Monday, May 30, 2016

Perhaps I got a little bit more than usual done yesterday; perhaps not. I don’t feel that I feel as strong as I ought to feel.

One of our carers left recently on maternity leave. We heard today that she has a little girl, very much the desired sex. I tidied up the Milo Bambino – we’d nearly forgotten about that one – and applied a bit of judicious steam iron in lieu of blocking, and packaged it up nicely for her. Another FO! 

Today’s teaser-hap is another stunner, by the Icelandic designer Helene Magnusson. I restrained myself with some difficulty from ordering the yarn kit immediately.

It is not, by the way, for these bursts of girlish enthusiasm that KD wants to thank me – but I’m glad to hear that they have inspired some to order the book. I sent her my obituary of Gladys Amedro from the Scotsman, and responded when she put out that appeal for people who had knit the famous Paton’s leaflet by “Mrs Hunter of Unst” in the ‘50’s.


Thank you for all of them. You can be sure that I’ll tell you all about the book launch. We are about to face a sad gap between the revelation of the final teaser-haps and the release of the actual book, a 10-day desert. Fuguestateknits, I am sure this book is, as you say, a classic and a keeper.

I am greatly looking forward to KD’s chapter on the traditional construction of haps. I was rather alarmed when she said that there was more purling than might have been expected in her own contribution, the Moder Dy. If I knit it, as is quite likely, there will be less. I might wrap and turn at a corner – as I did for the edging of the Dunfallandy blankie, and nobody has complained yet. Or I might try to master Fleegle’s technique for garter-stitch-in-the-round using two balls of wool.

KnitWit, I was worried by your comment a couple of days ago, fearing that you wouldn’t have the courage to knit Gudrun Johnston’s Hansel pattern. I’ve bought it; it’s safely there in my Ravelry library. I have read through it hastily: it’s not difficult if you don’t mind purling, and I’m sure you’d have fun. I have the hap-piest of memories of my first hap, the one in Madeline Weston’s Traditional Sweater Book. Her method is rather unusual – borders-inward, half of the shawl at a time, so that at the end you have two corner seams to sew. But no purling. Like Gudrun’s pattern, it’s done in Shetland jumper-weight which makes it a pretty quick project.

Tomorrow is the big day when I’m going off to Strathardle for an overnight stay. I’ll be back here on Thursday, insh’Allah.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

I’m sorry about yesterday's silence. The confusion of having-people-about throws me into a real old-woman tizzy these days.

But WHAT excitement – the launch of the Haps book right around the corner, a few steps beyond the Hussains’ invaluable corner shop, closer than the butcher or the fishmonger! It could hardly be more convenient unless they had decided to have it in our own sitting room – and that might have been awkward. Of course I will be there! Kathy’s Knits is a good choice, because she sells exclusively British wools, and because KD used to live around here. But still a most unexpected blessing.

Yesterday's teaser-hap was a spectacular "fancy" from Lucy Hague (who will be at the opening), and today's is a cosy shoulder-wrap from Hazel Tindall herself. 

KD has written to me saying that she is going to give me a copy of the book because I “helped” – quod absurdum est. Or if I did, I have already been more than repaid in pleasurable anticipation. In either case, now she doesn’t have to send one. She can either give it to me that day, or I will more than hap-pily  buy one and have it signed by her and Jen and Gudrun and Lucy. I’ve taken Gudrun’s Craftsy class on hap-knitting and am rather afraid of her.

Other knitting news is good, too. I’ve finished and blocked the Neap Tide shawl. At first, I thought I could just pat it into position, but then I found that it lacked two or three inches in width – and anyway, no lace edging ever knit has failed to be improved by being pinned out. So I’ve done that, and am very pleased indeed with the result. It is very close to the dimensions on the schematic.

I took two pictures but can only download one.

Perdita likes to help with blocking, but she also likes to pull the pins out and bat them about. I fear she might swallow one, and have to exclude her from the room. She is determined to get back in, and she is a good deal more nimble than I am.

I’ve enjoyed every moment of the process, and am delighted with the result, and also have an extra twinge of pleasure at having actually finished something I bought at the LYF market that happy but extravagant morning.

I knit a couple more rows on the half-brioche sweater last night, and am ready to begin the patterning on the front. And it is now time to face up to the Sous Sous, of course, as well.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Today’s hap is a small one, lacy all over, a “fancy hap” according to KD. Not as startlingly wonderful as some of the others, but wonderful nonetheless.

Patience, Karen (comments yesterday) and I have now heard from Susan Crawford, so all is at least reasonably well. Her second fortnightly report is about the difficulties of reconstructing the pattern – in a range of sizes -- for a particularly difficult and beautiful ‘50’s cardigan. She has produced a range of wool in colours to match the antique ones. One of the photographs in the new report shows the modern sweater, knit in the new Susan Crawford yarns, and as far as one can judge from a computer screen, the match is pretty well perfect. This is going to be good when it all comes together.

The Neap Tide shawl is all but finished. A few more rows, tidying, blocking. Today should do it, except that Greek Helen and her family are about to arrive and excitement may overwhelm me. As I said yesterday, I’ll miss it.

Thank you for your thoughts about e-books. I very much like the idea of, in future, buying any book that sounds like a book-of-patterns for the Kindle app on my iPad, and printing out any patterns that I actually want to knit. I can’t, at a glance, see how to do that, but I’ve just Google’d the question and there seem to be answers. I probably won’t want to knit any of them anyway. I’ll be too busy knitting haps.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Today’s teaser-hap is by Gudrun Johnston, and it’s another good one. I’m clearly going to have to spend the rest of my life knitting haps. I clicked on everything in sight in Jen’s blog entry introducing today’s shawl, and I particularly like, for its colours and simplicity, Gudrun’s “Hansel”. I’d better put that one in the Queue before it gets away. I may even turn out to prefer it to KD’s own hap-book hap, Moder Dy.

I’m going to be rather sorry when the haps book is finally published, and this delicious interval ends – waking up in the morning and spending the first hour and a half of the day in a state of happy anticipation of the forthcoming hap. With the near-certainty that it won’t disappoint.

Poor Susan Crawford! On May 10th, she wrote a message which she said was the first of a series of fortnightly reports about the progress of her book. That was 16 days ago. Never mind the book, I am now somewhat worried about the woman, if even a promise to update us once a fortnight is too much for her to keep.

