Tuesday, April 30, 2024

 Kate Davies has had a great rush on her MKAL kits. Her husband has been pressed into service in the mail room. They are starting with New Zealand and working inwards.

   This couldn’t be (entirely) because of a groundswell of enthusiasm for Margery Allingham. In that case, they would have noticed the unusual number of subscriptions to the club.But KD has never done an MKAL before, that I remember.

   I have knit resolutely on. Maybe I should resolve to reach a new decrease round every day? (Sleeve, top down from dropped shoulder.) I think I have resigned myself to coping with four dp’s. 

  Comments yesterday: Maureen, it would seem very likely indeed that it was Jeanette’s shop we went to. Shandy, thank you for the news of her BEM. 

  Wordle: another five for me, and again I don’t care: I got it. I try very hard not to use Jean-words, and again today managed to confine myself to genuine guesses. Theo was my only companion at that lofty score. Ketki and Mark were the threes. Fours everywhere else.

Monday, April 29, 2024

 Grey, rainy. It’s brightening up a bit as the day draws in.

I’ve progressed somewhat with the Spalding sleeve, but there’s a long way to go — and after that, another sleeve. I’ve never cared for the “magic loop” but maybe I had better face up to it. I don’t think a teeny tiny circular would help — hard on the wrists. Longer dp’s, perhaps. And I could shorten the sleeve somewhat.

   What I did successfully do was order yarn for KD’s MKAL. I went for Jeanette Sloan’s colourway. She used to have a yarn store here in Edinburgh, over on the other side. Always fun to go in and talk to her. Then she wrote for Knitting magazine for a while, answering people’s questions. I don’t know what she does now, other than collaborate with KD. However it was not past acquaintance that prompted my choice, but a liking for her bright colours. 

   Shandy (comment yesterday): I went back, on your advice, and re-read the appendix to Jones’ biography of Allingham. Extraordinary, indeed. Especially, perhaps, in conjunction with “The China Governess” which I have now finished reading and which greatly concerns lost or overlooked sons who nevertheless take after the fathers they have never seen. (Mothers scarcely figure.)  Allingham must have had some sense of what was going on. 

   I’ve now given up and started reading “Death of a Ghost”. No extravagance, here. I’ve got them all on my Kindle. “Sweet Danger” is the first title in the club — not long to go, now — and I’ve re-read that. I didn’t want to burden my failing memory with another but finally decided I’d have to risk it. It seems to me, from the first few pages, as if she’s really hit her stride here. It was published the year after “Sweet Danger”.

   Wordle: five for me again, after something of a struggle. I don’t care. As I said yesterday, all I want is a winning streak. Roger was another five. Ketki had a brilliant two. Alexander and Thomas and Theo were the threes, Rachel and Mark the fours.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

 Pale sunshine, much grey. Cold. But the spring flowers are forward as usual, indefatigable.  Helen has sent me pictures of curry dumplings (primula denticulata) and primroses and daffodils — for which we’re famous — from Burnside.

   C. came this morning. No new news. She has a busy spring ahead, including 10 days or so in Sicily, happy woman.

   I haven’t done much.  No knitting yet. I’m reading Allingham’s “The China Governess”, now nearing the end. I’m having trouble keeping characters and their relationships straight. I don’t know whether to blame Allingham or my own senility. It turns on blood lines and inheritances, and I keep feeling sorry for her, for having no children.

‘   I haven’t ordered yarn for KD’s MKAL, as I promised I would have done by now. I’m still promising.

   Wordle: three for me this morning. My two starters served me well. For a while I hoped to be the day’s best, but eventually Thomas and Mark logged in with fellow threes. Pretty well everyone else scored four, including the DC pair, but excepting poor Ketki who got five.

  All I really care about is my winning streak.It’s currently 5. My max was 67, back in the days when I used Jean-words shamelessly and scored five more often than not. I haven’t got near that since. My last failure was at 49.


Saturday, April 27, 2024

 The weather is improving. Sunny, dry, even a bit warmer. Helen and David — safely back from Thessaloniki — were here this morning, on their way to Kirkmichael. Back on Tuesday.

   And knitting has progressed. No more disasters. One thing to be said for sleeves is that the diameter is a good deal smaller than that for bodies. I’ve reached and successfully navigated the first decrease round (sleeve being knitted from top down). Still a long way to go.

