Thursday, December 31, 2015

The air sort of tingles, today, despite grey, wet weather.

I can't let the year end without writing to you. I miss you dreadfully when I am away.

All well here, knitting-wise. I finished the final Awesome hat a few days after Christmas – but it turned out I had ordered a different present for the intended recipient. It arrived on Christmas Eve and took care of that problem. The Harlot posted a good essay the other day about the Christmas presents that don't get finished, and the people they were destined for. I don't know what to do with the surplus hat.

Then I clenched my teeth and finished sewing the bits of the centre of the Dunfallandy blankie together. I like the result a great deal. I have written to the designer to ask about the curious number of stitches specified to be picked up for the border, 174 per side I think it says. No response yet, but it was only a Ravelry message. Maybe, like me, she doesn't look there very often.

Now that I've actually done it, I feel sure that I have done the right thing by picking up the stitches available as each triangle was finished, 52, making 104 per side. I have also picked up an extra two stitches per side in the space in between the two triangles, which seemed to gape a bit.

That's plenty. Indeed, after knitting around once or twice, I am in a bit of a panic about whether it is going to be as easy as all that to finish the border in time. (“In time” = sometime in March.) The border is to be 5.5” wide according to the schematic, 7.5” according to the written pattern. We'll have a look at things when we get to 5.5”.

That's a lot of knitting, and the border increases by 8 stitches every other round. And then there are 16 rounds (still increasing) of a sort of horizontal ribbed edging.

I also have what amounts to the opposite anxiety, that I will run out of yarn. I bought eight skeins, I think, and now have nearly four. I can easily knit four skeins of worsted between now and March 1 -- but will they be enough?

I am using a separate circular needle for each side, as the pattern recommends. I am afraid that is a recipe for disaster – one day I will pick it up carelessly and whip the needle out of the stitches of a whole side. I've already got one super-long circular of the right gauge. I think I need to order two more. It would be quicker that way, too. The hand-over at each corner is fiddly and takes a bit of time.

It occurred to me only yesterday that square is not the best shape for a blankie. Rectangular, like Kate Davies' Rams & Yowes which I knit last year for grand-nephew Ted, is much better. Too late now – I must press on. The same difficulty will arise with the ten-stitch blanket.

As for non-knit, we had a grand Christmas. Reports to follow. And, almost better than that, I have made a good start on the income tax and it isn't even January yet.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Shortest Day

We got here! Although I always worry for a little while about whether they will remember to throw the switch. Did I know that Stonehenge is precisely aligned on this morning's sunrise? The site has been open for the last couple of hours, in case you wanted to turn out and observe it.

No time for much this morning. I have cast on another Awesome hat, and indeed might reach the crown shaping today – although, in the modern idiom, I'm not going to stress about it. I'm using a freshly-wound skein of Whiskey Barrel, from which I have previously taken only the three contrast rounds at the turning point of the Roasted Hatch Chillis hat.

So at the end, I can compare the two (Roasted Hatch Chillis and Whiskey Barrel). I weighed the former, hat and leftover yarn together, as soon as the needles were out. 122 grams, was the answer. But the label doesn't show weight, just length, so that was no use. It still seems to me that the RHC ball was uncommonly small.

Otherwise, it only remains to say, happy solstice to all. I'll try to look in next week.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

I'll have to be quick. Things are getting out of hand early today...

A few more decreases remain to be made on the 2nd Awesome. I'll try to get a pic of both together. I am toying with the idea (emulating Mary Lou's last-minute Xmas hat-a-thon) of knitting a third, Whiskey Barrel this time. Flipboard this morning has come up with something called the Hipster, which would be quicker, being brimless. And this one would be meant for a youth, so not inappropriate.

But I love the Awesome.

I think I'm just trying to put off sewing the Dunfallandy blankie pieces together.