I have sped on with the Neap Tide shawl. The part is finished, where I decrease a bit more slowly during two repeats of the edging pattern. Now it’s all systems go for the end, and I suddenly realise that I won’t have it to knit for much longer. I’m going to miss it. I’ve got the half-brioche sweater to steady myself by, as I face up to the Sous Sous again.


Wooleidi, I don’t think electronic will do it for me, with knitting books, although I haven’t really tried. I have bought a couple of cookery books that way, and it didn’t work. But I do think I can prune my absurdly large stash of knitting books quite a bit, when the time comes, by adhering to the principle of taking reference books along with me, and leaving books of patterns behind.

But even that won’t entirely work – I’ve got Madeline Weston’s “Traditional Sweater Book” here on the table beside me, and Rae Compton’s “Complete Book of Traditional Knitting”. The former because it contains the pattern of the first hap I ever knit, the latter because Susan Crawford referred to it in her first (and so far, only) fortnightly message. Both are essentially books of patterns, especially so Weston; both I would want with me for the final move.

And what about my few 19th century knitting books? Unlike Franklin, I don’t think I’m ever going to knit from them – but could I leave them behind? This is going to be very difficult.

Sue, (comment yesterday), whatever is speeding towards you from Susan Crawford, it couldn’t possibly be the Vintage Shetland book. Publication is now scheduled for August 15. Let us know!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Today’s teaser-hap is another “Oh, wow!” Maybe we’re going to have to knit our ways through this book after all. It’s by Kate's co-editor, Jen Arnall-Culliford. It looks as if it might involve a daunting amount of k1,p1 rib for the sake of making it reversible, but that should be trivial for one such as I who has (almost) knit the Sous Sous of solid double moss stitch.

Kate Davies’ blog and wonderful photographs warmed me towards the Veera Valimaki hap yesterday. It’s done with madtosh yarns, which of course I love. What fun it would be to choose two for that particular combination!

One of the particularly delightful things about all this, is looking forward to the half of the book we’re not hearing about just now, Kate’s research into Shetland hap shawls. She is a trained academic, a university lecturer until her stroke early in 2010. If by any chance you don’t know about it, read this and then read this.

And now, look at her: designer, stylist, businesswoman, and I can’t think of a noun to cover the creation of Buachaille – not a matter of some pretty colours and her name tag on somebody else’s base, but a whole new yarn which she has engineered from sheep to mill to dye pot. Famous, and loved, in a wholly different world. There are clich├ęs to hand, about ill winds, and doors opening as others close, but they all seem inadequate to this extraordinary situation. I was surprised, looking out the links above, to be reminded how very recently it all started.

I gave a little more thought to the idea of plucking out from my shelves the books I have actually knit from. Not so easy. I must have all of EZ, to begin with, whether I have actually knit anything from a particular book or not. And much of Kaffe, similarly.

It might be more useful to think of assembling the little collection which must go with me to the nursing home when my time comes. For reading matter, I can rely on the iPad – I think I can trust our children and our finances to ensure a nursing home with wi-fi. But for knitting books, one needs paper. And there may not be much shelf space there. Mary Thomas, EZ, Kaffe, Barbara Walker, Sharon Miller, KD, Eichenseer-Grill-Kron for Bavarian twisted stitch… they may have to find room for another bookcase, after all.

There’s a strong bias towards reference books in that little list.  Even in one’s terminal nursing home, one can download individual patterns from hither and yon as required. It may be a useful brake to apply to book-buying henceforth: will I want this one with me in the nursing home? Haps, certainly.

Meanwhile, the Neap Tide shawl progresses very nicely. A couple more days should see it done. I couldn’t stand the suspense any longer, and counted stitches. I seemed to have two too few. That was easily adjusted by omitting two decreases. I found it alarmingly difficult to work out what to do, however. Too few? Too many? Skip a decrease? Put in an extra one? 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I had an excited email from Greek Helen yesterday – she said she follows Kate Davies on Instagram and had just seen Tom of Holland’s hap. “Oh wow”, was Helen’s comment – and that, presumably, without being fully aware of its hexagonal wonderfulness, or of the equivalent wonderfulness of Buachaille. I had better add it to my Queue.

Today’s teaser-hap is by Veera Valimaki. I know the name – VK? although I’m sure I’ve never knit anything by her, nor can I associate a pattern with the name. Her hap is another good one, but it doesn’t quite suggest delicious snuggling like the preceding ones.

What a brilliant launch this is proving to be – at presumably little or no cost. Poor Susan Crawford!

I awfully like your idea, Melfina, (comment yesterday) of trying to knit at least one thing from every book on one’s shelves, and one from every year’s-worth of a magazine. I’m too old to embark on such a project, but it might still be interesting to rearrange the books to put all the ones I’ve knit from together. There’s a great appeal in trying to structure one’s knitting.

I like the idea of a KAL, too, although I’ve never done one. There is talk of an informal one to start soon, involving Sharon Miller’s new pattern, the Jewel Long Shawl. We’ll see.

Little to report. I advanced the Neap Tide shawl somewhat, but not much: it was an interrupted and uncomfortable day, yesterday. But I’ve eliminated nearly 40 stitches and am whizzing forward, at least intermittently. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

I wake these days in a state of great excitement, and as soon as I have put on enough clothes to be able to open the door to the early-morning carer without embarrassment, I go on-line to see today’s teaser-hap. I had a whole hour’s wait this morning – but was rewarded by Tom of Holland.  

It’s an interesting thought, Amy, to knit right through all the patterns in a particular book. Like you, I would never do it. But this is clearly a case when the idea is at least remotely thinkable, and it will be fun to watch Ravelry and see whether such a group forms. What a wonderful pile of haps would result, after a couple of years.

I’m pretty sure that the book I have knit the most from, surely more than half, is Amedro’s “Shetland Lace”. But I wouldn’t want to commit myself to doing the rest.

Heart-warming story

Ten days ago, one of the very best of the private carers we have daily, James Lawrie by name, told us that he had a client of 106, Ben, a bit tottery and more than a bit hard of hearing, but still able to distinguish a hawk from a handsaw, and a passionate Hibs fan. James had conceived the idea of taking Ben to the Scottish Cup final.

He had a friend who would provide a limo to take Ben to Hampden Park in Glasgow. But he needed tickets. You would have thought the football club would jump at the chance – Ben is obviously one of the oldest people in Britain, and I would be willing to venture a modest bet that he is the oldest to be living independently.