   I continue reading “The China Governess”. Yours is an inter3sting theory, Tamar, (comment yestetday) that these last two bools were earlier mss which Allingham only sent off in late life, ill and tired. I doubt if that would do for “The Mind Readers”. I think that there she was gambling on the idea that there would be mileage in Extra-Sensory Perception. You might be right about “The China Governess”. But the references to 1939 sound absolutely right, and consonant with Allingham’s own experience of that year. And the action of the book has to take place 20 years later. She always did root her books very firmly in their soil.

   Eileen, comment yesterday, I haven’t ordered my MKAL yarn from KD yet, and I am impressed by the flair with which you have chosen a set of colours for yourself. I’ll do it this evening, and report tomorrow. Promise. 

   Wordle: All I care about is not failing. I got stuck on ???, grn, grn, grn, ??? today. Ketki had one such line. Poor Theo had three. But we all got through.

   Three for Thomas, Ketki, Mark, Rachel and Roger. Four for Alexander. Five for me and Theo. 


Friday, April 26, 2024

 Good weather, including warmth, according to my carer. Maybe we are going to have May after all.

   Knitting: I took that wretched Spalding sleeve back to the very beginning again, and this time I think I’ve got it. I understand what I’m doing. I can spot mistakes — at least minor ones — as they happen. Despite yesterday’s resolutions, I’m knitting in the round again. I think my dp’s are a bit too short but of course, knitting as I am from the shoulder down, the stitch count will soon diminish. The brioche decrease will be the next problem.

   Eileen, bless you (comment yesterday): I will join KD’s MKAL and we will have our own little club-within-a-club knitting it. I’ll tell you my colour choice soon. I’ve narrowed it down to a couple.

   Meanwhile, I’ve been reading “The China Governess”. I don’t think I’ve ever read it before, although the first violent scene in a London tower felt familiar, as did the news of Luke’s bereavement. Extraordinary that Allingham could have written two such weak novels — this one and “The Mind Readers” — on the heels of “Hide  My Eyes”. 

  Wordle:  back to a peaceful day or threes and fours. The threes were Rachel and Alexander and Roger.  Poor Ketki needed five.


Thursday, April 25, 2024

 Thank you for your comments about buying more yarn. I could do with some . I’ve had a tough day with the Spalding sleeve and am tempted to throw it away in a fit of petulance.

  I corrected the original mistake (see yesterday) and was proceeding happily on my way, indeed mentally drafting a message to you about how I had solved the various problems of knitting half-brioche in the round on dp’s, when I realised I had done no such thing. I’ve taken it back, although have not yet fully recovered the stitches. When I succeed with that, I will do it back-and-forth on the too-long circular. Brioche prefers back-and-forth, I think. When I get to the cuffs, st st, I’ll switch back to the dp’s. That’s the plan.

   We’ve had a bright day, although still cold.

   I’ve finished reading Allingham’s last, “The Mind Readers”. Perhaps— nay, probably— I will go back now to the penultimate one, “The China Governess”. Might as well do this thoroughly. I am listening to slightly more weighty tomes as I nap. What one wants then is something interesting enough to think about, and boring enough to sleep to (and not to mind missing chunks when one actually falls asleep). Currently something about evolution. Perfect.

  Wordle: I had a happy hour this morning when I thought I might be the only cisAtlantic three. Alas, no.  Mark and Rachel joined me. Fours for the others. Theo had five — it was a tough one, despite all of our threes. Silence from Roger.


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

 Serious sunshine today, although still seriously chilly. C. came in the morning.

   Knitting went well. I finished the collar of my Spalding sweater, and embarked on a sleeve. I did the first round wrong — knitting a round which I should have purled, after picking up the stitches. I am currently employed in unpicking my way around. Everything is harder than it used to be.

 Maureen (comments yesterday) I read Franklin every day on Youtube, and that’s where I saw  the picture of you and your husband. I probably saw  it on Monday.

   Speaking of comments, I was slightly disappointed that nobody lept in to tell me to buy one of KD’s MKAL kits. (Maureen had already advised me to do so, a quatr’ occhi as we say in Italian.) I still haven’t decided. It would be ridiculous.

