Thursday, January 24, 2019

Today is Greek Helen’s 56th birthday, and she is feeling rather elderly. We all (= me, Helen, Archie, Archie’s brother Fergus) went out to a newish French-ish restaurant nearby, where we ate rather splendidly. It is called Le Roi Fou, which I find difficult to pronounce. 

This is something that has changed since I was young – or else is a transatlantic difference: that one can go to a superb restaurant, at least at lunch time, without having to worry too much about one’s clothes or table manners. Or perhaps it’s just that one acquires a certain self-confidence with one’s years.

Kirsten, thank you for the link to the Penguin Reading Challenge (comment yesterday). I’ve signed up, and from the first suggestions offered, I think I’ll go for Virginia Wolff. I’ve had a Shirley Jackson session fairly recently – but I’m not at all sure that I’ve ever re-read The Lottery since I first read it in the New Yorker. I remember, I think, sitting in the car in the Main Street of Allenhurst, NJ, waiting for my mother, reading it and scarcely believing my eyes. Maybe I'd better attempt that again, as well.

I did well yesterday evening, listening to the VK podcast and knitting in the kitchen. I’ve now done the second increase row in the Stronachlachar, and am making good progress with the second set of nine rows. No more tonight, though. Fine dining has left me very tired. For those unfamiliar with the pattern, unobtrusive increases begin at the underarm point, to form cap sleeves.

Ron, thank you for your comment. Stephen West’s “I’ll be right back” & “I left the front door open” are indeed very useful for remembering how to do M1r and M1l respectively. The very best tip I ever took on board, however, came from Margaret Stove’s own lips, and is the fact that the stitch the needle enters first winds up on top, in any decrease. I’ve said it here before, but it bears repeating.


  1. I've been grateful on lots of occasions for those Stephen West and Margaret Stove tips, both of which I learned from your blog! Ziggurat sweater knitting involves many a M1R and M1L.
    I'm currently having a bit of a Sebastian Barry fest. Reading his novels is like listening to music. Wonderful language. If you haven't read him, I'd certainly recommend the one I started with, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty.

    1. Our Book Club chose 'End of All Days' - stupendous. I hadn't read anything by him ever before.

    2. Days Without End?

  2. 'Stitch the needle enters first ...' is so useful - and easy to remember, being so simple.
    Our local news tonight reported on Her Majesty's annual visit to the Sandringham WI. The speaker was Alexander Armstrong, and the word is that she likes to watch his tea time programme. We are in the best of company!

  3. I think of you often when I am doing a double decrease at bottom of the "V" of a v-necked sweater. I always say, "Now Jean says this stitch is going to end up on top." And invariably it does.

  4. I'm trying to be a bit more sophisticated with my next jumper, having only just finished a Tin Can Flax (easy-peasy-beginner-jumper) which I started back in April 2017. I had to re-do the neck, and do the hem THREE times before I got them right(ish). I have fallen in love with the purlsoho foxglove vest... such a serene shape. Short rows and all sorts - it looks as though the decreases Really Matter. (Kitchener stitch holds few fears as I have done it before, when I used to knit Lopi in-the-round).

    I'm going to read Mrs Gaskell's 'Cousin Phyllis' - a novella - based on reading the review in Goodreads. I'd forgotten that she wrote 'Cranford', which I have always enjoyed.

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  6. I do love all the information I get on here - I've never even heard of Sebastian Barry, will be checking the library.