But James was having no luck. He went to the club and showed his ID as a Bluebird Carer and explained his mission, and they said he would have to send the request by email. He did that, and did it again, and had no reply.

So at that point, when we last saw him, James thought the best he would be able to do would be to get Ben to the Hibs clubhouse on Saturday to watch the match there.

But now it turns out that wiser counsels prevailed, somehow or other. Cinderella went to the ball. James will be here again on Friday – they send us a weekly schedule of who is coming on which day – and I expect to hear all about it.

Ben was not even born the last time Hibs won the Scottish FA Cup.

Back to knitting

Here’s the latest state of the Neap Tide, in two pictures because I couldn’t figure out how to get it in one. The decreases are definitely beginning to tell, and I am speeding on towards the finish:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hibs won! My husband and I, unaccustomed to watching football, gave up 15 minutes before the end, with Rangers in the lead and apparently in command of the field. So we missed a thrilling finish and a rather interesting riot to follow.

I’m much enjoying the daily teaser-haps from the forthcoming book. I was wrong about Carol Feller’s pattern – it’s not available yet. I jumped to the wrong conclusion from the fact that it is in three projects already – but that turns out to be Carol and her test knitters. My conclusion, that the designers in this book retain their copyrights, may still be on track.

I was surprised to learn yesterday that “happenstance” is an American word. It’s not one that exactly trips off the tongue every day or so, but it had never occurred to me that it is not in general pan-atlantic circulation. Dictionaries confirm. The shorter OED doesn’t have it, Webster’s International (which has everything except for “Kitchener stitch”) gives it as “humorous, U.S.” I never thought of it as humorous. I thought it was just a useful word.

I made some progress with the Neap Shawl. The point where the straight central section turns south towards the tail is clearly obvious. But only about 10 stitches have been eliminated so far, and the garter stitch section feels as wide as ever to the knitter. I think it's time for a picture. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I don’t care much for football (as you will have surmised) – but this is something special. Go, Hibs!

Well, the yarn arrived – the Buachaille for “Miss Rachel’s Yoke” -- and it’s wonderful so everything is all right. At least on that front.

Kate Davies’ “Moder Dy” hap is indeed enormous. I think the reason is that Buachaille is really a bit too large a yarn for a traditional hap pattern. I suspect the pattern could be knit very successfully in jumper-weight yarn (as KD herself suggests in yesterday’s blog).

It would be fun to try “Moder Dy” with Jamieson & Smith’s “Shetland Heritage” yarn, and indeed that may be the path I will go down. But I am thinking of this, not as something to huddle under myself, but as a blankie for the Next Baby – there’s bound to be one, sooner or later. So I may stick with Buachaille.

(It turns out that that word is no harder to spell than many another, if one puts one’s mind to it. Pronunciation is another matter.)

And while we’re thinking about Shetland – the Shetland Textile Museum, at the Bod of Gremista on the edge of Lerwick, has just opened for the season with an exhibition called “Fair Isle Makes Its Mark”; by “Fair Isle” meaning the island of that name, not just the style of colour-work. The exhibition traces the history of knitting on Fair Isle. All this and Whalsay too!

I have knit on, as hoped, and finished the (enormous) centre section of the Neap Tide shawl, and begun the decreases on the far side. They are achieved with K3tog’s, always a difficult stitch. I am being very careful. It’s the middle stitch which tends, with me, to lurk quietly while I knit the next few rows and then make a sudden and disastrous bid for freedom.

I think I have spotted the place where there are two repeats in which the decreases will have to slow down. Soon the decreases will begin to make themselves felt, and the work will seem to go faster. When I reach those two repeats, I’ll count stitches and calculate.

Friday, May 20, 2016

No, still no yarn. I begin to be a teensy bit worried. But the website says they post Royal Mail second class.

Today’s teaser for the Hap Book is a design by Kate herself – “Moder Dy”. A pretty traditional hap, pretty wonderful. I can see it elbowing its way to the top of my queue as soon as available. Yesterday’s teaser hap from Carol Feller can be purchased right away, as an individual pattern; for this one, you have to wait for the book. I deduce that the contributors have retained their own copyrights from the beginning.

I spent some happy time yesterday clicking on links from Kate Davies’ post about the book, leading me soon to Ella Gordon and her blog post (May 8) about the exhibition of “Fair Isle Knitting Through the Decades” at the Whalsay Heritage Centre. It is enough to decide one to abandon one’s responsibilities forthwith and go to Whalsay next week. Kristie, what about it?

Ella has posted lots of good pictures. Some of the designs are extremely interesting. There is a vest on which the patterns appear to be diagonal – knit on the bias? The two fronts don’t seem to match all that well. The back, viewed in reverse through the v-neck, seems to have horizontal patterning. An interesting idea, less than perfectly worked out?

Quite a few – not a majority, but more than one might have expected – have patterns arranged vertically.

For actual knitting here in Edinburgh, on with the Neap Tide. No more unpicking of the Sous Sous – my little knitting scissors have been tidied away somewhere; I’m sure they’ll re-emerge soon. I should finish the long, long straight section of the Neap Tide shawl today, and begin the descent on the other side. On the way up, I knit almost all of the repeats with increases on every right-side row. But for two of them, the increases were only every fourth row, as specified in the pattern – I soon realised that if I went on like that, it would be a dreadfully long time before I achieved the desired width. And I didn’t grasp that, since I was also falling far short on row gauge, I might as well go on with the gentle increase.

So now my task is to find those two, so that I can balance them as I go downhill.

I am rather inclined at the moment to carry on with this shawl until I finish it, rather than trying to fit it into a scheme with other projects.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

No “Miss Rachel’s Yoke” arrived yesterday. Surely it will today.

Sharon Miller has published a new pattern – The Jewel Long Shawl. I’ve ordered. And Kate Davies has started taking pre-orders for the hap book, and releasing the designs one by one. Today’s is by Carol Feller and I like it – but I don’t think it’s the one I’m waiting for.

I really must get some serious lace back into the schedule a.s.a.p., while I still can.

I have sort of re-engaged with Ravelry, after being encouraged by you to go back there and add all my recent purchases and their patterns to my Queue. I was surprised to discover that I already had a considerable queue – a few things that have been dealt with, one way or another: the Relax, the Sous Sous. Others I am no longer interested in: Anhinga, February Lady Sweater. But others, totally forgotten, of some interest: Mixed Feelings Pleated Tee, [BIG]rubble.