   Wordle: we were back to the old threes and fours today. Except that my clever daughter Rachel scored a resounding two. Mark and Alexander were the threes. Four for everybody else, including the father-and-son pair in DC.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

 A busy day. Sunshine and showers again.

   Maureen from Fargo came to see me this morning, on her way home after a successful knitting retreat on Shetland.  We have a history going back decades, and I hope there will be more episodes to come. She was wearing stunning Fair Isle of (of course) her own making. Franklin posted a resume of his knitting life recently — including a picture of Maureen and her husband.

   In the afternoon some lingots were delivered (at last) for my salad factory. I have planted chilli seeds. They’re awfully small, as I should have realised they would be after dealing with them on a daily basis in the kitchen. I’ll keep you posted.

   As for reading, I persevered with “The Mind Readers”. I still don’t think it’s very good. I’ll have to think of something else to read before KD’s club launches at the beginning of May.

   This time, for the first time, there is to be a KAL associated with the club, based somehow on “Hide My Eyes” (Allingham’s last seriously good thriller). Today we got the colours for the kits KD is selling, although she encourages us to dip into stash. I’m seriously tempted, although it would be a silly extravagance, now that I knit so little and so slowly. 

   KD promises to give us plenty of time between clues. The only other KAL I ever joined in on was one of Stephen West’s. That was exhausting. I reached the final clue more or less in time, but never finished the shawl. I’ll keep you posted on that idea, too.

  Wordle: another failure for me. And Roger: some consolation.Rachel scored a brilliant three. Theo and Thomas were the fours. Ketki six, Alexander and Mark five. 

Monday, April 22, 2024

 I’m back in the kitchen, poking with one finger. The day has been off-and-on, shadow and shade, yet again. Evening sun at the moment: that’s welcome. But no warmth. The long-range forecast offers no hope  much before  mid-May. If then.

   On the other hand, I had a delivery of cat-litter from Amazon today, and the carer didn’t spot it on the doorstep when she got back from her break. I looked at Amazon’s your-package-has-been-delivered, and there was a most glorious photograph of aubretia in bloom in my tripod. It’s not very good aubretia, colour-wise, but it’s having a wonderful time out there and I would never have known but for Amazon.

   Knitting has progressed, but I still haven’t finished that second collar.

   I’ve been reading Allingham’s “Mind Readers” — her last book. I must have read at least part of it before. It’s not terribly good, but it’s nice to hear the authentic voice one last time. Entry for KD’s club is closed, but we still have to wait a fortnight or so for any action.

   I’ve decided against Lourdes. I need too much intimate care.

   Wordle: even Queer Joe failed yesterday. Today we all picked up the load and started to trudge forward again.Two for Theo and Rachel. Three for Alexander and Mark and Ketki.  Four for me. Six for poor Thomas who got stuck with the middle letter missing. Silence, as often, from Roger. 


Sunday, April 21, 2024


Here I am back in the computer room. I failed to turn the laptop off properly last time, with the happy result that it was remarkably quicker to boot. All well here. I have spent much of the day wondering whether I should apply for the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. Would they be up for the amount of care I need?

C. came this morning. She is all for it. Helen is in Greece with her husband this week. I have run it past her by email. 

   I’ve been reading Allingham’s “Beloved Old Age” edited and augmented by Julia Jones' whom we will soon get to know as a contributor to Kate Davies’ new club. I’m afraid it’s boring. Old age is tough – no doubt about that. Both authors dance around the question; Do I invite them home, or do my best to make them happy and comfortable elsewhere? I have moved on to The Mind Readers, Allingham’s last thriller. Campion’s last outing. And I am not letting that awful man read it to me.

Wordle: Roger, Theo, Alexander, Ketki and I all failed today. Ending a streak of 49, in my case. It doesn’t look all that difficult a word, looking at it in the list. Thomas scraped home with six. Mark and Rachel were today’s luminaries, with fours.



Saturday, April 20, 2024

 Brighter, warmer — although not what you’d call warm. A good day’s knitting. Another day might even finish that collar. I like the new carer. 

  And for reading, I went on with Allingham. I bought not one but two audio books to accompany knitting, and regret it. “Tiger in the Smoke” and “The China Governess”. They may even be read by the same man. Why didn’t I check?

   The trouble is, he’s proud of his accents. Inspector Luke speaks pure, unreconstructed London. Campion and his family speak posh. What I would enjoy would be if both spoke Standard English with just a trace of the originals. I’m sure Luke didn’t sound like that. 

