Friday, March 23, 2018

Again, there is little to report.

I got up to the top of Broughton Street, to John Lewis, to buy a new iron. Old Faithful had recently started blowing a house fuse, immediately, whenever and wherever it was plugged in. That’s why those two scarves haven’t been signed off as FO’s yet. But now I’ve got a new one.

I’ve done a bit more knitting. I have now passed the halfway point in the first broad OXO band. While in John Lewis, I went to haberdashery and tried to buy some coil-less pins, which is what Meg recommends for marking stitches, but they had never heard of such a thing.

I’m very glad I knit that swatch-scarf and that the pattern is therefore familiar. I'll try a pic when I finish the current OXO. I was uneasy about the techknitter's starting rows at first, but they're improving as the needle gets farther away from them. Blocking will help, and radical surgery is not impossible.

I have had an email from Rachel to say that her son Joe says that the Calcutta Cup has left Twickenham, headed for Edinburgh. Joe works there, reporting for and maintaining a website devoted to amateur, community rugby. A dream job. I think our trouble yesterday, searching the web, was that ten years (the length of time since the Cup was last here) is beyond forever to a computer.

Now all I have to do is book my Murrayfield tour. After Easter.

Tamar, the trouble with asking the kitchen fitters to postpone things for a bit, is that they might stay away for too long. It’s a kitchen-fitting time of year, and they’ve got plenty of work. I rang up this morning and explained the position and have been assured that plumber and electrician will follow the work surfaces in next Thursday and toil industriously until all is ready. We shall see. I can’t stand this much longer – I have almost forgotten what it feels like to cook.

KD has posted an interesting (aren’t they all?) essay about the Electric Village after which this week’s West Highland Way pattern is named. Interesting, in particular, to me, because it concerns the smelting (if that’s the word) of aluminium. I’ll spell it the British way, although I have long believed that the man who devised a feasible and relatively cheap way of extracting it from (I believe) bauxite was an American, Charles Martin Hall, an Oberlin man. He did it in his back garden in an old bathtub, and became very rich, and was a major benefactor of Oberlin College which thus became a place of some distinction.

The dates fit, late 19th century. But the amount of energy the British needed for the operation seems disproportionate.


  1. They seem to be known as bulb safety pins over here. Meadow Yarn do a useful set:

  2. Anonymous8:29 PM

    Hi Jean,
    Amazon sell the Hiya hiya set of rainbow coiless safety pins, which are a lot of fun! You can also get plain ones from Merchant and Mills, and a box from them probably works out a lot cheaper!
    I use them a lot ~ I am a compulsive row counter so pop one in every twenty rows to save counting the same rows again and again!
    Lynne Litchfield

  3. Another source for the coil-less pins might be Kathy's Knits. Or a shop that sells fabric or quilting supplies. Good luck, I find them very useful.

  4. Thank you, Jean! I was born and raised in Oberlin, and your summary of Charles Martin Hall’s achievement was accurate and concise. Before he discovered the process of bauxite extraction, aluminum was rare and expensive — one story has it that Napoleon’s set of aluminum flatware was more precious than gold or platinum. I think of Charles Martin Hall every time I peel off a piece of aluminum foil — and I was amused that, for awhile in the 1970s, the back end of his historic house (since restored) was clad in aluminum sidling. More here:

  5. IT does sound like the kitchen is on schedule. You would hate to interrupt that. Perhaps you can leave and a neighbor or your daughter could let them in?
    Glad to hear that the cup is heading your way!