Thursday, April 15, 2021


I’ve been a bit feeble today, perhaps even a bit dizzy again. Helen’s husband David came to walk me around the garden. I haven’t seen him for months, and won’t again for many more. He seems surprisingly cheerful. 2206 steps – better than I expected.


Tamar, thank you. You’re right, of course. I had two thoughts, however: 1) Things must have been most different, in those days before doctors could do anything except recommend bed rest and lots of fluids. 2) Are we entirely different, nowadays? Are not relics of the saints and other “good luck charms” of one sort or another, occasionally left with the very ill?


Helen and her family are safely back from Kirkmichael (see above), where they had a good time. The weather continues as before, dry and sunny and chilly. It is good to have her toiling away in the study again, although I don’t see her all day (she brings a packed lunch).


I knit stoutly on, and have finished the Calcutta Cup band on wee Hamish’s vest. I then spent some time considering colours and all-over pattern with which to proceed. (Some people plan their knitting properly before they begin.) I found McGregor’s “Fair Isle Knitting” – it was my fault, for leaving it in the dining room; not Michaela’s. The all-over pattern I want to use from here on has four fewer stitches per side than are employed at the moment. Delete them? I have decided no; I’ll have a four-stitch unpatterned stripe running up each side.


I also found, in the same place, Pam Dawson’s “Knitting Fashion” from 1976, one of the major books in my knitting formation. It might be mildly interesting to catalogue the others. I knit the “Razzamatazz jersey” on page 75 for Rachel when she was about to go up to Cambridge to read classics – it said “O tempora o mores” on one side, and, in Greek, “Give me a place to stand” on the other. The latter a quotation from Archimedes, I think, with reference to the fulcrum: “Give me a place to stand and I will move the world.”


Little else to report. I’ve heard from the nursery that the plants I ordered are on their way – so the scam mentioned yesterday was certainly a scam. I’ve pressed on with “I vicere” – we’ve now reached the younger in-laws.


Miscellaneous, comments


Thank you for your help with knitCompanion, Maureen. I will continue to hold back for a while, out of sheer sloth, but I’m tempted.


Mary Lou, I know that brioche is hell to disentangle if you make a mistake (and I make lots of mistakes). But on the other hand, when it’s going well, it’s wonderful. Squishy, I think is the word. The sensible thing to do would be to take socks to knit on the cruise – that’s what I always used to do, in the days when my husband and I went to London three or four times a year for art and grandchildren. And even a bit before that, when I went to the USofA once or twice a year, to see my mother when she was too weak to travel. In those days I’d knock off half a dozen pairs a year without trying.


Well, we’ll see.


  1. =Tamar12:28 AM

    Once in a great while I come across something that was actually useful back then, and it's almost always a home remedy or something the hedge-witches did. Blood-letting would lower blood pressure temporarily (and I've read that Eisenhower had it done once in WW2 when he had a spike), and they were better at setting bones than the movies would have us believe. Charms as placebos may have worked as well or better than most official medicines. _Delights for Ladies_ was a book of home receipts including distilled essences, some of which probably did some good. I was just surprised that Austen included that little bit about Mrs Norris, and I wonder how Austen expected it to be received.

    1. Anonymous4:53 PM

      The manipulative Mrs. Norris probably didn't believe in the efficacy of charms at all, but saw offering a worthless (in her mind) charm as a way to get a valuable cutting for free.
      -- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

    2. Anonymous4:56 PM

      ps: at least, that's how I've always understood that little anecdote.
      -- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

  2. Jean, if I were going on the cruise I’d take two projects, socks and something a bit more difficult. However, especially if you want to keep it simple and lightweight, socks are great, especially since I don’t think you’ve knit any recently, have you?

  3. Anonymous1:16 AM

    I think we took Knitting Fashion out of the library many times. But I don't know that I knit anything out of it? Please remind us what the Razzmatazz jersey was - that does not seem to be listed at Ravelry.
    p.s. Another 1980s volume we took out from library over and over was Wild Knitting by Angela Jeffs. My mother knit the armadillo wrap!
    Lisa RR

  4. Anonymous11:45 AM

    Everyone is different (I suppose we could preface almost everything in knitting that way:). I do not find slipping stitches very soothing either. Even taking a class with Nancy Marchant herself. She is an absolutely lovely person, but I found her technique to be almost an instrument of torture (while other students, having had their aha moment, happily slipped away). I envy your facility, Jean. Some of her patterns are breathtaking. Maybe if I had learned in my youth... Chloe

  5. I think Maureen’s suggestion of two projects is wise. (I usually bring more than I can knit!) I was thinking relaxing knitting, and yes, when brioche goes well, it is lovely. I find the two color less so. You would not be tempted to toss it overboard as I might!