine - you are giving some history and noting a consequence, without naming names. That's the thing about go-getters - they come and they go, often after making unfortunate changes and not having to live with the consequences.
    - Beth in Ontario

  5. Maybe that's artistic justice?

    1. Anonymous6:35 PM

      -- stashdragon

  6. Hester from Atlanta2:52 PM

    I have heard of many similar incidents in the groves of academia. Wasn't there a book by that name?

  7. Hi, Jean -
    I love your blog. It would be hard to say how much. I'm currently in 2008, making my way forward from 2004 and relishing every entry.
    Just wondering if you are familiar with Myra Wood's book, "Crazy Lace," and what you think of it - the free form aspect, in particular.
    For what it's worth, I think you should leave the paragraph. Far too often in my opinion, it's the individual voices that go unheard in such situations.

  8. Lynne in Florida4:03 PM

    I say leave the paragraph up and enjoy your gloating. It's so much more peaceful than firebombing the place in protest. (And I wonder how many security agencies' signal intelligence are going to pick up on that sentence.)

  9. Anonymous6:40 PM

    Please keep that paragraph in place. The "go-getter" plague is not confined to academia, either. World-leading businesses have been wrecked by flashy egos, all of whom seem to get golden parachutes while employees, customers, and shareholders suffer.
    -- stashdragon

  10. Dear Jean, you are clearly a little further back in training your spouse. I have reached the happy stage where he just accepts - what does he know about these mysteries? Of course, all the delicious little bits of kit he wants for the garden help him to understand.
    Re. the paragraph - I do believe that in every good person's life there should be a moment of pure smug - please enjoy it.