Sunday, October 11, 2015

It was the most exciting rugby match I have ever seen in my life. Not just a few breathless moments at the end – although it had them, all right – but ding-dong exciting from kick-off to final whistle. I haven't been out for the papers yet, and have completely forgotten the score. I can tell you that it was high, and that Scotland won by three points.

My husband was better yesterday, complaining (a healthy symptom) and eating well. We saw a dr who said that his bloods show that he is responding to the antibiotics. There are problems ahead – I don't think he has been out of bed yet; muscles, already feeble, will weaken fast. The catheter is back.

Young Mr and Mrs Kiernan – Matt and Hellie – are coming to see us this morning. They were at a wedding in Peebles yesterday. It is dreadful to think of all those people (not least Matt & Hellie themselves) being kept away from their television sets by mere merry-making. Rachel says that there was a good moment at the Kiernan wedding when the news spread around the teepee that Japan had beaten South Africa.


There were moments during the rugby (not many) when I was able to manage simple st st, and in the evening I curled up with Downton. I think I'm about half-way from underarm to shoulder, at the back of the sleeveless vest.

I am trying to make a nice chained edge for myself by slipping the first stitch of every row. Purlwise with yarn in front, I thought. It works fine at the beginning of purl rows, not so on the other side. This is absolutely elementary stuff. What could be wrong with me? I did some googling later – the last stitch of the preceding row must be knit. That's the answer. I'll do that henceforth, and also try to have a good look at what is actually happening to that stitch.

The new VK turned up yesterday. I think the cover is the ugliest VK sweater (let alone cover) I've seen for a long time. On the other hand, I am totally enamoured of No. 3, Debbie Newton's oversized cabled sweater. Who could wear it? I certainly lack the Dame-Edith-Sitwell panache which would be required to walk around the Second New Town in such a thing. Greek Helen, maybe, once she moves back to Edinburgh? Thomas Ogden's bride Lucy?

The yarn is a New Zealand mixture of merino and possum, said to be deliciously soft. It is available in England, at a price which makes even my extravagant eyes water. I'll try to keep an eye on the progress of the pattern on Ravelry.


Nigella's new book also turned up yesterday, by far the best of this season's crop of light-eating. (Jamie, Diana Henry, and others.) I must make myself a few of her not-for-my-husband recipes while the course of antibiotics lasts. The chilli is a tempting one. I think we may have some bourbon (which is required) in the cupboard, although it's mostly scotch in there.

The carers had brought much of the house into an unusual state of semi-cleanth last week, so when the young Polish woman who cleans for me (a dear friend, by now) came on Friday we spent much of the time clearing out kitchen cupboards, a most satisfactory task. Gosia has a sharp eye for sell-by dates – it can take me ages to find them. So we got on briskly. I hope we can proceed this week.

If we could throw away enough stuff I might be able to organise the kitchen to the point where I would have room for the cast iron slow cooker Nigella recommends. It, too, is eye-watering-ly expensive but at least would be in no danger of being added to stash.


  1. On the topic of slipping first stitch, the only place I do that is on the heel flap of socks, and there I slip each stitch exactly as I am going to work the row that it starts. When it comes to picking up, I knit up through the back of the loops. The chained edge makes that so easy. On other knitting, I knit the first and last stitch of every row, making a a one stitch garter border. Makes it easier to line the edges up for sewing - match up the knobbles.
    If only the real life probems could be as easily sorted as the knitting ones.

    1. Ooh, I'll have to remember that for my next sweater (if there ever is one that involves seaming as I hate doing it so).
      I slip-stitch on shawls heavier than fingering weight, and any edge I'm going to need to pick up from later (heel flaps, lace borders, that sort of thing).

  2. I think you were using the slip stitch method for making a chain edge on garter stitch, which, as you've seen, doesn't work for stocking stitch, but does work if the last stitch is knit (as in garter stitch).
    Maybe check the weight of that cast iron slow cooker before you succumb? Especially as it will be even heavier by the time it contains your ingredients.
    Three cheers for helpers like Gosia.

  3. Glad your husband is out of the woods for now. Yes, the match was really exciting, 36-33 I believe. I have some of that possum/merino which my friend's daughter sent to me from NZ. It is indeed incredibly soft, like alpaca. It's lovely to know that you class your cleaning lady as a friend. I've worked for the same family for over 20 years but I will never be known as a 'friend', although they are very,very good to me in general. Nigella is sponsored to promote that kind of stuff so I would just go to JL and buy a slow cooker there. You'll probably get a two year guarantee with it as well.

  4. elginknitter2:15 PM

    Does your Aga have a Simmering Oven? It functions as a slow cooker. - Ruth in Ontario

  5. If you are picking up stitches around that armhole, I still prefer that timeless classic, the stockinette stitch edge. I find it makes working with a pick-up ratio easier. I'm working on a post on those ratios - more for me than anyone else. Isn't it satisfying to clean out those cupboards? Re. the Rimu - lovely stuff but I have my doubts about how well would hold up well in that oversized sweater.

  6. rosesmama4:47 PM

    VK in USA has a cabled wrap on the cover. Not ugly, and now I'm wondering which is on the UK version . . .

  7. glad to hear of the improved health of Mr. M. As for the slow cooker - i agree - Nigella has a deal with the manufacturer - just research on Amazon - the REVIEWS there are excellent guides. as for knitting edge stitches there is a lot more wisdom and experience here than i have... i defer to the other posters.

    good for Gosia for finding those chores that are often ignored until shelves overflow... i do this about once a year and since the last one have cut back on 'stocking" items . there are so many delivery services for the grocery chains that i dont need to stock in case of...

    and good news about the Scottish win!!

    Here its post season BaseBall - the METS won on Friday and then saw a 2-0 lead destroyed in one inning (thats baseball) so its 1-1 with the all coming back to NY to play game three . AND the CUBS are doing wondefully well too! exciting times!

  8. The US VK was quite surprising, in a good way. I saw a vest I loved (and would make) and a couple of hats mom would like (knitted caps). Sadly the IK Gifts did not impress me at all. Nothing I want to make at all (not a big decor knitter or a bulky one) but I did swipe the Orchid lace stitch pattern for use in a shawl (if you look at the projects, it's the bulky lace scarf)..
    It's weird, normally I find several things I want to make in any issue of IK and maybe one or two in VK. Oh well, I got the latest Knitting Traditions too, and ooh, shinies!

  9. Merino/possum is wonderful stuff - warm but light and very soft - but enough for an oversized sweater would make anyone's eyes water, I think.
    Go Scotland, yes it was compelling, but I also found it interfered with my knitting.

  10. Merino/possum is also eye-wateringly warm!

    It might be better as a cardigan if it can be adapted, or a sleeveless item.

  11. The Rimu yarn is delish! Better to indulge in a few balls for a scarf than a sweater. It's quite warm.