I mean to move on to dealing with my Projects. I have already deleted some, forgotten or of very minor interest, and mean to add current WIPs and, at the very least, the Dunfallandy blankie.

In my early Ravelry days I actually catalogued the stash – all that yarn which is now, I hope, being enjoyed at the women’s prison before they close it down. I don’t think I’ll do that again. I'd better find those pictures and delete them.

I knit on yesterday, on the Neap Tide shawl, still engaged with the long flat central portion, and reflecting on how I could have shaped the shawl much closer to the designer’s intention – gentler slopes up and down, shorter central section – if I had paid careful attention to gauge from the beginning. I’m still not complaining. This is going to be good.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I had a lot of fun last night putting all those projects for which I have yarn and pattern into my Ravelry queue, as you suggested, Lisa and Joni. And like you, Lisa, I spent such happy time doing it that there was little or none left for blogging.

As with anything, an actual, finite, written-down list is less terrifying and less depressing than the vague feeling that I’ve-bought-too-much. Although that remains true.

As for actual knitting, I went on with the Neap Tide shawl. I found the ball bands, and they are both from the same dye lot. The shawl is beginning to feel substantial, but when I stretch it out on the floor and measure, it is still short of a metre. (The finished size is supposed to be two metres, and I am past half way.) I’m not going to worry. Blocking can achieve wonders, and anyway it feels as if it will be big enough.

The new IK turned up. New editor, lots of really good patterns, especially shawls and summer tops. And I’m interested in the Summit Vest, towards the end. It’s closed with a zipper. (Horror! Horror!) The zipper is of a different colour to the knitting, and set in so that the tape shows. My died-and-gone-to-heaven dream is that Franklin will come to the EYF next year and teach his class on fastenings, but until then I am rather taken with the thought that a little clumsiness may not be the end of the world.

The one thing I would complain about with this issue, is that there’s nothing to read. There is what I am sure is an extremely useful article about designing set-in sleeves, but all that arithmetic is less than soothing at the end of a long hard day. I speak as one who is not afraid of arithmetic.

Here is the promised picture of the sweater I knit for Rachel, long ago. “1969” the magazine says – she was 11 that year. I knit it twice – both times for her? I can’t remember. I never knit the hat, but I like it. Maybe there will be enough Buachaille left over from Miss Rachel’s Yoke to attempt it.


I am sorry for anything I said yesterday that offended anyone. All of us are nervy in this extraordinary election year, and I will try really hard not to overstep again. My sister emailed me in defense of Hillary, and I replied with the paragraph I had been polishing in my head for publication here. Just as well. Hillary hurt my feelings, all those years ago, with her famous line about baking cookies, and I have found it hard to acknowledge her undoubted abilities ever since.

And Kentucky couldn’t make up its mind.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

For a while, I wrote blog entries at night and then tweaked them a bit before morning posting. Trouble is, there often wasn’t any time at all in the morning. So I started posting at night.

But this morning there is a brief window of time – and I do want to say, before Kentucky starts voting, how disappointed I am in Mrs Clinton’s announcement that, if she wins, she will put her husband in charge of running the country. So very yesterday. She would scarcely be the first woman president at all – it would just be Bill’s third term.

We’ll see what Kentucky thinks.

Monday, May 16, 2016

New system: post at night.

That was a reasonably good day. My husband was not terribly well, but not very ill, either.

I proceeded with my plan for the Sous Sous. I have unpicked the neck edging from the back neck, and even got a bit ahead of myself by starting to unpick one of the shoulders. They were done with a stout back stitch, I am afraid – I couldn’t make mattress stitch work. I didn’t do very much: one unconsidered snip, one impatient tug, and the neat bottom edging which I am struggling to recover, could be ruined.

I then went on with the Neap Tide. I’d like to get it to the decrease stage before laying it aside. The point where I joined in the second skein is slightly detectable, and I am slightly annoyed. I’m sure I haven’t consciously thrown away either ball band: if I find both, I’ll compare them. I bought them at the EYF, from Old Maiden Aunt herself. That doesn’t exempt me from checking dye lots.

The joining-line isn’t all that bad, however, and will be less so when the scarf is a bit scrunched up and tossed with insouciance about the shoulders. And it means that if the worst happens, and I don’t have quite enough to finish despite my careful positioning of the centre marker, I can order another skein and risk another join line without worrying too much.

I printed the pattern for Miss Rachel’s yoke today, and also for the Crazy Stripes tee. (Let’s not forget my little splurge at Ginger Twist recently.) Lots of pages, for both, and the printer twice demanded a new ink cartridge, and I am pleased to report that I was able to give it what it required without deflecting it from its task. Last time, a new cartridge meant that I completely lost touch with the printer and had to invite a friend in to re-establish contact.

And I’ve heard from KD’s shop that my parcel-has-been-dispatched. This is exciting. I’ve seen Buachaille – at the end of last year, I used to go sit at Kathy’s Knits while a carer was here, and knit hats for Christmas presents, and talk to Kathy when the shop was quiet. She was a member of the Seven Skeins Club (or however many skeins it was – I’m not sure) and showed me some. But now I am about to have a whole armful of my own,

Amy, I had already thought of knitting the gauntlet pattern, or some of it, onto the lower sleeve, and am greatly heartened by the fact that you have done it.

Southern Gal, no, I’m not using Ravelry properly. But that’s a very good idea, to find a category for the projects in which I suddenly abound: yarn bought with a specific pattern in mind. Well – USO, of course, UnStarted Object. There must be a way to list them in Ravelry, and that’s what I ought to do.

I’ll try to find and scan for you the pattern of the yoked Fair Isle sweater I knit for our Rachel, many years ago. That pattern wasn’t just about discovering that I could knit Fair Isle, it also introduced me to the acute pleasure of knitting a yoke. KD tries to describe the sensation in her yoke book.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

I am grateful for all your sympathy – especially for yours, Judith, which came so quickly after I had posted last night about my disaster with the Sous Sous.

The danger of its becoming a UFO is high. My current plan is to address the steps I mentioned last night, one at a time. Today I unpicked the grafting that held the ends of the neck edging together. Tomorrow I will unpick the edging itself from the back neck. Then one shoulder seam. Then the other.