   His rendition of women’s voices is also irritating. 

   Speaking of peevishness: the leading editorial in the Times today is headlined “National Malady”. The BBC in the early morning tells us what the newspapers think. Twice, the announcer pronounced it “ma-LAH-dy”. I thought maybe it was a joke I didn’t understand which would become clear when I read the actual newspaper over breakfast. Not so.   

   Wordle: pretty harmonious today. Mark and Thomas scored three; four for all the rest of us.

  My parish newsletter, which arrives every week, is advertising for cripples today, to be taken to Lourdes in July. I must check the dates and think seriously about it.

Friday, April 19, 2024

 I got into the Catalogue Room this afternoon, where my laptop is. I wrote a blog entry for you. But where is it?  I’ll find it tomorrow and post it on. It’s been a tough day. Helen is in Thessaloniki.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

 A straightforward day. A successful bath — that’s an event these days. Helen came in the morning and re-potted some more of my cactusses. (Goodness, is that how you spell it?) Archie came, and we scraped together a lunch for him. The weather, yet again, sunshine and shower and shadow. 

   The rest of the day has been spent reading Margery Allingham’s biography. I’m nearing the end. She’s desperately trying to keep up with the Income Tax in those austere years after the war. Evelyn Waugh had the same problem. Genius (and success) provided no escape.

   Anna (comment yesterday): I didn’t know/had completely forgotten that Dorothy Sayers had a husband. He seems to have appeared on the scene (Wikipedia) after the birth of her son, and was not his father. Allingham continues to have difficulties with hers. He earned his own living after the war, but did his living in London apart from his wife. The income tax situation was much complicated by the fact that they were married.

   Wordle: I think we’re on the same day. The members of my little group who live in DC always to be in sync. You’re right, Fiona, that when I refer to v. and c. I mean “vowel” and “consonant.” But your remark, Heather, is interesting and I wouldn’t entirely discount it.

   Again today I was entirely baffled after my starters, and resorted to a carefully-chosen Jean-word. It wasn’t much help, but some, and at least I managed a fully-qualified word for line four, and the right answer for five.

   Ketki was today’s solitary star with her three. Theo, Rachel and Alexander were the fours.Thomas and Mark joined me on five. Roger needed six. It wasn’t easy.



Wednesday, April 17, 2024

 Great excitement today. Somebody came to the door during the carer’s   break. She wasn’t even here. He was, fortunately, patient — and I, miraculously, got to the door. He was bringing a new, magic mattress which promises to be more comfortable. (Nights are tough.)

   Sunshine (quite a bit) and showers today. I’m told it’s still cold. Helen came and we ordered some pelargoniums for the front doorstep. I’d like “Lord Bute” from Sarah Raven — because we knew him, and because it looks like an interesting flower — but went instead for cheaper and more abundant from Thompson and Morgan.

   Otherwise not much. Some knitting, and I hope to do more this evening. I’ve gone on with Allingham’s biography, which is interesting. Maybe I’ll finish it and read the three more (besides “Sweet Danger”) pre-war books before the club starts. At the moment, poor Margery is sinking under the weight of life, writing rubbish for the women’s mags to keep the household in coal and cabbages, in between her real books with Campion in them.  Her husband was pretty well useless. And yet her best thrillers were still to come.

   I don’t think either Christie or Sayers, at the height of their careers, had a husband to support.

   The introduction to one of my reads, quite likely this biography, says that Campion had buck teeth. Rubbish. He had a famously vacant expression, misleading to friend and foe. But not buck teeth.

   Wordle: I found it enormously hard this morning. My starters gave me two greens, in the first and last positions, and two browns, a v. and a c. Easy, one might think, but I struggled and could think of nothing. I finally gave up and put in Jean-words, taking care at least that the browns were in new, possible positions. It took two goes of that, but I got it right in line five.

   Rachel and Mark had threes. Four for Alexander. Ketki scraped home with six — some comfort for me. Theo was another six. He had four lines, 2 through 5, in which the pattern was ???, grn, ???, ???, grn. No browns at all. Then he got it. Nothing from Roger yet


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

 Thank you for all your comments yesterday. I didn’t deserve them. I’m glad you saw the eclipse, Tamar. James went to see one once in China, and is eloquent about the effect it made, approaching over the desert. 

