Saturday, August 29, 2015

It's all go, today.

It's the final day here, for Helen and her family. She and her husband are leaving for Athens tomorrow on the absurdly early Sunday-morning flight that C. and I took at the end of March. How are Perdita and I to manage without them? Archie is back at school, and his youngest brother Fergus has, by now, spent nearly 48 hours there as a New Boy. He's not entirely happy.

The on-going sagas which have occupied the summer remain a) my husband's condition and b) the flat on Windsor Street which Helen has altered radically to prepare for their own occupancy in a year's time. It will be let again in the interval. Getting it ready to show to the letting agent yesterday has, needless to say, involved a series of major and minor crises which have left us all prostrate.

I hope to see it myself this morning, before Helen and I go to visit my husband, before she and her husband go to visit Fergus in the afternoon.

Before all this starts, I must go up the hill and buy some scallops for David and Helen's final summer-of-'15 supper this evening. It is, incidentally, the last day our dear fishmonger will be at work. I need to say goodbye and thank you. His nephew is taking over the business, the fifth generation of the family to be so occupied.

As for knitting, I moved forward with the Tokyo. I'll stop – for the moment – when I finish the current band, and move on to dog-assembly-and-stuffing.

I tried a couple of rows of Portuguese knitting yesterday, on Franklin's swatch. It went a good deal better than my attempts earlier this year at continental knitting. Yarn-around-the-neck is a bit uncomfortable. It might be worth getting, or confecting, a pin. And continuing to try a couple of rows a day. This is where the Craftsy system really scores – I can go back and back and watch the movements of the teacher's hands.

But the good old slow-and-clumsy system is what one needs for comfort.

And that's about it. Perdita's limp is gone.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Technology, this morning. (Perdita continues to improve.)

I have “migrated” Zite to Flipboard, successfully I think. I have bought Albers’ “Interaction of Color” (the app). I should have said something about that yesterday, after you sent the link, Kristen. It looks extremely interesting. The Apple App Shop is always stressful for me — why isn’t everybody as easy as the hated Amazon? Today they said that my (husband’s) credit card was about to expire and I had to update it.

Apple has forced me to use his. Everybody else on the internet is happy with mine. I knew he had been sent a new card, and that I must have put it somewhere safe since he wasn’t likely to use it. It turned out, after an anxious search, that I was carrying it. Sensible.

Then everything went haywire. After a series of increasingly odd error messages and requests to sign in to my own blog, I deduced that maybe it was time to turn the wi-fi booster off and on again. This is sometimes necessary, but the affected computers always pretend that the signal is strong and the trouble, somewhere else.

So I’ve done that, with the result that the booster doesn’t seem to work at all — none of the little lights came back on. We’re limping along with the main hub, and I won’t be able to watch Craftsy in bed unless I can fix it.

But at least the crazy error messages have stopped. That’s enough technology for just now.

The booster is in the sitting room. In my distress, running from computer to computer to iPad and to the booster and back, I left the door open. Perdita dashed in and with her unerring eye seized the ball of mohair which is carried along with every other colour in the Tokyo shawl, and dashed out of the room with it.

I took it away from her in the kitchen and, am happy to report, was able to restore it to its place unbroken. Well done, mohair.

I reached the 22nd band of the Tokyo yesterday, as hoped. I’m spending less time knitting, these days, than I used to when my husband was at home — because of not watching much television, and still not comfortable with knitting during the day, and going straight to bed after an early supper. I must press forward.

I went back over the crucial lessons in Portuguese knitting yesterday (in bed), namely tensioning and the actual movements for knitting and purling. Franklin’s swatches will be the perfect medium for practising, but I think today had better be devoted to that 22nd band.

…The trouble with the wi-fi booster turned out to be that its little On-Off button had been switched off. All is well. Full connectivity is restored. I couldn’t live without technology, but oh, dear.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

All went well. The vet agreed with my husband — he is rarely wrong, and of course, in this case, his opinion coincided with some expressed here. There is nothing much wrong with Perdita, nothing is broken, nothing dislocated. It is just a sprain, with some swelling and warmth. She will get better by herself. As indeed she is doing. She cantered down the passage ahead of me this morning at Pussy Cat’s Breakfast Time (5:45), instead of hobbling.

