Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The implant wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. In fact, the worst bit was probably the preliminary night’s anxiety. I took things easy today – ready-meal for supper, lots more Tannehill. I’ve left off the pain-killers already, although I may take one at bedtime.

Tomorrow I am to start a week’s course of a precautionary antibiotic. I am not meant to consume alcohol while taking it, so it is rather a good thing that this is happening in Lent.

I divided the Tannehill front and back, and have finished the underarm decreases for the back. I should finish the current (third) skein tomorrow with ease. I didn’t do anything further about charting the Museum Sweater, however, which leaves me with little or nothing to say to you.

AnnP, the Tech Knitter is brilliant on corrugated ribbing. Many thanks for that. I’ve tucked it away in Evernote, a program I haven’t visited in quite a while and should make more use of.

Alexander came over today. We won’t see him again until after Easter – he is the stay-at-home parent, and his sons’ school holiday is about to begin. And Greek Helen is going, with most of her family, to Thessaloniki tomorrow, likewise not to be seen until after Easter.  (Archie is lingering here for a couple of days and will come to lunch with us on Friday.)  I feel somewhat bereft.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Another fairly fraught day. It started with a dental appt, and tomorrow will start with another, this time for an implant, a new experience for me and surely far too expensive at my time of life. Greek Helen covered/will cover home base on both occasions.

Then I had an email from Microsoft about renewing my subscription to Office. I did that a couple of days ago – it turned out I had to log on again and install the damn thing. You’d think it could all have been packed into one process. All the money, time and trouble have wrought no noticeable change in the program I use daily.

We went out to lunch at a Japanese place, seriously good, near the Kings Theatre – Helen and I and her three boys (for Mungo is safely home from Beirut) and a dear friend. That wasn’t fraught, it was fun.

After I wrote to you yesterday, I got another picture from another dear person, this time with no embargo attached about showing it to you, so here it is, Hellie and our unborn great-grandchild. It’s due in early June, I believe. Getting plumper and more viable by the day:

Tannehill is coming on nicely. I should divide it at the underarms tomorrow if dentistry doesn’t flatten me. And this week’s skein looks seriously diminished.

I have successfully charted the Museum Sweater, and made a small start at a colour scheme, with pencils. The colour arrangement is rather interesting, and very un-Fair Isle.

There are three pairs of colours, and they stay faithful to each other throughout: Pair A and Pair B for the lozenges, and Pair C for the peeries. But there’s more:

1       Pair A and Pair B keep changing places with each other. If one row of lozenges is striped A.B,A,B,A the next one will be B,A,B,A,B.

2       And furthermore, the “X”’s have the light colours of each pair as the pattern colour, while the lozenges, beside them in the same row, have the dark colours as pattern.

I look forward, as I’ve said, to seeing how all this will work with my colours.

It occurred to me last night that I can attempt some corrugated ribbing one day soon for my weekend stint on the swatch-sweater. Since it’s not meant to pull in, it won’t interrupt the flow of things. The point of the experiment in that case will be to see whether I can stand knitting it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Back to Tannehill. My ambition is a skein a week.

Here’s where the swatch-scarf stands. I don’t know why the sheet it’s lying on has turned blue – that doesn’t augur well for the other colours. Quite apart from the patterns, I like the way it looks as an object, just lying about. I think I mean that the colours seem to be working well together.

I look forward to trying the Museum Sweater pattern next. I made a (false) start on charting it today – I thought there were 15 rows in the borders; there are 17, plus a single-colour row between border and peerie. It turns out that the other Raveller who knit this sweater, other than Maureen, that is, has posted lots of pictures, one of which is a close up of a single repeat of the patterns from which charting will be easy. I’ll resume tomorrow.

There are five colours in the sweater – six, if I use two new colours for the peeries instead of repeating one from the border. It will be interesting to see how my colours work with this pattern. Once I have charted it in black and white, I’ll try another colour chart, using the computer this time.

If you peer, you can see that I have lined up the centre stitch of an “O” in my first border pattern with the centre stitch of an “X” in the second. The effort is entirely wasted because the two patterns have different stitch counts. It will be fun to stagger the lozenges properly in the Museum Sweater.


Two dear people have sent me entirely different but equally amusing photographs of themselves this evening – both with a warning attached that I am not to include them here. I will sadly obey.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Thanks for comments. I should have thought of knitting-back-backwards. Cam, (comment yesterday) your discovery of it at the age of seven is indeed impressive, as I am glad to hear your aunts acknowledged. I have never progressed very far with it.

I’ve had a jolly Laetare Sunday, but, perhaps predictably, not a very productive one. And there’s a long way to go.

I hope I’ll be back in the saddle tomorrow.


We watched the 1950’s film of The Importance of Being Ernest at midday before sinking into a post-prandial stupor. It’s really rather good. It reminded me of how much I adored Joan Greenwood – Whiskey Galore/Tight Little Island, Kind Hearts and Coronets, and much else. In 1953-4, she appeared on the stage in NY in TS Eliot’s “Confidential Clerk” which I had seen during its first few days, in the Edinburgh Festival of 1953,  not many months before.

I went to see it again, that winter, with DB, who, as far as I know, is still alive. I remember that during the interval/intermission, the women were grumbling: “I can’t understand a word she says”. And the men didn’t seem to  mind that and were full of enthusiasm. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

It was a rather fraught day. Fair Isle knitting does not consort well with constant interruption. Still, I got another border pattern done. I don’t care for it much. You’ll see, soon.