Flipboard reminds me that the Brookyn Tweed people have been voting on their favourites from the past year, and there are indeed some terrific things in the Sweater list. The Accessory one impresses me less. Too complicated.

And a winter issue of the Twist Collective has appeared. I like some of the patterns, especially the cables, but everything is too bosom-y for me. Little or negative ease, shaped waists. I prefer to snuggle into a winter sweater as shapeless as myself.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

We'll have to stop soon for the hols, but I'll try to forge ahead until the solstice – Tuesday at 8:04 am around here, according to Google.

I went on one of those virtual knitting-trips this morning, following your links in yesterday's comments – Chigail's to Mason/Dixon Knitting and Beverly's to Queer Joe, both on the subject of linen stitch. Mason/Dixon is enough to put one off linen stitch for life, Joe balances pros and cons.

Joe had a comment from Leslie Bagatelle pointing me to the ZickZack scarf, for which see Ravelry. That looks to me like the answer, for a Koigu-stash-buster. I'll print and save. And that pattern, via the Yarns of Rhichard Devrieze, led me to Be Inspired Yarns, an LYS right here in Edinburgh.

I've known about it, but have never had the oomph to get myself over there. Looking at all the wonderful things on their website – including madtosh – I know that I really must, and soon.

So that was a good morning's web crawl.

I didn't get much knitting done here yesterday, but the crown shaping of the second Awesome hat is well under way. This hat seems to have taken substantially more from a newly-wound skein of Roasted Hatch Chillis than Archie's hat did from an already-slightly-used ball of Composition Book Grey. Why?

We had a good visit with Alexander and his family yesterday. The Little Boys are growing up. Partly this can be attributed to the passage of time, but I think the High School of Glasgow is probably providing them both with space and the right atmosphere for growing in. All of their previous education has been in a very small and seriously good primary school in Strachur.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Pretty miscellaneous, today.

The Awesome hat lacks but a round or two before the crown shapings. It's time to put the markers in.

The Rib-a-Roni hat you suggest, Mary Lou, is a good one all right – but worsted weight. I'm dedicated to DK at the moment. Ah! but what if there is a hat's-worth of delicious madtosh worsted in the shade "Tart" left over from the Dunfallandy blankie when I finish?

Alexander and his family are coming over today for a Christmas visit. The Little Boys have had splendid reports after their first term at the High School of Glasgow, each fully as good as the other. Father Christmas will be hard-pressed to think of a suitable reward.

Flipboard has come up with a good one, for once. In the '80's, or some such decade, in the days of Tom Baker, if you wrote in to the BBC about Dr. Who's scarf, they would send you the pattern.

I have been very interested in your suggestions for my Koigu. Hat, the Amazing technicolor dreamsweater looks like a lot of fun, and I love that sort of thing. I begin to regret the disappearance of my stash. But could I bear to embark on that much moss stitch again so soon after the Sous Sous? It sounds from the blurb as if you hold two strands of fingering yarn together throughout (which produces a nice, firm fabric). But wouldn't that blur the Koigu and spoil the fun?

Judith, your encouragement for Koigu in the 10-stitch blanket is very encouraging. Garter stitch would indeed make a nice solid fabric of it, suitable for a summertime pram or push-chair cover, at least.

And I like the Linen stitch scarf Mary Lou suggested. Have I any actual experience of linen stitch? Would all that moving of the yarn to the front and to the back wind up being much the same thing as ribbing as far as tedium and hand-movements are concerned?

Nana Go-Go, it is interesting news indeed that the Edinburgh Yarn Fest has extended itself by a day, to the Sunday, and added more classes -- booking tomorrow, link in Nana Go-Go's comment yesterday. I think I've got enough, with something for each of the three days. Stephen West would be fun, all right, but I've done his Craftsy class and feel I know him already. He delivers one of the lessons standing on his head.

The one that really interests me is Gudrun Johnston on Shetland lace -- but the class is full. How can that be, before registration starts. Did I miss it the first time around? I did her Craftsy class, too, and am rather afraid of her.


