Saturday, December 14, 2019

A good day, I think. I’m very tired. We had a splendid lunch in a restaurant which I had expected to be quiet enough for conversation. Ten days before Christmas, alas, it wasn’t. But the food was good.

“Enjoy Fair Isle Knitting” arrived today – they don’t hang around, up there in Lerwick. I would recommend it highly. It’s very Japanese, with a meticulous attention to detail and text which is occasionally and delightfully not-quite-perfect English. The patterns are interesting, especially her use of colour. Her tutor told her, “Chihiro, I taught you not to use close colours in one work”. But she does, to great effect. There are several wintry combinations of whites and off-whites and pale blue; and a glorious confection of reds called “Open Minded” at the end of the book.

She says, “Whenever I see a beautiful scene I mumble the colour shade numbers spontaneously”. I think Felix Ford, with whom I did an EYF class in ’18, operated like that.

There are plenty of careful schematics, but no need to fear the Japanese system of notation. I mean, it’s not there. I have dabbled in it a bit, and it’s certainly a wonderful way of expressing knitting instructions, but it’s not entirely easy.

I’ve knit a few more stitches on the Dathan hap. The stitch count is somewhere in the 500-teens. The target, I think, is 597. A long way to go. A row is virtually an evening’s work. KD’s book for last winter’s club has arrived, including the Dathan pattern. That’s a convenience. Also her book about creativity, of less interest to me. I don’t create. I follow patterns. I wish she were doing a club this winter.

Shandy, no (comment yesterday), I don’t vote. I had an American friend who just filled out the form saying that she lived where she lived, and went ahead and voted, but I think that’s cheating. Greek Helen and Archie voted Green. Mungo, I am ashamed to say, didn’t vote – I think because he is physically here but registered in Oxford. They report that their cousin Alistair is furious at his father James, in London, for voting Conservative.

Americans seem to speak of being a Democrat or a Republican with as much permanence and fervour as if they were talking about religion in Ireland. Things are more fluid here, certainly this time.

Anyway, Shandy and Chloe, I can’t make any statement about my behaviour with any certainty, since the Spring Shawl isn’t where I thought it was and therefore I can’t trust my memory. But I don’t think I would have taken any knitting on a day-trip to Kirkmichael; and if I had, it would have been socks, always my choice for travel-knitting. But thank you for the thought, which is a good one.


  1. My parents would never tell us how they voted. My mother always said that was a right of privacy all Americans were entitled to. As I got older it became quite clear how they voted, and where their hearts lay. I suppose they didn't want little kids blabbing things around the neighborhood. (They were FDR Democrats.)

  2. My parents always voted opposite each other. They joked about how they cancelled each other out at the polls.

  3. Anonymous12:23 PM

    Oh, it was for only one day. I agree, Jean. You probably wouldn't have taken it. There goes that hope. Will have to investigate the Japanese book. Playing with color is my favorite part of knitting. Chloe

  4. =Tamar3:57 PM

    The Spring Shawl was last mentioned Oct 8, in the comments by Maureen of Fargo, who had come to visit and saw it. After that it's all the pocket square, the Calcutta Cup scarf, and the Dathan Hap. There was a lot of digging through the stash cupboard; could the Spring Shawl have wound up in there?

  5. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Spring Shawl: Down the back of the chest it was left upon?

    1. No, alas — that avenue has been thoroughly explored.