The closest I ever got was a partial eclipse here in Edinburgh, goodness knows when. I took a bucket of water out to the doorstep and saw reflected the sun with a bite out of it. It got just dark enough for the birds to start crying in anxiety. 

It has been another day of sunshine and shadow. No knitting, I am afraid. I am reading “The Adventures of Margery Allingham,” a biography. Its author will be contributing to KD’s club-book. I’ve got it here in my Kindle and must have read it before, although I don’t remember a syllable. Maybe I fast-forwarded through the early years.

  The club begins the first of May — with a knitting pattern.

   Wordle.  My starter words did most of the work for me, and I scored three. For a while I hoped I might be the only one — but then Alexander came along.Thomas, Ketki, Mark and Roger were the fours.  Five for Theo and Rachel. 

Monday, April 15, 2024

 A better day, although I have lost a temporary carer who had made herself very dear in only a few days. No knitting, because Perdita is lying on my work and has been there for hours and there’s no arguing with a cat. The weather is off-and-on — sunshine through the windows, much appreciated by me and the cat, but actual human beings who venture out say that the wind bites. 

I’ve finished listening to Allingham’s account of village life during the war, not without interest. And also finished reading “Sweet Danger”. I am now driven back on the biography, “The Adventures of Margery Allingham” but I hope KD will take over soon with the new club. I’ve been sent the dates but I’ve forgotten them.

Wordle: my starters served me well — two greens and a brown, and I remembered in time one of my few — perhaps my only — rules for Wordle, and got it in three. Thomas joined me there. Four for Alexander and Mark. Five for Rachel and Ketki. We haven’t heard from DC yet. I’ll try to remember to tell you my rule tomorrow.

Bedtime: a five for Theo. Silence still from Roger.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

 Sorry about yesterday. I’m not doing very well. And I’m pretty droopy  again tonight.

   However, it’s been a brighter day. Knitting progresses — I’m creeping up the second collar, and it’s looking good. I’ve joined the second (and last) ball of contrast yarn. I think there’ll be enough to attempt the cuffs.

   I’ve finished Allingham’s “Sweet Danger”, the first title for the KD club. I’m tempted to go on, but I’ll resist. Campion and Amanda are introduced to each other, and clearly we’re going to see more of her. It’s in “Traitor’s Purse”, early in the war, that they finally get married. I’m looking forward to the essays — and, indeed, to the knitting patterns.

“  I’m listening to Allingham’s “The Oaken Heart”. It is autobiographical, about village life in the first couple of years of the war, written for an American magazine, I think, in the hopes of softening up the American public to the idea of joining the war. Mercifully Hirohito took over that project and succeeded brilliantly.

  For listening, as I doze or sleep or knit, I need a book interesting enough to hold my attention but not so interesting that I mind missing great swaths of it when I fall asleep. “The Oaken Heart” is perfect.

  Wordle: threes and fours; same yesterday.Today Mark, Thomas and Roger were the threes.Theo took five. 

Friday, April 12, 2024

 A mildly better day, again. Maybe we’ve turned the corner. The forecast is not very promising.

  A new carer today — not the usual handover day. Something about holidays. This one is just here for a long weekend; then we go back t o my two regulars. She is very agreeable; I could wish her part of the normal rota.

   Knitting has gone well. I’ve finished the first, left-side, collar and embarked on the second. There are differences in the way it is attached to the picked-up stitches, to accommodate the fact that it slopes in the other direction. I struggled, but I think I’ve nailed it. 

   I’m currently at a stage we would all recognise, when the first ball of contrast yarn goes on forever. I’m already into the third inch of the second collar.

   I’ve also had a good time with Margery Allingham and KD. Today we were introduced to her collaborators. One of them has written a biography, which I am glad to discover is the one I’ve already got in my Kindle. (All of MA’s books seem to be there, too — this is going to be cheaper than might otherwise have been the case. Perhaps I can use that as an excuse to join the KAL.) 

   Wordle: We were all threes and fours today, except for poor Thomas: five. I was one of the fours. Alexander and Theo and Ketki were the threes.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

 A much better day, sunshine-wise. Maybe the worst is over.