Fuguestateknits, I missed out on the Asterix Experience myself. The one you saw in my Christmas-wrapping picture is the latest, a pastiche, I guess, in the absence of the original authors. My husband read half of it when Amazon delivered, and wasn't desperately impressed.

Shortoldlady, I'm worried about you, having no one to give presents to. If there's one thing worse than having to give them, it's that. Could you not give a few at random, to people who don't expect them? I'm thinking of the wonderful gloves the Socklady knit for me and what a happy surprise it was to open that package.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The new Awesome hat is getting along very nicely – I should reach the crown shaping by the weekend at the latest. Someone asked – I can't find the comment, and time presses – what it was, exactly. It's just that: the Awesome Hat. I hope that link will work. The hat is by Eskimimi. You can find it by searching for Awesome Hat in Ravelry, but, alas! a lot of hats claim to be Awesome.

The Awesome-ness of this one lies mostly in the beautiful crown decreases. If anyone knits it: the pattern says to put in six markers right at the beginning. They aren't needed until you start shaping the crown so this time I have left them out, except for a beginning-of-round marker, and things are going that little bit faster and easier.

I don't think I knew that the way to do a turn-up ribbed brim is to have a fold line, knit all the way around, and then reverse the ribbing – knit where you were purling and purl where you were knitting. I know now.

I bought this yarn (madtosh Roasted Hatch Chillis) for a sleeveless vest for my husband, replacing the one lost to the NHS, but he was a bit alarmed and chose Whiskey Barrel instead. He agrees now, seeing the half-done hat, that it would have made him a splendid vest.

I have much to say about your helpful suggestions for the Koigu and the ten-stitch blanket, but the day already threatens to overwhelm – I'd better post this much.

I promise to tell you every word Perdita speaks on Christmas Eve – but what if she speaks in Polish?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

That blasted cat has just made off with my nearly-complete blog post.... I'll try again.

The present-wrapping session was a great success, although I under-estimated the amount of time needed, and we didn't quite finish. Still, Gosia got all the awkward things and the big things wrapped, and a good deal of the rest, while I finished the two hats and inscribed all the books and wrote most of the tags.

We had plenty of help....

Contemplating the pile of wrapped objects, and my list, I decided that there was a conspicuous gap which could be filled with an industrious week's knitting. So I have cast on a second Awesome, this time in madtosh Roasted Hatch Chillis. And have made a good start – I should reach the turning point today (2 3/4"). An inch a day will see the job done.

The other Awesome looks good with the not-quite-visible turning-point knit in red. I'll use Whiskey Barrel this time.

I feel a bit guilty, opening that luscious package of yarn when so many important WIPs lie about here unfinished. Needs must, I think. I also think this may be my first venture into variegated madtosh, after a long apprenticeship with the near-solids. The Chillis are knitting up into a lovely fabric.

Judith, thank you for the pointer to the ten-stitch blanket. I had been admiring it day after day in Flipboard without thinking that it might be useful to me. (And I agree with you that Flipboard isn't half as good as Zite used to be – I thought it was just me, getting old and tired.) But wouldn't that blanket be too thin, in Koigu? Most of the Ravelry knitters seem to be using worsted.

I'd better print the pattern and salt it down, so to speak, in anticipation of the next great-grandchild.

Tamar, thank you and thank you for finding my knitting in Google Images' Calcutta Cup file.

Gosia says that in Poland, the domestic animals can talk on Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 14, 2015

I've had what counts with me as a brilliant idea.

a) It has been hard, lately, to think of things for my beloved Polish cleaning woman to do, as my husband's carers take care of the ironing and kitchen cleaning. As a result, we have made great strides with kitchen shelves and cupboards further afield (including the stash cupboard), but we are running out of material in that line. And b) I hate wrapping presents.