Here she is in her push chair, awaiting her turn at the surgery. She hissed at that dog.


I have nearly finished the 20th band (of 29) on the Tokyo shawl. The 21st is one of the little ones, so today’s target is to reach 22.

Thank you for your help with the future blocking. I’ve had a look on Ravelry. It appears to be pretty rectangular on the actual project page. Play it by ear. More than one knitter has extended the length and I suspect that’s a good idea. There’ll clearly be yarn available.

While I was there (on Ravelry) I had a look at Gunderson’s All Colors Sweater, the one we’ve been talking about. Never mind negative ease — I am alarmed to discover that it uses all the colours of Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted — “about” 137 of them! There are no ends to weave in because one spit-splices, it says: a technique I have never mastered. It’s a magnificent production but for the moment I will stand at a respectful distance.

The side-bar led me in a couple of easy stages to “Free-Spirit Shawls” to which Gunderson has contributed a nice little shoulder shawl where the colour-changes of a Noro yarn do all the work. I’m tempted.


I’m getting on nicely with “Life’s Greatest Secret”, understanding perhaps 1/8th of it. It is odd to think of all these momentous things happening while I was at Oberlin, 1950-54, and all of us unaware of any of it. I think maybe I had heard of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, but if so only because I had a friend who lived on Long Island, not because I had the faintest notion of what was going on there.

On the other hand, when Michael Ventris translated Linear B — and proved that it was Greek: I remember that, vividly.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Perdita’s appt with her new medical advisor is fairly early this morning. She’s not going to like it. I am going down with a friend who has provided a push-chair for cats. Perdita prefers to travel in the vegetable-carrier underneath. 

I knit peacefully on with the Tokyo yesterday. You’re right, Wanda, it’s beautiful. Was the one you saw in Copenhagen blocked into an ordinary, right-angle rectangle, or did the blocking respect the bias? If that question makes any sense. There’s lots of knitting involved and it’s worth keeping at it. I’ll do a few days more before I finish off that dog.

I haven’t yet attempted the new swatches for Franklin, but I’ve chosen the yarns. The temperature swatch is going to be Warm, and the chroma, as I said yesterday, blue. A “chroma” is a slice-of-pie-shaped wedge from the colour wheel. Interestingly, the spell-checker knows the word, although I didn’t.

Wednesday, that’s a stunning sweater (comment, yesterday), and you’re right, I’ve got granddaughters who could wear it. The colour pattern is one that makes one itch to get the needles out. I worry about whether it would be comfortable to wear wool so tight. Would the sweater mind being knit with a bit of positive ease to allow for a shirt underneath? That style, buttoned at the top for a bit and then hanging open, seems to be everywhere at the moment.

And, Fitz14, that is wonderful news that Arne and Carlos are going to be at McAree Bros soon. That’s very near here, a due passi, and I will certainly go along. I don’t know with quite what purpose. I could take a book and have them sign it. I could stand there and bask in their charm. I went to hear them speak at a Knitting Day at the National Museum a while ago. They are professional charmers.

Now it’s time for me to get dressed and put the cat in her push-chair.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Perdita is no better, although still perfectly cheerful. Our cleaning woman, who last saw her on Saturday morning in perfect health, has voted for the vet. Helen's husband David thinks so, too – if it's something to do with the bone, as it would appear, delay can make it worse. So that's the current decision, tomorrow or Thursday.


I watched Franklin's Lesson Three. Most interesting. I found myself, just as if I were watching the clock back at Asbury Park High School, looking at the progress of the little line under the video screen and thinking, There's no time left. He can't be going to assign any homework.

I underestimated the man. This time, we are to knit a swatch with colours all of the same temperature, and another with colours all from the same chroma. The latter will have to be blue, in my case, rather to my surprise.

This is an excellent class which Franklin has (no surprise) prepared meticulously. It's worth swatching.

As for actual knitting, I progressed a bit with the Tokyo shawl.