   Helen came this morning and brought me a delicious purple globe artichoke, my very favourite thing after sweet corn. I’ve just had it for my tea.

   Otherwise, a fairly uneventful day. Archie dropped in and was persuaded to have lunch. I’ve made some progress with reading Allingham’s “Sweet Danger”, the first book on the list for KD’s new club. It’s an early one, and certainly doesn’t move as fast as “Hide My Eyes”. But it’s where Campion meets Amanda. 

   I was excited to learn (comments yesterday) that you know Tolleshunt d’Arcy, Shandy and Jane. Where Allingham lived and wrote.

   Wordle: my two starters left me with four greens this morning, the classic Wordle set-up for failure. Mercifully, I got it in five. Mark, another five, was the only other one with that configuration. Threes for Ketki, Alexander and Rachel. Fours for Roger and Theo and Thomas.


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

 Another grey day, with plenty of rain. This is getting tedious. There are farmers fearing no crops at all this year, as day after day of planting time slip by.

   C. came to see me this morning. Otherwise quiet. Very welcome, after all the recent excitement.

   Knitting has gone well. I should finish the first collar tomorrow.

   I’ve finished the (umpteenth) re-reading of “Hide My Eyes” and will leave the rest until KD’s new club actually starts. HME was Allingham’s last, I believe. Mr Campion scarcely figures in it. Club-wise, it is connected with the KAL I think. The main club will start at Allingham’s more cheerful but less exciting beginning. I needn’t worry, now that I know I can knock them off fast.

   Queer Joe and Franklin, both old cyber knitting friends, both post almost daily. Franklin has just come through a session of chemotherapy but otherwise remains happy in Paris. Joe’s life is more tranquil, looking forward to the next Men’s Knitting Retreat. I dearly love them both.

   Wordle: my starters pretty well solved it for me this morning — a quick three. For a long time I had hopes of being the day’s star, but Alexander has matched me. Four for Mark and Ketki. Five for Thomas, Theo and Rachel. Nothing from Roger again.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

 More rain. Occasional glints of sunshine. But not what you’d call April.

   James and Cathy are gone, speeding southwards by rail if all has gone well. It was a good visit. I feel I could promise to come to see them in London soon. Not “denial” but — I can’t think of a word for it. A feeling that I’ll get better from this as from all other illnesses and misfortunes in life.

   Knitting has gone well. I have reached the marker I put in when picking up stitches, to separate the half-back-and-top-of-sleeve from the long slope down the front. When I reach the centre-back I pause and start the second half of the collar down at the bottom again.

   But my main source of vigour today has stemmed from Kate Davies’ Margery-Allingham-based knitting club. I’m even tempted to contemplate the KAL  especially as it’s based on the late novel — “Hide My Eyes” — which I had already started re-reading. I think Ive got them all in my Kindle.  Not that I don’t have plenty of knitting. Not that I need another shawl. But…

   Wordle: We found it hard. I was doing so badly, facing failure, indeed, that I typed in what I hoped was a rude word in French, for line four. Thinking of that VOILA the other day. Not only did Wordle accept it, but it gave me four greens. So five for me.

   Six for Theo and Mark. Ketki was with me on five.  Four for Thomas and Alexander. Rachel was today’s undoubted star, with three. Nothing from Roger yet.


Monday, April 08, 2024

 Sorry for absences. Everybody has gone away now except James and Cathy. 

   I am full of enthusiasm for Kate Davies’ new club. She has turned away from Scottish scenery/history in favour of Margery Allingham. A major change. KD is a great fan. So am I. I’m only sorry that the club will run over the summer. I like nothing better than a KD club to get me through the darkest days. Still, in any season, it will be fun re-reading those delicious books in company, with knitting somehow thrown in. 

I wish I knew which book we’ll be starting with. I’ve begun re-reading an old fave, but we’ll probably take them in order. Allingham got much better as time progressed. 

   My own knitting continues well. The Spalding collar is slow. I think I’ve sped up a bit, perhaps with the stimulus of the KD club looming. The end of the first collar — the centre-back point — now looms, but there’s still a long way to go. And then sleeves. I’ve got enough yarn for both collars; not necessarily for the cuffs.

   Wordle: you haven’t missed much in my absence. No failures. We were all very cross about VOILA yesterday.  (Why not VIOLA?) i scored a relatively distinguished four.