So: tomorrow Gosia and I will wrap the Christmas presents!

That means I must ensure today that I've got the fixings, and I must finish off the possum hat. Maybe even the Awesome – I'm shaping the crown. Amazon, despite being very seriously inconvenienced by the closing of the Forth Road Bridge, has delivered the things I have ordered with their usual ruthless efficiency. They have a major depot near Dunfirmline, not far north of the Bridge, and it must be tough.

(Alexander says that the whole country should now realise how difficult it is for them when the Rest and Be Thankful is closed.)

I had been wondering about squeezing in another hat between now and the 25th, and sort of looking at patterns. Then I thought, two-birds-with-one-stone, what about a Koigu hat? And then, browsing Mary Lou's offerings on Ravelry, I found the Coquille scarf/shawlette, and I don't know if I can resist it.

I couldn't finish it in time, but it wouldn't be the first Christmas present in the history of the universe to come in a bit late. It would be a wonderful midwinter palate-cleanser, all that cheerful colour.

Otherwise, there is little to report. No more sewing has been done. The Awesome advances, as mentioned above. My husband has returned to working at his computer, a great morale-lifter for him but it means I have to stay close. My big mistake in life was not making him learn the rudiments of computing 30 years ago, when it might have been possible. Might. We were fairly early on the scene back then in the days of the IBM-PC. (Ours was an Olivetti M24.)

But knitting is perfectly compatible with staying close.

Mary Lou, duplicate stitch won't work for the Calcutta Cup. The thing, whatever it is, must be knit in the year of the victory. This started with the Christening shawl for James' and Cathy's youngest child, in 2000. To my shame, I cannot remember which one of you it was who told me that if you type “Calcutta Cup” into Google Images, and go on and on and on and on looking, you'll eventually come to my knitting.

Scotland also won in '06 (Fair Isle sweater for Alexander, now rather tight) and '08 (sweater for Ketki). There was a draw in '10 – I knit a hat with half the cup on it, for the elder of the Little Boys, but he soon lost it.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Your imaginations are greatly enhancing that stash. The best thing in it was the bag of madtosh Roasted Hatch Chillis DK – and that, I've kept.

A lot of the stash represented outgrown enthusiasms. There was a great deal of Shetland jumper weight. When I turn to Fair Isle again – that's certainly high on the wish list – it will be with the J&S heritage colours, devised in partnership with the museum there in Lerwick. I bought some when I was in the shop that happy day, and I've certainly kept that.

Also, I think Susan Crawford is going to extend the range with some yarn of her own, once the Vintage Shetland Project book is finally out.

There was a lot of multicoloured lace weight in the stash. I'm certainly over that phase. If I go back to lace – I hope so, but that is less certain – it will be to white (J&S' wonderful heritage yarn, again) or if in colour, near solids. Flipboard has a beautiful scarf at the moment in madtosh Parchment.

There was some Lorna's Laces sport weight – not enough of anything, though. Lorna's Laces was my Big Thing before I discovered madtosh.

And an infinity of oddballs.

What am I going to do with the Koigu? There was something called the Oriental Jacket (OJ, for short) that everybody was knitting for a while, years ago. The Koigu-collection book alarms me by not being where I expected to find it, this morning, but it can't be far away. Something like that is on my Hopeful list every year.

Another thing I always put on that list is my knitting to celebrate Scotland's victory in the Calcutta Cup. That one is not often called for, but I feel God owes us a victory next year, after the dreadful and undeserved loss to Australia in the World Cup. In recent years I had planned to knit Scandinavian-themed scarves for the Little Boys, but I've gone off that. Our triumph in 2016 will be commemorated on a Vintage-Shetland-Project-inspired vest for Alexander.

He can always have one anyway, without the Cup.