And I went on thinking a bit about an odds-and-ends tosh DK. I think you're right, Mary Lou, that the thing to do is to line up the HALFPINT list and consider how stripes or blocks of colour might appear. I can't find Sally Melville's Stash book. It's not in the Melville section. It's not in the flat pile of Great Big Knitting Books. I certainly wouldn't have relegated it when I was thinning the shelves recently. I'm baffled, for the moment.


My sentence to rat poison is for six months. (There is a possibility, which I won't think about, that it might be for life.) I've now done the first month, and much of the second. At the beginning, I counted the days and decided that they amounted to four Lents, taking Lent at the severest reckoning, from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday in Holy Week inclusive, no remission for Sundays, 46 days.

Well, last Friday I finished the first of the four Lents. I've lost just over half a stone. I could say, “nearly 10 pounds” but I think the first formulation is more accurate. I'm sure the rate of decline will slow down.

Monday, August 24, 2015

I wonder if Blogger’s difficulty with pics yesterday was another Windows-10-interaction. They seem to have solved the initial difficulty, where all composing had to be done in raw HTML. I’ve reverted to the Mac for this morning, and we’ll see.

Thank you for the advice about Perdita. I was enormously cheered by your comment, Anne, that kittens can hurt themselves as they throw their wee selves so energetically about. It’s not a phenomenon I had ever met, but it makes good sense as an explanation.

She is perhaps slightly better. She continues to eat and wash herself normally, and is obviously not in pain, not even when one touches the affected hip. She has incorporated disability into the daily life of a Naughty Kitten with some style. She can still jump, although it takes a bit more thought than usual. So I am going to wait at least another day before seeking medical attention. She would hate it so.

That was my husband’s advice yesterday, to stay away from the vet for now. It is distressing to see any animal in difficulty with its hindquarters, especially when it is an animal one loves.


I have finished my homework for Franklin’s second lesson, and am free to go on to lesson three.

(Bear in mind that the two swatches are not meant to be related to each other. I am doing them continuously to save a bit of trouble, and in the hopes of having a Franklin Scarf for my pains at the end.) (Picture-uploading went perfectly smoothly. I'll now go back and illustrate yesterday's post.)

And I have resumed knitting the Tokyo.

And I continue to give some thought to the using-up of all my delicious tosh DK left-overs. I’ve started through the HALFPINT folder of purchased, down-loaded and printed-out patterns. There are some very nice things there. I had wondered if Fettig’s “Effortless” would lend itself to diagonal-seeming stripes, but apparently not. It is not really asymmetrical — it’s a wrap-around cardigan which looks asymmetrical when worn unfastened and hanging open.

I haven’t tried Melville’s stash book yet. Today I will.


In my husband’s absence, I have been reading an awful lot of crime fiction, without finding anything I could wholeheartedly recommend to you. 

Worrying about the cat, however, is a whole different matter. One needs something one can mentally chew on. I have now embarked on “Life’s Greatest Secret” by Matthew Cobb. It is about the discovery of DNA — not the double helix, although that will no doubt figure, but the way genetic information is encoded. It is fascinating. 

It is particularly interesting, in the early chapters, to learn how much significant work on the subject was done during the war, in the US and England and France, although it was without military usefulness. Deoxyribonucleic acid was known, and known to be a component of chromosomes, but the majority opinion in those days was that information about heredity was passed on by proteins.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Brief, this morning. No knitting yesterday.

Something is wrong with one of Perdita's back legs or hips. She is reasonably cheerful and alert, eating reasonably. I am undecided about whether to take her to an emergency vet or wait until normal working hours tomorrow. She was perfectly all right yesterday morning.

Archie took these pictures of the Glenisla Shield yesterday, I think the best we've got, even though it takes two to convey the idea. I won it for Sam the Ram in the year of our Golden Wedding.

And Helen dug the potatoes which our gardener had put in. My poor garden! But at least that much of it has been redeemed.

But this is what Games Day boiled down to:

And on top of all my other troubles, Blogger is having trouble with pics. I'll try to add the essential illustrations later in the day. Perdita is well enough to try to help with Blogger. I think the vet can wait until tomorrow.