Sunday, October 30, 2016

I hate the darkness of the next two months – I’m always a little bit afraid that whoever is in charge up there will forget to throw the switch, and we’ll just go on getting darker and darker. I said this to my sister-in-law once, and she said, Are you still on about that? so I never mentioned it to her again, but that doesn’t stop me grumbling to you.

(Jan and Feb are just as dark, and colder, but one can sense the returning light soon after the solstice and I love those months.)

But I also love this 25-hour day. In the Good Old Days we used to be able to enjoy several in succession, sailing home from Southampton to New York.

We had a good birthday lunch with Archie yesterday, at l’Escargot Bleu on Broughton Street (very busy, I’m glad to report; excellent, as usual). He seems – he feels -- fine. He’s still sitting up half the night playing computer games with friends far from Lancaster. His father deplores paying as much in tuition as a term would cost at Eton, for so little actual tutor-contact. Archie says that there’ll be a lot more next year.

The news from the US is bizarre. I am reminded of our Cardinal O’Brien, on the point of leaving for Rome for the conclave which elected the present Pope, accused anonymously of unspecified crimes of a sexual nature. It brought him down. The precise offence and the names of the accusers remain unknown.


Not much, yesterday, but I’m getting back in the saddle with the half-brioche. I think you’re right, Commenters, that I should proceed to the Tannehill madtosh sweater for my husband, for various reasons. The downside is that the yarn is so similar to the Roast Hatch Chillis element in the half-brioche.

I knit him a successful madtosh sleeveless pullover last year, so I’ve got the numbers to cast on with, and can design from there, if design is the word.

The Kaffe Fassett socks are doing nicely, initial ribbing finished.

And here’s the Uncia. I’m terribly pleased with it, and hope I will post it to Ravelry, with a comment saying that this is not easy, not even moderately easy, but immensely gratifying. As you can see, I hope, I have pinned out the scallops at the end – which means that Perdita has to be excluded from the dining room again – but otherwise have just patted it into shape like a sweater. The dimensions match those specified -- indeed, are very slightly larger.


  1. Congratulations - Uncia looks good. I was wondering whether to go for it - it is the one that most attracted me, but after reading of your tribulations, I will leave it until I have got less on my mind.
    Don't apologise for having a moan about the darkness - we are here to absorb you disgruntlement.

  2. Beautiful! What an accomplishment! I bought some yarn for it in Iceland this autumn. I hope I have what it takes to knit it.

  3. Your Uncia is beautiful.

  4. Anonymous9:46 AM

    Jean, I am so glad that someone else feels the same about November and December. I am already struck by procrastination due to the darker mornings and like you, I am always more positive when January comes. Your shawl is beautiful and the colour reflects for me the good parts of Autumn. Glad you had a delicious lunch with Archie-it was so thoughtful of him to take you to lunch. Hope things are moving forward with your husband's care package. Catriona

  5. Anonymous11:23 AM

    Beautiful Uncia! What an accomplishment!

    I wonder if you know the phrase "rainbow child." It's the name given to a child born into a family that has already lost a child. We have one in our extended family, and you have two in yours, with Archie and little Ted. There is always something special about them, I think, for the special hope and joy that they bring when they arrive. Archie certainly seems to be a very special young man. Happy birthday to him!
    Carol in Long Island

  6. Anonymous11:24 AM

    Uncia is magnificent! Well done!

    I'm with everyone else - hate the darkness of this time of year. And love January. Not only is the light returning, but the cold sunshine is often so bright, and the sky such a lovely blue. So moan away.

    At least we have Chistmas. And in the US, Thanksgiving. Not sure how Canadians and Europeans muddle through without a November Thanksgiving.

    Beverly in NJ

  7. The Cardinal Keith business was a shock - my grandaughter was chosen to draw his birthday card when she was at St Mary's school and the children there loved him. Unfortunately his entry in Wickipedia details plenty of well sourced information confirming what was going on and the hypocrisy used in the attempts to cover this up.

  8. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Congratulations on completing the Uncla. That was so difficult and the result is lovely.

    Our 25 hour day is next Saturday in North America.
    I'll be packing up for a trip to China. I hope I can find a working VPN so I can keep up on your blog while away.

    The weather this year is definitely odd. +19 degrees in Toronto on 29 Oct. The forecast is for warmer weather in the coming week as well. No snow on Halloween is good news though - that is always tough for the kids trying to trick or treat in winter coats.

    Canada is usually quite good at extra holidays.
    I guess schools, government, banks etc close for 11 Nov as Remembrance Day. Most offices do not close.
    Otherwise I think June is the only month without a holiday.

    Very glad the lunch with Archie went well!


  9. Beautiful Uncia! I wish I could hold it and examine it. I always want to do the same when I see the fine shawls at my LYS.
    I'm sorry you feel dread in regard to dark days ahead. I wish you could have our Colorado blue sky/sunshine. We turn the clocks next weekend and I'm looking forward to it. Growing up in Washington state where soggy grey days prevail I fully appreciate Denver.
    Knit on! As I recall your husband-sweater producing is speedy!
    Thank you for your kind response on Rav, Jean.

  10. Happy birthday to Archie. My daughter is doing her BA on line. It is the way of the world.
    I think of the dark months as a time to snuggle in and knit more.

  11. The Uncia is gorgeous, Jean. I was wondering how you would compare knitting it to knitting the Princess shawl in terms of difficulty.

    Archie has turned into such a fine young man. I think back to several years ago when sending him to school in Edinburgh was being considered, and how he had been floundering in Greece. Just look at how brilliantly things have turned out!

    As for events in the US, bizarre is a very good word.

  12. Anonymous3:37 PM

    darkness of this time of year has big impact on many of us. Okay to moan about it.

  13. I agree about the darkness.

  14. I agree about the darkness.

  15. Congratulations on completing Uncia - it's beautiful. I started it, and knit to where the charts start in one sitting, then cast it aside after three failed attempts at chart A. I'll get back to it eventually. I certainly haven't found it to be easy.

  16. Anonymous12:05 AM

    I visited York University last week with my daughter who is considering applying there as well as to Lancaster which we will visit on Wednesday. The tuition fees are £9000 per year with an additional £6000 per year for accommodation. My impression was that the first year is all to do with 'norming and forming' before starting the serious work in year 2. York has 192 student societies, one of which is the Knitting Society. I find that very pleasing.

  17. Uncia looks good. I thought I might block mine more aggressively, to open up some of the lace and straighten the edges. Lucy hague speaks of inserting blocking wires down the YOs at the edges. We'll see.

  18. Your Uncia looks beautiful. That will be the next one from the Hap book after I finish Hapisk - lovely yarn from Helene Magnusson and a nice simple shape so far.

  19. Oh! Your Uncia is magnificent and well worth all the effort!
    I do well enough with the shorter days in Nov and Dec as long as there is a bit of sun. Long periods of cloudy/rainy weather definitely have a negative impact on my mood. It may also have something to do with my 'must-knit' list for Christmas presents. Somehow I almost always get them done, but each year it seems as though I won't. And that (self-imposed, I know) list is getting in the way of my own Uncia. Maybe as a post-Christmas gift to myself in January?