As for actual knitting, not much. I'm a bit further forward with assembling the Dunfallandy pieces. I should finish the central square today and begin attaching corners. And I'm a bit further forward with the hat. And doing unexpectedly well with the Christmas cards, although they don't really count as knitting.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The printer problem has been resolved. It turned out that both printer and computer were working fine – they just weren't speaking to each other. I could, and did, print the document from another computer. The printer is wireless (bliss!) and the document, my first venture into Christmas-letter-writing, was in Dropbox.

Then in the afternoon a clever friend came around and fixed the original problem. Southern Gal  -- very many thanks for yesterday's comment. I will print and save. There's bound to be a Next Time.


However, the big news of the day was that the stash departed. Here it is (black plastic bin bags) in my friend's car, ready to leave:

And here's what's left:

Not all of that, by any means, is very likely to be knit. There's the Kansas U scarf, and KF's “Mosaic” vest, both rather problematical. Some lace-weight unbranded yarn I bought in Beijing. And that poke of orange yarn, on top. I'm keeping that until they announce the competition dates for the Oldest Stash Item in the World.

In 1957, my husband knit a blankie for the baby his sister was expecting. (She turned out to be C., the niece I often mention.) In 1958, he bought that orange yarn to knit another for his own unborn child.

In addition to the pretty meagre collection here, you must bear in mind that I've also got the yarn to finish
     the Sous Sous
     the Tokyo shawl
     and the Dunfallandy blankie.

I've got those oddballs to knit swatches for Franklin's Craftsy class on colour. And I've got a plastic bin, the twin of the one you see here, about 3/4s full of Koigu.

As for actual progress yesterday, I didn't do any sewing. It was a particularly ups-and-downsy day. I made good progress with the Awesome hat, however, and I like the way it's looking. I even toyed with the idea that there might be time for another hat of some sort, before the 25th.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A titanic struggle to get the printer to print has (a) ended in failure and (b) used up all the available time.

There wasn't much knitting news anyway. I am a bit further forward with sewing the Dunfallandy blankie together, and with the Awesome hat.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

I'm fine. The sonographer – I think that is probably the word – said so, as soon as the scan was over. It was being done because of weight loss, as I suspected, and that is entirely due to my cider-free regime.

My INR blood count (yesterday) is still under-target (=blood too thick). The rat poison dose has been increased slightly and I am to be tested again next week. According to the literature with which I have been supplied, alcohol increases the effect of Warfarin. So why can't I have a smaller dose along with some cider? I could guarantee to take the same amount every day, if that would make them happy.

I don't dare suggest it.


Two benefits of my current way of life: 1) I am usually fairly deeply depressed by the darkness, this time of year. This time I have scarcely noticed it, and it doesn't bother me at all. 2) I can send for anything without the slightest anxiety -- there is always re44478|somebody here to answer the doorbell.


Thank you for your help with the problem of how many stitches to pick up for the border of the Dunfallandy blankie. I will certainly have a very close look at the examples on Ravelry.

Tamar, I had had your thought – that the oddly-high pick-up number was the result of a mistake in a single digit, 174 instead of 104. It is a particularly tempting idea because 104 would be exactly right, given that there are 52 stitches in the final row of each triangle. The mistake (if mistake it is) is compounded by the fact that the pattern says “696 sts” at the end of the instructions for picking up the border stitches. 696 is 174 x 4 – but that could have been added after the original mistake.

Meanwhile I am sewing the pieces together. It is slow work – or, at least, I am doing it slowly. I have joined the triangles, two by two, to make the four corners, and am now working on making one central piece of the four squares. It's looking good.

In odd moments, in hospitals and dr's offices and at the end of a weary day, I have also done a bit more of the Awesome hat. I have finished the turn-up, done the fold-line, and have started on the real hat. I put in an invisible red stripe using the yarn with which I did invisible red facings for Archie's sweater.

The stash is all bagged up and waiting to be removed. I already regret that bag of KF oddballs, but otherwise I am happy at what I have done. If we get any substantial daylight today, I'll take a picture for you of what remains.