And I will certainly go see what people are saying on Ravelry, as you advise. I don’t use that resource nearly enough, nor do I contribute to it as I ought.

I have a dreadful confession: after that talk the other day, mostly my own, about what-are-we-going-to-do-while-Kate-Davies-closes-the-shop-down-for-a-wee-while, I went and ordered the kit for Miss Rachel’s Yoke and Gauntlets. It reminds me of a VK pattern I knit for our Rachel long ago, when she was a young teen-ager. It was the pattern in the doing of which I suddenly discovered that I could do Fair Isle – drop-and-throw, as ever, with my right hand; continental picking with the left. I can’t do continental with my left hand by itself, only in conjunction with a different colour in the right hand.

That’s fine, as far as it goes, but I have far too many projects in the yarn cupboard already. Perhaps giving away all that stash was a mistake. Perhaps it kept me grounded.

Maybe I could restrain myself more effectivly if I wrote down a list of the projects I have acquired – remembering that my sister is soon to arrive with the discontinued madtosh DK for my husband’s (much-needed) long-sleeved v-neck sweater. And I must certainly resolve not to order yarn in the evening when such judgment as I retain is distorted by exhaustion.

As for actual knitting, I went on with the Neap Tide shawl. If my vague calculations are roughly right, it will be about the size the designer intended, and will use the same weight of wool. But it will involve vastly more knitting. In the straight centre section upon which I am now engaged, the designer (our own Mary Lou) asks for six pattern repeats. I will have knit 16. On many more stitches.

Literary criticism

Perdita often sits on the kitchen windowsill, looking at birds and making little chattering sounds while thrashing her tail. We think often of Gray’s wonderful poem, “her conscious tail her joy declared”. My husband and I saw the very vase in an exhibition in London not all that long ago.

But today I decided, and will continue to believe, that it wasn’t as bad as all that. Selima was a perfectly healthy cat. She climbed out of the vase, wet, furious and embarrassed as cats are when they have made fools of themselves. Gray made a better poem by providing a different ending.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Today Archie and Fergus are coming – Fergus to stay, at least overnight. He’s having an exeat from school, or something of the sort, and we are all going out to a rather wonderful-sounding Turkish cafe for lunch. I will have to do some scrambling, to have lunch to leave with the carer for my husband and also to make provision for the other three weekend meals. Archie is on the very verge of his A-Level exams and for him, life is real, life is earnest. He’ll go back to school after delivering Fergus and lunching.

The news on the local knitting front is that, at last, I re-engaged with the Sous Sous. I cast off the front shoulders and sewed them to the back shoulders, not without difficulty. There is a narrow ribbed edging to the very deep v-neck at the front. The instruction is to leave it on a safety pin on one side, and knit it onwards by itself on the other, until long enough to reach across the back neck.

I did that, and then grafted it to those stitches on the safety pin, being very careful not to twist. Then I tried to sew it to the back neck, and found that it was twisted.

That’s where I am now, or a bit beyond – I have un-grafted, and am ready to do it again. The important thing is that the Sous Sous is back in my hands, and I think the worst is over. I should be able to pick up stitches for at least one sleeve today.


That much, I wrote last night, expecting to post this morning. I didn't manage that, but I got everything else done and we had a fine lunch and my husband was well cared for. In the afternoon I started measuring down the Sous Sous for the sleeves.

I found myself wondering why the back was unfinished at the bottom edge, while the front had a nice little edging. After only a very little pondering of this problem, I found the answer: the back has been attached upside down. Its nice little edging is subsumed in the shoulder seams.

I am sure you can imagine my state of near-despair. All I have got to do is un-graft the neck edging (again), unpick its attachment to the back neck, and unpick the shoulder seams. It doesn’t sound too bad, put like that. But…

Friday, May 13, 2016

Yesterday we had our walk – perhaps two miles, along the Water of Lieth to Inverlieth Park, back through Stockbridge. I would have said about two miles, my friend thinks less. It was a good stretch, for me.

I think you may be right, Chloe and others, that what I want is a wrist pedometer. If there were some measure for this new weakness – lung capacity? oxygen saturation? – it would be nice to monitor that, but I doubt if it can be done. Sleep patterns and heart rates seem to me fairly useless. I’ll keep working on it.

I came home tired, as I would have felt after eight or ten miles only a few years ago. So tired that I didn’t knit at all. There was the Neap Tide shawl, ready to be picked up and progressed with. But I had promised sterner things for myself and was paralysed into total inactivity.

I spent some more time with Jared’s Wool People 10. There are some thoroughly good things there, although nothing that quite makes me want to fling down the needles and order the yarn and start on it right away.

Much more exciting is the news from Kate Davies that it’s All Systems Go for the hap book. I had somehow got the idea that it wouldn’t be out until the second half of the year, but it’s going to the printers next week and to US in early June. Once it's at the printers, pre-ordering will start, and she’s going to suspend other activities in her shop from then – someone has already commented with the problem that sprang to my mind: what if I want to cast on a hap right away with some Buachaille yarn – but I can’t order the yarn until I’ve seen the haps?

Patience, is the only possible answer.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Little to report. The day slid away from us yesterday, and the walk didn’t happen. We’re about to try again today. Alexander came over from Glasgow and cut his father’s hair with very successful results.

Thank you for your help with fitness bracelets. I’m afraid I’m a bit startled at the prices – me, who would happily spend that much on knitting I may well never get around to. I need to think this thing through: what do I want of a bracelet, other than step-counting? I don’t have a smart phone. I will talk to my sister about it – she’ll be here soon, and she’s keen on fitness.

As for actual knitting, I carried out the steps of my new Plan as outlined yesterday. Now comes the challenge of actually laying the Neap Tide shawl aside and joining those shoulders on the Sous Sous, and picking up stitches for the sleeves. Once when my mother was moving house, and overwhelmed with to-do’s, a neighbour advised her to start with the job that bugged her the most. Very good advice.

The only news I know on the knitting front is that Wool People 10 is out. That’s a Ravelry link – I can’t get through to the actual Look Book this morning. I saw it last night: photography wonderful, as usual; patterns deserving of more study.