All this talk of the J&S-Shetland-Museum sweater – the one you knit, MaureeninFargo, although I hadn’t grasped that until today – has made me wonder whether I should try to see what can be made of that, using my colours. I’m pretty sure it would be easy to chart it, using the illustration in Mucklestone’s book and the ones posted by Maureen and the one other Raveller who has attempted it.

I think maybe that will be the next experiment for my swatch-scarf. Only one lozenge-pattern per row, of course, and perhaps even a different peerie.

There’s a passage in Meg’s introduction to her Fair Isle cardigan in “Knitting” which baffles me. Maybe you can help. She is writing about the problem of what to do with a Fair Isle, knit bottom-up, when you get to the armholes. Work back and forth, which will involve purling? Or steek, and go on knitting in the round? Both solutions are found on Shetland, she says.

Then this: “Designers Lizbeth Upitis and Joyce Williams knit forwards and backwards from the underarm up – no steeks, no cutting, no purling back in pattern.”

What does that mean? The only Third Way I can think of is to cut the yarn at the end of every row and push everything back to the other end of the needle. That is indeed possible, but I wouldn’t describe it as “knitting forwards and backwards”.

Here’s my husband’s Tannehill, dark line and all:

In my wanderings last night, I wound up on Jimmy Bean’s madtosh DK page. I haven’t been there for quite a while. A great many of the colours were unfamiliar, and goodness! how wonderful! No wonder Tannehill went under, if they bring out new colours at that rate. It occurred to me to wonder whether the pattern for my leftovers, perhaps supplemented by one or two skeins of new-and-wonderful colours, might be this, which you’ve seen before:

It is written for 4-ply (sport weight, that would be, I think, more or less) in one size only.  But it might not even have to be converted, as that one size is distinctly petite. Maybe in DK, it would come out about right. If conversion is necessary, I don’t think it would be too difficult.

Now I must go and put the clocks forward, and put some cider on ice for tomorrow….

Friday, March 24, 2017

I had to go down to Tesco today for this and that. I bought my cider to drink on Sunday – the mid-Lent break. It’s perhaps a bit dangerous to have it in the house untouchable for a whole day and a half, but I think I’m up to it. I was there in the car, and it’s heavy. I often stop at Tesco on the way back from Mass – but they have been known to run out of Weston’s Vintage on a Sunday, and I drink no other.

So it’s here.

I had another good day with Tannehill. The third skein has been joined in. I think I have earned my weekend of Fair Isle.

I didn’t take a picture. I kept putting it off because I was going to knit a few more rounds, and then, of course, the light was gone. But tomorrow I won’t knit it at all, and the light promises to be good, so there we are. And on Sunday the clocks go forward and we’ll have even more light.

Madtosh is notorious for having skeins of different values. This third skein of Tannehill is very dark, and has produced the sharpest colour-change line I’ve ever had. You’ll see. I’m not going to worry about it. My husband doesn’t go out and about. What he wants is a cosy DK sweater asap.

MaureeninFargo has written to me to say that she didn’t adapt Meg’s video-vest to make her own cardigan (as I said yesterday) – Meg did it herself. It’s the cover picture, indeed, of her book “Knitting”. In view of recent events, you may be surprised to hear that I found that book exactly where it belonged, with EZ and Meg’s other books. It sounds from what she says there as if vest and cardigan evolved simultaneously.

Kate Davies has posted an interesting blog entry called Patients and Doctors. No knitting in it at all. It sounds as if she is writing a book about her stroke.

Kristie (comment yesterday), my hesitation about knitting the museum-quality sweater for which Jamieson&Smith offer a “temporarily unavailable” kit, would not be the knitting of a whole Fair Isle sweater in fingering weight. That’s fun. It would be the fiddliness of knitting all those different lozenges, and of knitting the peerie pattern as the v-neck edging.

Meg says, in the introduction to the cardigan pattern in “Knitting”:

“Those who have experienced the excitement and contentment of knitting a true Fair Isle pattern need not be told of the pure pleasure involved. Elizabeth once described Fair Isle knitting as ‘painting with a different color in each hand and never having to rinse the brushes.’ For me it is like going into a trance.”

Just so. All those different lozenges might spoil it.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Another good day with Tannehill. I should join in the third skein tomorrow, and I’m not a million miles from the point where I separate back and front at the underarm. I think a picture would be a good idea, although I don’t trust it to do justice to the beautiful colour. Tomorrow.

I spent some time wandering around the internet last night, while waiting for the nurse to come. I discovered that Jamieson & Smith offer a kit based on a particular sweater in the Shetland Museum which is illustrated in Mucklestone’s book and which I mentioned only a couple of days ago – the one in which the pattern in every lozenge is different.

The J&S text says that in the original sweater, the different-ness extends to the back, but that they have simplified things by making the back and front identical, lozenge-wise. They phrase it more elegantly.

The odd thing is that this kit is “currently unavailable”. Why on earth? They must have the pattern, and it uses nothing but shades of their own Shetland Heritage yarn.

I haven’t advanced either with colouring-in the squares in Excel or downloading the allegedly free copy of Stitch and Motif Maker. The idea is to spend a happy weekend knitting the next 15-row border pattern, and another peerie, onto the swatch-scarf. The border has already been planned, and coloured however clumsily with pen and pencil. Then when it is finished, I hope it will itself prompt the next experiment and that’s when I can try colouring by computer.

Ravelry suggested the other day looking at your friends’ projects if you find yourself drained of inspiration. That’s how I found MaureeninFargo’s Fair Isle sweaters – her husband is wearing the vest Meg designed for Knitter’s magazine and also published with accompanying video. Then Maureen must have transformed the pattern into a cardigan for herself. The result is rather impressive.