One problem was a miscellaneous collection made for Franklin's Craftsy class on colour. The contents are all the sort of thing that would have been first in the firing line if they hadn't been set aside for that purpose. Everything there is in hiatus because I couldn't face Franklin – even with a computer screen between us – if I hadn't done my homework, and I haven't done it. In fact, I can't remember exactly what it is. Perhaps I could allow myself to watch Lesson Two again to find out. Those oddballs can have a further stay of execution.

I like the idea of donating Green Granite Blocks to Medecins sans Frontiers via p/hop. I'll refresh my memory of how that is done when life calms down a bit after Christmas.

An unexpected bonus of the stash clear-out has been the rediscovery of quite a few circular needles. Several had swatches and UFO's appended. Others are still in their original packages, on the shelf that used to bulge with sock wool. I tend to order two or three when I need to buy one needle – either the same size in a different length, or adjacent sizes. There turned out to be a surprising number of those, and all will be useful.

But Green Granite Blocks has been allowed to retain its needle.

Monday, December 07, 2015


I have a scan scheduled for this afternoon – nil by mouth from 11 am on, and no help until 2 pm this afternoon. Someone usually comes around 11, but I have re-scheduled her for today.

And today is Pearl Harbor Day. I wonder how many of the MP's who voted last week to bomb Syria, remember Pearl Harbor and the London blitz. Very few. There would have been more who remember American bombs in Vietnam. I think ISIS, like Americans in 1941, like the British, like the Viet Cong, are likely to become crosser and more dangerous the more you bomb them.


I finished the final Dunfallandy triangle and will today begin assembly. I think I'll leave the rest until after the New Year.

I'm worried about the border. Each side of the central square will consist of two final-edges of triangles, 52 stitches each (I've left them live). So, one would think, 104 stitches or thereabouts for each side. And yet the instructions say to pick up 174 stitches along each side.

On the one hand, the pattern is carefully written and this is a big discrepancy. If it is a mistake, you'd think Dr de Roulet or the editors of Knitty would have caught it.

On the other hand, there are mistakes. That final triangle row where two stitches are unaccounted-for. A schematic clearly shows the first part of the border as 5.5”, the second part as 1.5”, total 7”. when the instructions on the same page equally clearly say to knit until the border is 7.5” wide, and then start knitting the second part.

Perhaps I'll assemble the pieces and then send Dr de Roulet a picture and ask about this. I can add a few words of appreciation about the concept of the horizontal cable.

I'll take the Amazing hat along to my appt this afternoon. Indeed, I think once the Dunfallandy pieces are assembled, I'll carry on with the hat until finished. It will be useful for Christmas, which is going to be a bit patchy at the best.

Now I had better eat my sausages. It's already 10 o'clock.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

You people are wonderful.

I don't know what went wrong with comments yesterday – I blame Perdita. But enough got through that I began by turning the computer upside down and shaking it – rather gingerly, since it's a laptop and to shake the keyboard you have to shake the whole thing. Then I put it down and, in the absence of compressed air in any other form, blew hard on the offending key.

And now it works fine. Many thanks.

As for knitting, I finished row 25 of the final Dunfallandy triangle. A good day today, and I could finish it. Or two bad days, and I could finish tomorrow. Then comes assembly.

(I showed the work-in-progress to Alexander when he was here last week. He claimed to have no knowledge of the Dunfallandy Stone, or of the astonishing collection of Celtic stones at Miegle, in the other direction from Kirkmichael. I would have thought he would have been taken to both too often in childhood.)

Liz, thank you for the reference to July 17, 2010 in my blog, for Green Granite Blocks. How much I seemed to get done, in those days! I vaguely feel that what happened to GGB was that I laid it aside in order to knit something for the Games (although I've just seen a passage in which I said I wasn't going to do that). Goodness knows what, and I'm sure I didn't win.