I’ve knit at least one pattern of Jared’s, but have never used one of his yarns. That’s e344444ioooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo78yi90i     -- intervention by Perdita; what is the matter with that cat? That’s one for the bucket list, I was about to say. Along with Buachaille – I’m hoping there’ll be something for that in the hap book.                                                                                 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

So Bernie won another primary –in West Virginia where Hillary beat Barack handily in 2008. And the polls are showing Hillary and Donald alarmingly close in key states, whereas up until now we had been told that she’d beat him easily in the general election.

I’m glad to be watching this one from a distance.


The Neap Tide shawl is now very near the end of the first skein, and measures 87cm if I tug it a bit. I think I’ll count on blocking to get me the rest of the way to a metre, rather than ordering more yarn. I’ll knit to the end of the skein, mark the end of the last complete pattern repeat as the half-way point, wind the second skein (because that’s a lengthy and slightly tedious procedure) and then return to other projects for a while. A plan.

Susan Crawford has promised us fortnightly updates on the much-delayed progress of the Vintage Shetland Project, and yesterday I got the first of them. It centred on Elizabeth Henry, the first, apparently, to transcribe Shetland lace patterns. Crawford has tracked her down, with much difficulty, and found her archives.

And meanwhile Kate Davies thinks she has identified “Mrs Hunter of Unst”. It will be a great year for the unsung heroines of Shetland lace, when both books are published.

Crawford’s update sent me back to Rae Compton’s “Complete Book of Traditional Knitting”. I hadn’t looked at it for a long time. It’s a thoroughly good book. She includes a brisk biography of Mrs Henry, and that’s what started Crawford off on her search. 

I especially like – have always liked – the picture on page 121 of “a grey-green modern Shetland sweater, designed, knitted and worn by Mrs Annabel Bray of Sandwick, Shetland”.  It’s a superb sweater, masterfully knit – photographed from the neck down.


Today I’m going for a proper walk along the Water of Leith. It’s another good one, weather-wise. Southern Gal, I like the idea of a fitness bracelet. Does anybody have any recommendations? I used to wear a pedometer sometimes and, unlike you, was always disappointed at the score when all I had done was be active (as I thought) around the house.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I laughed aloud when I saw your comment, Mary Lou: nothing such fun as a shared reference. And I was horrified by yours, Beth, saying that the scene (Marshall McLuhan in “Annie Hall”) is often cut for TV. Too high-brow, do you think?

All I meant about garter stitch is that it somehow shows up all the irregularities in one’s knitting, much more so than st st, and makes it so difficult to correct a mistake even three or four rows down. And, yes, I’ve got one of those two-headed crochet hooks and I still can’t do it neatly.

All continues well with the Neap Tide shawl. Very soon now I shall finish the first skein and be able to decide how to proceed – another skein? Or declare the point I have reached, half-way?

Our television problem seems to be solved, or to have solved itself.  And the friend who has been assisting us throughout, came and sat with my husband at the end of the afternoon yesterday so that I could do two more circuits of Drummond Place Gardens. Theoretically, I am sure, shopping counts as walking. And I’m on my feet a lot here in the house. But I feel that a regime might be more helpful. Today I've already done three circuits. And, yes, Beth, you can still speak of “doing the messages” in Edinburgh.

Sharon Miller is about to publish another pattern, called the Jewel Long Shawl. That’s exciting news. There is talk on the Heirloom Knitting Group of an informal KAL. I’m tempted. But what I don’t need is another project. Absolutely not.


A notable feature of Hellie and Matt’s wonderful wedding last September, was the Chicken Shop Hot Sauce provided on every table. I assumed at the time that once I got home, I could order some on the internet. Not so. You have to go to the Chicken Shop – a London chain of about half-a-dozen places, very well worth a visit.

Alexander has tried to reconstruct the recipe from the ingredients on the bottle:

100 grams red Habaneros, chopped
2 white onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoon sugar
Soften the onions for a minute or two, then add everything else. Cook over a gentle heat with the lid on for 10 minutes or so until it all becomes soft. Put it all in a blender. Add vinegar and sugar and blend.

The interesting thing is how much difference can be made by gentle tweaks to this simple-sounding formula. I now use a tin of good Italian tomatoes. I’m having trouble getting fresh habaneros. Last time, I used 20 grams of dried and wound up with a sauce which could easily double as a paint-stripper. I think the recipe probably needs more vinegar – it is the first ingredient listed on the Chicken Shop label.

There are whole websites devoted to chilli sauce recipes. I am surprised that no one – until now – has tried to re-create this one.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Tamar, I will never doubt you again. This, this morning, from Kate Davies herself:

I noticed this morning there had been some discussion about the identity of the various bits of Mrs Hunters knitting at the KCG on your blog. The guild has several pieces which are identified as being knitted by Mrs Hunter - one is the tree of life hap which you knitted, and another has an old shell / feather and fan border.  Its this second hap that has the sacrilegiously stapled label - which is of course part of its history as it suggests how these textiles' Shetland 'authenticity' clearly carried value for Patons' and their customers.  Both these haps are identified as being knitted by "Mrs Hunter" and were acquired by Norbury around the same time, and there are a few more as well - which were similarly used by him as the basis of his baby shawl patterns. 

I obviously didn't make it at all clear on the blog post that I was looking at several haps - effectively a whole Mrs Hunter collection! All these pieces are beautifully knitted and are to my eye the obvious work of an Unst knitter of considerable skill and experience.”

So that's that!


Marilyn, you’re right! A daily walk! The circuit of Drummond Place Gardens is about ¼ mile. (Why do I think I know that?) I did two circuits yesterday, and will try to keep it up. Devoted readers will remember that I used to do four before breakfast, at a very fast walk/slow jog. No longer.

However, probably not today. A Television Man is coming at some point between 12 and 4 – and I had to use the hour after the carer arrived at 11 for some essential local shopping. Many days are like this one.

I also did some doorstep gardening yesterday – got my beans in.

We have pretty well decided that our television crisis is Richard Branson’s fault (= a defect somewhere in our Virgin cable system). Our kind and energetic friend battled through the system yesterday and actually spoke to an actual human being on a telephone, and booked the engineer mentioned above.

My sister has posted some engaging pictures on Facebook of her new apartment in DC. After what must be about 30 years in CT, she and her husband have returned to DC and moved into a retirement community. I envy her, for having gotten rid of all the stuff. It has been a tough, uphill job, I know, but now it’s done and there they are in their nice apartment with nice rugs and nice pictures on the walls. Who needs stuff, in these days of iPads? Except, of course, for one’s stash.

