Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year to all. I have high hopes for 2015.

Greek Helen emailed this picture yesterday. They are all marooned on Mount Pelion – can't even get up the path to the road, and the road hasn't been plowed. If Archie has to ring up his school to say he can't get back for the beginning of term next week because he is stuck on Mount Pelion, will they recognise the literary-historical allusion?

I didn't achieve much yesterday – one and 1/3 scallops of the edging of the Unst Bridal Shawl, and the income tax papers spread out on the table. Somehow extra hours are going to have to be squeezed out of the day. Less food-shopping could probably be managed.

While at Loch Fyne, we talked about what to do (=what to knit) if Scotland win the Calcutta Cup. It's unlikely. Indeed, it's unlikely every year but particularly so in the odd-numbered ones when the match is played in London. Have we won there in living memory? However, this year it's possible. Scotland were playing with a new spring in their step in the autumn tests and England looked a bit listless.

The trouble is, the Little Boys don't wear sweaters. It's all layered fleeces over there. Once when the match was a draw, I knit a hat for one of them, showing half the Calcutta Cup. It was much appreciated, but soon got lost.

We have decided on scarves this time (if needed). I must have a look at Arne & Carlos' latest book. I am sure I can do something on my own, if there is nothing helpful there: Norwegian-type patterning at the ends, incorporating the cup and the date, something two-sided in between.

The other thing at Loch Fyne was that I cast on the Queen Ring Shawl. It is an odd feeling, casting on something which death or decrepitude has a seriously good chance of interrupting. But you never know.

I made a good start. I knit ten scallops – there are forty-something per side. The pattern is easy to learn, very lacy with lots of k2togs and yo's and therefore slow. I think I'll probably get a bit faster as things progress. No k3togs at all – that's a blessing.

Each border starts off with 340-odd stitches. The borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl have 300. So the Queen Ring is bigger, but not order-of-magnitude bigger. I feel slightly hopeful. And I was pleased to find, when we got back, that my fingers remembered the pattern for the Unst Bridal Shawl edging without any need for chart-peering.

I spent some time reading the Queen Ring pattern, too. The difficulty is that Sharon M. is both telling us how to re-create the antique shawl she owns, as it was knit; and also translating it into modern. The old shawl, for instance, has substantially fewer scallops than needed in the edging, and then increases mightily in the first row of the border. And the borders aren't mitred, just taken in from time to time.

I shall knit a full complement of edging scallops, and I'll mitre the corners of the border.


Both Greek Helen and I gave my husband the same book for Christmas – Diana Cooper's letters to her son Viscount Norwich. She was a remarkable woman, the “Lady Diana” of the interbellum years, with a wit and a gift for friendship far exceeding her subsequent namesake. She had an unfaithful husband, too, and shrugged it off.

If you've read Evelyn Waugh's “Scoop” – and if you haven't, you should; you've got a treat in store – you already know her, for she is Mrs Stitch.

The new collection of letters has as vivid a day-by-day account of the experience of the London Blitz as I have ever read.


  1. I've come across Diana Cooper from Nancy Mitford's "Don't tell Alfred" too, which is a real hoot! I'm fairly sure I've read parts of Duff Cooper's memoirs too, have you read his book Operation Heartbreak? Nothing to do with Diana Cooper really, except that her husband wrote it, thoroughly good novel though. I must have a read of the letters, I could see my mother enjoying it too.

  2. skeindalous12:56 PM

    How exciting to be starting the Queen Ring. It is exquisite and will be a satisfying knit! You must always have a project that over reaches just a bit, to draw you on and provide the challenge..... Will watch with enthusiasm as you procede! On Christmas Eve I cast on for Asta Sollilja and on New Year's Eve for the Tokyo Shawl. Neither in the realm of the Queen Ring, but both lovely, pleasurable knits. Starting the New Year off with joyful knitting! May God bless you and yours this coming year.

  3. Happy New Year! Welcome back. I just finished Human Voices by Penelope Fitzgerald, so the letters might be a good follow up. I will also add Scoop to the list. You do broaden my reading horizons, Jean. Re. the scarf - fine yarn, all in the round, so the middle will be mindless and the pattern on the ends simple to do?

  4. Welcome back. Even tho I knew you weren't due home I checked (just in case) your blog almost every day. My morning isn't complete until I read your blog.

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

  5. Happy happiest new year ! Exciting to have another shawl to birth with you. Glad your holidays were uneventful except for the Internet loss.

    Thank you for your daily posts thru which we share your life. Hoping to get to Scotland this year and maybe your city!

  6. Lang may yer lum reek Jean!

  7. You certainly sound revitalised by your break - what a contrast to this time last year! Who will wear the Queen Ring at her wedding, I wonder?
    Happy New Year, Jean.