In those days, I seemed to be able to work on GGB and still have time at the end of the day for a bit of sock-knitting at least. Nowadays, my husband's early bed means that, effectively, there is no evening. There ought to be knitting time during the day – it's not as if we were doing anything – but somehow it doesn't seem to work.


Jenny, the drs know all about the different sizes of my legs. When I sort of semi-collapsed in the summer, they spotted the enlarged right leg at once. I hadn't noticed. It was a deep vein thrombosis. A scan the next day (a Sunday – let no one persuade you that the NHS doesn't function over the weekend) revealed pulmonary embolisms (I prefer that plural). Hence the daily dose of rat poison and my cider-less life.

Saturday, December 05, 2015


I suddenly feel much more sprightly. Has a clot resolved itself somewhere? And my legs look almost  the same size. Perhaps it's an illusion.

What does one do about a sticky space bar? A quarter of a century ago, I would not have hesitated to prise up the key and clean the contact. I'm scared to try to fcdda\\\\\\\\\\\\\cfZddeal with a modern laptop in that fashion. Today, I'm using a different computer (we've got lots) and composing directly in Blogger. Archie is meant to be coming for lunch. He can advise.

You'll have heard that the Forth Road Bridge is to stay closed for a month.


I got on nicely with the final Dunfallandy triangle. Row 19, I think, of 33.

And with the stash. Nearly finished.

It was a pleasure to approach Green Granite Blocks without feelings of dread and guilt. The position is not quite as bad as I thought -- a lot of the yarns are in little plastic bags identified by a letter which corresponds to the list in the pattern. At some point in the last couple of days I have binned a bag of Kaffe left-overs from other projects. I shouldn't have done that, but it would be near-impossible to recover them now,

I've finished the back. The pattern says to turn the chart over and proceed downwards from the shoulder to knit the fronts. I have clearly decided not to do that, and applaud my decision from this distance. The piece on the needle starts with ribbing and is being knitted bottom-up, and is presumably not a sleeve since it isn't tapered.

So now what? I can't sell it, if only because it was a present to me, from a friend who got the yarns wound and labelled, and knit a few rows of ribbing, and then thought better of the whole thing.oiiiiii0
 I must find out how easy it is to get another copy of Kaffe's California Patches. I need that for the archives.

So you must advise.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Thank you for your messages about the Green Granite Blocks. I'll try to have a serious look at it today. To begin with, have the m*oths been at it? Secondly, as perhaps with a 1000-piece jigsaw, could anyone (including me) now reconstruct it?

There is a wee poke of fresh skeins, unwound, labelled – that's fine; their role in the pattern can easily be found in the pattern. But what about the multitude of little balls? Is it possible still to figure out what goes where?

(My space barisn't working atallwell thismorning. Nuisance.)

There used to be websites for KF kits which the sellers had either saved from the distant past or actually reconstructed. I hope there are still. They weren't cheap then, and will be less so now. There were an agreeable few years some decades back when Rowan could be counted on to have packaged up too many KF kits which then turned up in the January sales, really cheap. That's how I was first lured from breathless admiration to actual knitting.

I agree that Green Granite Blocks ought to go to a good home if that appears possible.

I'll report back. Much of my useful time today, however, must be spent in pursuit of a painkiller prescribed for my husband which didn't turn up with his week's ration of pills yesterday.

I got a bit forrader with binning the stash yesterday. Another hour should see the job done. I'm very glad this isn't a job my sorrowing children will have to do after the funeral. When I'm finished, I'll take a picture for you of what remains. Plenty, is the answer -- and I can always buy more.

As for actual knitting, I surprised myself by finishing the seventh Dunfallandy square. I immediately cast on the eighth and last, and knit the first few comically easy rows. Never mind Christmas cards unwritten, presents unsent, dinner unplanned – the Dunfallandy blankie is on schedule.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Not much knitting yesterday – a few rows forward. But a good deal more stash-busting.