    Ketki and Roger and I had threes today. Everybody else scored four.

Thursday, April 04, 2024

 We’re having a nice time. I’m not doing much if any better at keeping great-granddaughters distinct than I was last week, before I met them, but it’s nice to have them here.

  Knitting has progressed well. You’re right, Tamar, that the collar of my Spalding sweater lies flat. Perceptive of you. I’ve kept at it. It’s the same sort of pleasure as knitting a lacy edging onto a shawl — only one stitch taken in for every two knit, but eventually you get there. And it’s pleasant to take it up and knit two or four rows.

   I’ve clearly got enough contrast yarn for the collar. That leaves the question of the cuffs.

   Anonymous, you don’t have to buy the pattern. Perish the thought. Go to the Brooklyn Tweed website and ask for Spalding. I think all the features I mention will be obvious.

   Wordle:  We were much spread out today.i didn’t have a  single green until line four. Thomas scored two — today’s champion. Three for Roger, Mark, and Rachel. Four for Theo and Ketki. Five for me and Alexander.

Tuesday, April 02, 2024


Here I am back in the Catalogue Room. Bliss to type on a proper keyboard, agony to put up with the slow booting time. I think I had better buy a new basic laptop while I still  have some money left. I keep saying that. By the time I act, there’ll be no money.

    It has been another cool, grey, wet day. This is getting tedious. But thank you for the news, Lisa (comment yesterday), that I’d be no better off in Rome. The London crowd is expected tomorrow. That means I may not be here at all, blog-wise. There are moments when I am almost glad to be crippled: it will be grand to see them, and I can’t scurry around in preparation much as I want to.

    Knitting progressed very well. I finished picking up stitches around the neck edge of the Spalding sweater, and embarked on the collar. It attaches itself to the edge as I progress. The pattern, over 22 stitches, is k1, slip 1 wyif. At the inside edge, therefore every other row, you take in one from the picked-up stitches, and get rid of it with a k2tog at the beginning of the next row. I don’t think I’ve ever knit this particular stitch before. It makes a nice, dense rib. (I was expecting st st.) I’m getting a good line at both edges – that’s good, because both will be very visible on the finished article. I floundered at the beginning, and picked it back a couple of times, but I now think it’s tidy enough throughout. It remains only to see whether I have enough of the toning colour in which I’m knitting. There’s no turning back now. I’ll have to order more if I run out.

   I think Helen is back in Edinburgh, or soon will be. I’ll see her tomorrow, along with all these other people. Otherwise no news. I’ll face up to photography when I reappear, whether tomorrow or later.

   Wordle: We haven’t heard from Alexander or Rachel yet, so it’s hardly worth reporting. And at the moment, I can’t persuade the iPad to show me the DC scores. I got three, and was rather proud of it.  Mark and Ketki and Thomas had four. Theo – I think it was he – had a brilliant two, Roger another four. Or maybe it was the other way around, I’ll update you later if I can sort the iPad out.

Monday, April 01, 2024

 Grey and wet again. Weather like this in May is said to herald a good summer (and often does). But this isn’t May.

   However, Christiansen’s book on Shetland lace turned up as hoped. (I spelled her name wrong yesterday.) It’s very good. It is entirely devoted to pieces in the museum in Lerwick. Motifs are illustrated, charted, re-knit in modern lace-weight yarn (they look astonishingly different), and given their traditional name when possible. There are no patterns per se. You have to fit them together for yourself.

   I have learned that Shetland lace was almost never worn on Shetland — it was done to earn money. The skill of the spinners was even more extraordinary than that of the knitters. Starting with a sheep — the fine, soft wool under the chin is what was wanted — they plucked and cleaned it, and spun not only super-fine, but ideally, and often, all in one go.

   My own knitting advances slowly. I have finished the bottom hem and started picking up stitches for the collar. I’ve never been much good at picking up stitches. I’m halfway around. All the stitches are picked up at once, but are soon to be divided I gather as the two halves of the collar are knitted separately.

   Wordle:A green consonant this morning and two browns, one v. one c. Not easy, but not agonizingly hard either. I scored four. So did everybody else over here except for Thomas: five. Theo, in DC, another five and as often we’re still waiting for Roger.

   Later: Roger was another four. He and Thomas and Ketki and I approached the solution through the same grid.