Wednesday, February 04, 2015

David is home from hospital, out there in Athens.

A neighbour helped me in with the groceries yesterday and asked me to be in a promotional video he is making for Age Concern. I think all I would have to do is sit in my sitting room looking old, for a handsome fee. I didn't quite get around to discussing this with my husband yesterday – I managed an opening sentence or two but then we got swept away on a tide of elderly concerns, as so often. If it happens, I think I'll get the Tokyo shawl. He can have a book.

Busy day today. My right eye – my “good” eye – is getting increasingly cloudy. The oculist said last time that this is because the plastic lens, inserted when I had my cataract operation, has clouded. It could be cleared with laser treatment, she said, so today I am going back to her to ask to be referred. And then in the afternoon, tea with a neighbour even more elderly than I. Many stairs to climb, and no nap.

I finished Archie's first sleeve yesterday, as hoped. I think the red hem is an excellent touch. And, Lou, I'm sorry – I didn't do anything with the yarn in advance, I just knit it. I am more than a bit bogged down in winter (much as I love this time of year) and care. All I wanted was to knit. That's why the Unst Bridal Shawl is lying there unfinished. That's why, having polished off one sleeve, I went ahead and picked up the stitches for the other one.

It didn't go quite as well as the first time. The stitches left behind on waste yarn seem to be one stitch short, although I can't see why. Having left them behind, the instruction was to cast on 22 to bridge the gap and complete the cylinder of the body. Now, I was to recover the abandoned stitches and pick up 22 along the cast-on edge.

This process threatened to leave little holes in the corners such as you get when picking up stitches along the heel flap of a sock and then knitting across the instep. On the first sleeve, I did what I did for socks – a friend in Brookline, MA, taught me this – and picked up an extra stitch from the horizontal bars in the corner, grabbing two or even three of them, and twisting before knitting. Then you get rid of the extra stitch on the first real round.

This worked splendidly for the first sleeve, less well last night. There's a wee hole on one side. Not a fatal error.

Ellen, I was enormously grateful for the comment you wrote yesterday, about knitting with linen. I have looked at the Louet website – apart from other considerations, they offer a colour called Navy Blue, which is what I was asked for. Rowan doesn't. Is there a UK source? Should I just order it?

I knit with a Louet sport-weight wool once (this is wholly irrelevant). It was a scarf pattern in IK with stripes running the length of the scarf, six or seven, which then detached themselves from each other at the ends to form a sort of fringe, being finished in different lengths. I found out somehow that the yarn was produced in England – I even wrote to ask if it could ever be purchased at the factory gate. But, no. It all went to Louet. My sister brought it in for me, a bit puzzled as to why she had to carry in English yarn.

I gave the scarf to our niece C., on my husband's urging. I think he was afraid I was going to wear it myself. I must ask her what become of it. I remember it as rather successful.


  1. If you cannot find a UK source for the Louet, I'd be glad to help. Tomorrow I'll see if the Navy is really Navy, and not Royal Blue.

  2. Ellen2:27 PM

    I spent a little while looking for a UK source this morning without success. The best that I can come up with is Webs ( , a US company will ship arimail to the UK, but doesn't quote costs. My computer doesn't want to let me pretend to be in the UK and keeps only giving me US options. I have used Webs several times, and they ship very quickly, although I don't know how quickly it would get to you.

    1. As you all look for Louet, I'm thinking, isn't it a Canadian company? It is, in Prescott, Ontario. I was thinking west coast, wrong again!

  3. Ellen9:56 PM

    Another option occurred to me: Quince &Co makes Sparrow, a fingering weight they call it, but the suggested gauge is the same as the Euroflax. It is also a wetspun linen so it should behave in much the same way. The downside is that while it comes in many colors, none of them are called navy, but the color names are odd. But the good part is that it seems to be available in the UK. They list Loop as a general stockist, but that doesn't always mean that they have the full line. But there is another stockist labeled "linen" in Chichester called "The Eternal Maker". My tablet keeps freezing as I try to convince it that I want a UK phone number, but you might try googling it, or going to the Quince website.

  4. Anonymous9:58 PM

    If the experts think the color is right I'd be glad to bring the yarn when I come in April. (Sister) Helen