Forgotten treasures revealed: two lovely skeins of Pakokku. Neither is “Vampires of Venice”, but still, very nice. And some madtosh Twist Light (I think it's called) which sounds as if it would make a good sock yarn, being 25% nylon. There's something out there called madtosh Sock which is 100% wool, if I've got it right. I wouldn't trust that for wear.

And I kept the Arne&Carlos unknit socks, and three unknit examples of Kaffe's yarn, and wound up with quite a bagful of sock yarn.

There's one real puzzle. Two years ago, I think it was, I bought kits for knitting the official University of Kansas beanie and scarf. I knit the beanie, for granddaughter Lizzie who was attending that institution at the time. But I never knit the scarf. What to do with it now? Nobody in the women's prison (or anywhere else around here) is going to want to knit a University of Kansas scarf. But I can't just throw it away.

The decision on that one: keep it. I can knit it for Lizzie any time. She'll still have K.U. in her heart – it was a very successful year.

What about Kaffe's “Green Granite Blocks”, which has lingered so long in my sidebar? I think the only possible verdict on that one is going to be to chuck it. I'll have a lingering look today. Maybe I have thrown away so much that I could buy it a nice clear plastic box of its own and leave it on a shelf in the cupboard to be found after my death.

I still have one more Kaffe kit in the stash, a sleeveless vest which I have always rather fancied. It may be called “Mosaic” and certainly has patterns which are found in ancient mosaics. Keep that one.

Interestingly, or perhaps not, there are no unknit sweaters in the stash, huge as it is (unless you count the Mosaic kit). Endless oddballs and skeins of this and that. But apparently when I buy yarn to knit a sweater, I knit it.

I should finish today – hoping for not too many more surprises.

Here's yesterday's picture of the Dunfallandy blankie so far:

Melfina, you are clearly in a situation where you need to recruit a friend or two to help knit your ideas.

Shandy: Thank you!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

All well, more or less.

I've got the Dunfallandy pieces assembled on the floor, roughly pinned together. All I need is a bit of daylight at midday in order to photograph them – this morning doesn't promise much. Much of the fun derives from the fact that cables flow from one piece to another, over and under. You need to be able to see that.

I've finished the sixth triangle, and made a good start on the seventh. Nicely on target.

I have been reflecting on the way I enjoy knitting more when the designer is a knitter, too. This reflection can't be pressed too far – even the most computer-bound and entrepreneurial – good heavens! that got straight past the spell-check! – of designers must knit sometimes. And even the most knitterly of them will need help knitting samples sometimes.

Still: Kate Davies, Kaffe, Meg, EZ (ca va sans dire), our own Mary Lou, people who really knit – these are the designers I knit the most often. And Dr de Roulet, who designed the Dunfallandy blankie, has been working, I gather, for years on the problem of the horizontal cable. I share her excitement a little bit each time I knit that row.

Gosia and I flung ourselves into stash-reduction yesterday. There are now two black plastic bin bags near the front door, ready to begin their journey to Stirling and the women's prison there. Even if every single inmate knits, it will take them a while to get through that lot.

I've still got a whole bin-ful of Koigu. That's sacrosanct.

But there's also still more to give away. I hope I'll have time to look at it before Gosia comes again next week. I must be sure I still have the Fair Isle colours I bought at Jamieson & Smith, the day I was actually there; and the yarn for KD's Northmavine hap, similarly; and the madtosh Burnt Chillis and the leftovers from Archie's sweater, for my planned half-brioche cosy sweater; and the Arne & Carlos sock yarn; and two balls of Chinese mink that James and Cathy gave me.

If any lifetime remains after that, I can go back to lace. All the yarns named, except the mink, are pretty easily replaceable, I notice.

I would really recommend this exercise. But you probably have a much more structured and useful stash than mine had become.


My INR score was low on Monday (=blood too thick). Clearly I need more cider.