Knitting, again

Not much knitting has been done of late, but I continue very pleased with the Neap Tide shawl:

 Garter stitch is notoriously difficult, and I am a notoriously clumsy knitter, but the overall effect is good, I think, and blocking will improve the few glitches, at least somewhat. Old Maiden Aunt’s beautiful yarn (50-50 merino and silk) is rather gently twisted. Split stitches are a danger – the one mistake that can’t be fudged, according to EZ.

At present I have done about 72cm, and I think you will agree that it needs the full metre if one is to be able to flip it with insouciance about the shoulders. The moral is, when substituting yarns, to pay a lot of attention to the ratio between weight and yardage, as given on every ball band.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

A good day, yesterday.

I went walking in the Botanic Gardens with a dear friend, and we saw some British Art into the bargain. I held up fine, less than an hour, but was appalled at how weak I am. A year ago, before the pulmonary embolisms, I could go on a five mile walk – and, yes, I know, that’s nothing – without difficulty. Could I do it now? Will I get any stronger, or just continue declining?

No use worrying, especially in May.  The Gardens were grand, the Art somewhat less so.

I knit on, but not very much got done because we had a television crisis which occupied much of the late afternoon. The same friend came to help, bringing a set of her own to lend us but she couldn’t make that one work, either. We remain uncertain about whether the fault lies with the actual set, or with the cable company; although the afternoon’s events seem to throw the blame towards the latter.

I am about 66cm along with the Neap Tide shawl – a metre being needed --  and I am beginning to worry, just a bit, about whether I will have enough yarn in the first skein to reach a satisfactory half-way point. I’ve now got far more stitches than the pattern specifies (I’ve stopped counting), in order to reach a satisfactory width. Which I think I’ve done.

I’m terribly pleased with the way it’s looking, and draping; I must make it long enough to do it justice. Old Maiden Aunt lists the yarn on her website. I could buy a third skein. Best to keep on knitting as fast as I can and see how far I get. The whole experience is a valuable lesson in the mysterious matter of gauge. We need a photograph. Tomorrow, I hope.

Kate Davies’ Hap Book

Not only does she keep us on the edges of our seats in eager anticipation, but she says nothing about “pre-ordering”. She’ll publish the book, and then sell it to us.

Tamar, I am in awe of you, always grateful for your comments and impressed beyond measure by the width of your knowledge. But this time I think you are mistaken, in saying that the photograph which identifies Miss Hunter in Kate Davies’ blog entry, is of a different shawl to the others.

 I assume the photographs are all ones KD took at the museum of the Knitting and Crochet Guild. I think they all show the same shawl, the prototype of Patons’ leaflet 893 which is the same as one of the two shawls in leaflet 1085. The photograph which shows the label is of a corner, and does indeed look a bit different for that reason, as the lace patterns decrease into the mitre. But I think it’s the same shawl. I have the leaflets here on the table as I write – the corner is clearer in 1085 – and I think it’s right. 

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Incomplete, but better than nothing…

Oh, skeindalous, yes, I’ve seen Kate Davies’ latest teaser about her Haps Book. So exciting! As she says there, she put out an appeal a couple of months ago, for anyone who had knit that pattern: the Patons shawl from the 50’s, attributed to a Mrs Hunter of Unst. I answered, among many others, and I think I will be mentioned in the book!

It’s the shawl I knit for Rachel, at that point unborn, in the early weeks of 1958. As KD says in the blog entry linked to above, it is knit in six separate parts and sewn together. And I did it that way, not knowing any better. And now KD has found the prototype in the collection of the Knitting and Crochet Guild – the very shawl that James Norbury carried away from Unst; presumably the one photographed for the pattern leaflet.

And we must contain our impatience until the book is published, for she is going to tell us how it was actually knit (not in six pieces) – and who Mrs Hunter of Unst was.

It will be interesting, once both are published, to compare KD’s book to the Vintage Shetland Project, not for the patterns but for the research into the history of Shetland knitting. 

Friday, May 06, 2016

I’m pleased about the results in the Scottish election. When it comes to Nicola Sturgeon, I am rather like a 1930’s Republican, fulminating against That Man in the White House. And yesterday she didn’t have it quite all her own way.

And speaking of politics, one thing Mr Trump has achieved is to knock the “woman card” out of Hillary’s hand. Hillary-the-doting-grandmother, Hillary-the-smasher-of-glass-ceilings, doesn’t stand a chance. She can only win in the role of Hillary-the-competent-president, and quite right too.


I spent a bit of time yesterday looking up the websites of the independent dyers profiled in the current issue of “Knitting”. Some wonderful yarn. Some websites were better than others. Today I hope to move on to interchangeable needles.

I’m sure I bought some yarn from Shilasdair many years ago, pre-internet, and it was a crashing disappointment. Dullsville. Something must have happened there over the last quarter of a century – the yarns are now luxurious and the colours vibrant. They were at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival but I didn’t even look, remembering that old disappointment. Next time, I will.

The Neap Tide shawl is now about 60cm long – we’re aiming for a metre, at the half-way point, but blocking can be counted on for at least 10cm of that. There are still 38 grams left in the ball. So I must knit on until the ball is nearly finished, or the measurement is 85cm or so, and then declare that Half Way.

I pressed ahead yesterday with my idea of re-reading Walling’s “Counting Sheep”. There is a fascinating account, early on, of the seaweed-eating sheep on North Ronaldsay. “Some attempt has been made to sell [the meat] as a gastronomic delicacy…If this were France the meat would be given an appellation controlee and sold as a gourmet product.”

As it happens, I had been exploring the possibility of ordering some North Ronaldsay mutton for my new slow cooker, only the other day. No dice, but I learned during my search that NR mutton has applied for official protected name status. Did Walling give them the idea?

Thursday, May 05, 2016

I am very grateful for all your comments about interchangeable needles, which I will pursue with care and report on soon. Maybe I don’t need those smaller sizes after all. I’m with you, Melfina, in being hard on sock needles, although in my case it’s sets of four or five. I can’t stand the magic loop, probably because I haven’t given it enough of a chance.

The big domestic news is that Rachel phoned yesterday. She is going to take two days off work at the end of the month and come all the way up here to be in charge of things so that I can go off to Strathardle when Greek Helen is here with her family, and stay overnight!

