Sunday, November 29, 2020


Another nice day, in a Novembrine sort of way, heavy with mist. C. came, and we got around the garden. Andrew Marr advanced the Evendoon sleeve a bit – it is certainly a nuisance, spinning the whole thing around on my lap, and the second sleeve will be worse. And I’ve got to polish this off and knuckle down to baby-knitting. On the other hand, I am appreciating the fact that a sleeve is of much smaller circumference than a body.


Fruity Knitting has put up a question-and-answer session with Marie Wallin. Maybe I can advance that sleeve a bit more this evening. I don’t think I’ve ever knit one of her designs, but I think I’ve got a Fair-Isle-yoke kit of hers in stash.


Another thing I’ve got to do is finish off that shawl (see sidebar) and block it, possibly to give to somebody for Christmas – who would want it? -- but certainly so that it can be ranked with the FO’s of 2020.




Janet, thank you for the news that there is a blog post from the Harlot at last. And she means to post more often.


Mary Lou, I keenly look forward to your opinion of “Scoop” – and of Lord Copper.


Jenny, alas, no, I don’t think I’m strong enough to go to Italy again. And it’s sort of nice to think of never again experiencing an airport. Archie keeps pressing for Syracuse (since we’ve “done” Palermo and Catania). Who knows – I may be suddenly revitalised. I mean to do a “dry” January again. That might help. If I could only hire the Royal Yacht, and fill it with congenial souls and a brilliant chef, and sail from Leith to the Mediterranean, it would be a different matter.




I fear I may be heading for trouble here. Helen, like everybody else in the world, has been watching Queen’s Gambit on YouTube, and loving it. I’ll have to try. Helen is a devout feminist, and was slightly surprised when I told her that women don’t play chess in the same league as men. (I’d be happy to be corrected on that, but I heard the British Women’s Chess Champion on the radio just the other day, and I think that means that I’m right, at least in GB.)


Why is that? Obviously, physical strength doesn’t come in to it. Thirty or forty years ago, I might have been told that girls were brought up not to expect to be good at chess. I would have been dubious, even then. But now, when women do brain surgery and pilot jumbo jets -- and play college football with the boys, I learned today -- why not top-rank chess? Could there be something different about the male brain, after all? It may be just as well: a distressing number of top-flight male chess players have had serious mental illness.


  1. My brother (older) taught me to play chess when I was eight. He taught it to me as a game, and I never read any of the books about strategy. I was very, very good into my twenties, at which point it was more important to work, take care of the house, etc. In other words, life intervened. Not reading the strategy books is one reason I was so good -- I never mastered planning ten moves ahead, and you cannot imagine how difficult it was for my (male) opponents to play me while they tried to figure out my ten-move plan, while I looked at the board after each move and acted accordingly. Once, in college, I let a math graduate student win because I didn't want to play and it was faster than beating him. He complimented my skill, as a girl! I never told him I let him win, and I never let anyone else win, either. I don't remember ever playing a girl, though.

  2. =Tamar10:15 PM

    I learned to play chess as a game around the age of seven or eight also. My niece learned on her fifth birthday. My family played it together, for fun. I used to try to look perhaps four or five moves ahead when I was on my game, with a view to what my opponent might be doing more than any plan of my own, but like Cam, I usually just played what was happening. As I recall, the high school chess club was mixed. If I had been the only girl, I think I would have noticed.
    Anyway, couldn't a woman play in the Women's Championship _and_ in a mixed-sex All-Comers Championship? One does not prevent the existence of the other.

  3. When I knit a top-down jumper, I rest the whole garment in a large bowl on my lap, then I only need to rotate the bowl. Much faster and less like wrestling a woolly octopus, especially on the second sleeve.

    1. I was just remembering this advice which I learned here a couple of years ago (I'm wearing that jumper now!

  4. I'm ready for the yacht trip, sign me up!

  5. Jenny Dukeshire1:10 PM

    Could you maybe use dpns for the sleeve instead of circular?

  6. My suggestion for the rotating issue - rotate the sleeve back the way you came rather than rotating the sweater. It is easier to do once it gets a little longer, and way easier than turning the sweater.