Sunday, January 10, 2021


Another satisfactory day. I’ve reached round 23 (of 50) on Gudrun’s hap’s borders. The lace, hardly worthy of the name, is Old Shale, and I am finding it so easy as to be difficult. I have had to unpick a whole edge twice now, when I got to the end and found that there weren’t enough stitches left to do what had to be done -- meaning that something was seriously wrong elsewhere in the row.


One great advantage of knitting a shawl centre-out is that the border increases can be done with yo, k1, yo at each corner on alternate rounds. I don’t know what the legal definition of faggoting is, but it’s an effect I’m very fond of, and this is close enough. Whereas if you’re knitting from the edging inwards, there’s no possibility for the corners except k2tog, k1, ssk.


C. came. The weather is a bit easier today, and we got around the garden in good order. Ice has turned to mud. There was a scary split second when she slipped and nearly fell. I was fine. 2543 steps so far today – another good one. The secret is, on garden-walk days, to get the count up to 2000 before lunch by walking around the house. Hobbling about will account for the rest.


Hugh F-W’s book is here. I don’t think I am going to learn much. He is against artificially-sweetened drinks like the sugar-free bitter lemon I rely on when deprived of cider. The sweeteners are bad for the microbiome, he thinks. For drinking, Hugh would restrict us to water, and unsweetened tea and sugar. I haven’t looked at the recipes yet.


Nor have I hit upon a book to read. I remain grateful for your suggestions. I fear “Speaker of Mandarin” is the only Wexford I haven’t read, and, as I expected, I don’t like it. As I feared, she is making a book out of her holiday, and, because she is brilliant, she is doing it well, but not well enough. Maybe I should persevere until Wexford gets home to blighty. I re-read the first few pages of Barchester Towers, Shandy. It certainly gives the feeling, from the first syllable, that the master is in top form.


I am beginning to fear for the cruise C. and I are booked on, departing May 1. When we postponed it last year, May 2021 seemed utterly distant and safe. But now they’re talking about cancelling the Tokyo Olympics, and postponing the elections due here on May 4 or some such date. Neither has happened yet, but the thought is there.


  1. The thing about "Barchester Towers" is that the plot moves forward, not always in a strictly linear way, but at least it moves. In some of his work - I'm thinking The Last Chronicle of Barset" and "Orley Farm" - he constructs it in a circular fashion, going round and round the same issue without much forward movement.

  2. I finally remember reading the Hare with the Amber Eyes which toggles back and forth in time and place from Russia to Paris to Japan. I enjoyed it but it took a bit of searching to recall the subject and plot. (a sign of age!?)

  3. =Tamar1:06 AM

    I don't see any need to postpone elections. You still have a mail system.
    Congratulations on the walking and the knitting achievements.
    If Hugh whoever it is approves of sugar, then he can approve of lemonade.
    Perhaps if the old reliables are not proving sufficiently entertaining, you might branch out a bit in your reading.

  4. Old Shale/Feather and Fan is simple enough to be tricky, isn't it? I was working Brindabella, which as variations of feather and Fan and I put markers between repeats to avoid ripping back too far. Something one would hardly think worth it in such a simple pattern. It helped me, at least. Allthose yo k2togs...

  5. Anonymous11:12 AM

    I was once gently chided by a knittting teacher (she was Russian and probably learned to knit in the womb) that I had too many markers. She had a point. My shawl was bristling with them. But I have since realized that repetition makes my mind wander - and Feather and Fan patterns tend to be both repetitious AND simple - so bring on the markers. Chloe