Poor Perdita is in heat again, and it had already occurred to us to send her up there with Helen (if she [Perdita] can hold the thought that long). It’s our only real hope of kittens, since we can’t let her out here, straight onto a busy-ish road. I’ve tried both the vet and the Cats Protection League for help with this problem, in vain. I don’t know of any Kirkmichael toms, but a queen in heat has her ways of calling to them.


Here’s the link (I hope) to the Knitter’s Review article about British yarn – KD’s Buachaille, Rachel Atkinson (“Daughter of a Shepherd”) and Ysolda Teague.

I think this thing about farmers burning yarn because it costs them more to shear the sheep than they can get by selling it, is a bit misleading, although perfectly true. It is not that the knitters of Britain are letting the farmers down; it is that the wool is so coarse that it is fit for nothing except carpets, and carpets have (a) gone all acrylic and (b) relocated to Belgium and the Netherlands anyway.

I would recommend an excellent book called “Counting Sheep” by Philip Walling, 2014. Indeed, I think I should start reading it again myself. I want to understand the “remarkably sophisticated stratified national meat-producing system, based on double cross-breeding, which has come to be called the sheep pyramid.” Is that what goes on in Strathardle? I thought those idle Scottish Blackface just had their lambs every spring, and some got kept to refresh the flock, and the rest turned into lamp chops. Double cross-breeding?

The interesting turning-point, in the history of British sheep, Walling says, was during the Industrial Revolution, as the great cities of England were forming, when farsighted sheepmen, in particular Robert Bakewell, saw that wool – the foundation of England’s wealth for centuries – was, in future, going to be of rather less importance than mutton, and began to breed sheep with that aim in mind. He even encouraged incest among them, to reinforce desirable characteristics, to the horror of the pious.

The author is a barrister turned sheep-farmer. He writes with a pleasant facility. Alas, he is no knitter, and there is not as much as we would like about, for instance, Shetland sheep. All is forgiven for the news that a Bluefaced Leicester “should have a head like a solicitor” – with a photograph which perfectly illustrates the point. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Progress on the Neap Shawl feels slower now that there are so many stitches; in fact, it is moving forward nicely. I’ll stop increasing at the end of the present pattern repeat, and put in one of those stitch markers like a little plastic safety pin – normally a nuisance, but just what’s wanted here to mark the beginning of the long straight centre section. The kitchen scales assure me that there are still 57 grams in the ball -- and it's only required to get halfway across.

“Knitting” magazine turned up yesterday – I think I’ve had every issue since the beginning, although I haven’t added them to my over-extensive archives. I’ve never been tempted to knit anything I’ve seen there – is it the relatively unsophisticated photography? or the actual designs? I suspect the latter.

I was interested, however, in the pattern called “Arela”. The magazine says: “It’s two garments in one: a back-opening jumper and an elegant cardigan.” In Ohio in the 1950’s we often wore cardigans backwards. When I got to Glasgow in ’54 the notion was thought so very peculiar that I quickly abandoned it. What goes around, comes around.

But the major interest in the new issue lies elsewhere, in an article about independent dyers – much like Ginger Twist, where I recently spent a lot of money, although she isn’t included in the article. I had never thought of the basic idea of the article, that when one is laboriously constructing something, for weeks or months, it is particularly satisfying to be working with materials which are themselves unique and hand-crafted.

I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that, although it is a very interesting idea. Kate Davies’ Buachaille yarn isn’t hand-dyed (is it?), but when I finally knit something from it, I don’t think that will be a drawback.

The other idea which percolates through the current issue of “Knitting” is that of interchangeable needles (again). And, again, the drawback for me is that they don’t seem to come in the smaller sizes which is what I mostly knit with. Jeanette Sloan in “Ask Jeanette” distinctly implies that you can get them down to 2.75mm, although all the information I have so far clicked on, starts at 3.5mm or so.  Jeanette used to run an excellent LYS overlooking the Meadows: I can’t count her quite as a friend, but surely an acquaintance, and always read her article.

But this issue is full of food for thought – and things to explore on-line.

I got the latest Knitter’s Review in my email in-tray this morning – an interesting article about British yarns, prompting enough thoughts that I’ll leave it until tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

I wrote something last night, but it has vanished. Start again.

We lived in Leicester for a while – four happy years at the end of the ‘60’s, before moving on to Birmingham. My husband founded the Art History dep’t at the university there. We have no interest in football, but enough in Leicester that we rejoice this morning in their success.

I continue happily with the Neap Tide shawl. I have nearly achieved the desired width – length is still a long way short of target. If I had been paying attention to gauge from the beginning, I could have achieved a gentle curve and a relatively short centre section (knit straight) as the designer intended – but I didn’t. The centre section will have to be fairly long. Never mind; I’m going to love it anyway.

The colour might be described as “olive drab” and, together with the style of the shawl, suggests a BBC costume director’s idea for a Sunday night serial of Tess of the D’Ubervilles.  But then you see the other colours, and the shine of the silk. Very subtle, very satisfactory.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Again, little news, (and less thought) -- but that little, good.

My sister has fixed a date and booked a ticket for coming to see us at the end of June. Very good news.

I went happily on with the Neap Tide shawl. Soon I’ll have to fit it into the programme. I did some weighing and measuring and extrapolating this morning. I weighed the ball while I had the scales out for my husband’s porridge – there are still more than 70 grams there, out of 100. The width is getting on nicely. The length is still distinctly short of the metre which will be wanted at the halfway point.

But all I’ve got to do is keep adding increase-repeats of the pattern until I am satisfied with the width, and then knit straight, Centre Section-type repeats until I’ve got half the length. Keeping track a bit, so that the return half can be harmonious. 

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Oh, dear – here is May, most beloved of months. And there’s no way to slow it down.

Not much today, but all good:

Knitting continues well – starting the Neap Tide shawl was the right thing for me to do. I did a bit more measuring and extrapolating yesterday, and decided that the extra stitches I have added are not nearly enough to get near the desired width, even allowing for blocking. So I am progressing through the Second Increase Section, as through the First, increasing one stitch on every right-side row. It makes for easier knitting, too; less thinking.

The current skein – there are two – looks as if it will last forever. I will re-group (=recalculate) towards the end of this section.

I wonder if this is the yarn I knit the Fantoosh in. The label doesn’t give it a name, just the fibre content and “4-ply”. The colour is called Crazy Ivan.