Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Computer problems continue to press – especially those constant messages from McAfee saying “Potentially Unwanted Program Blocked”. They come in every few seconds, and I have to click twice to make each one go away. The “unwanted program” is called PUP-FOP and I am gloomily certain that it will go on persecuting me forever. I can't find a way to make McAfee deal with it automatically.

Son-in-law David suggested yesterday that I get a MacBook and let Apple deal with all that sort of thing. I am sorely tempted. Alexander went over to the Other Side some years ago. I have emailed him to ask how it works, in terms of communicating with the outside world. I need to be able to mediate between my husband and the printer and the cloud. It would be expensive, but then, we don't go on cruises. Our niece needs a new computer. She could have this one, and take it to a Man who might be able to clean it up. If not, she'd be no worse off than at present.

Of course, I could take it to a man...

It was nice to see David and Mungo. They have now gone off to Glenalmond School, and will have spent last night in Strathardle. David will be back, alone, late today. He'll take Archie out to supper before coming back here. Then back to Greece, early tomorrow.

So, not much knitting. I have sort of lost count of how many rounds I have been achieving day by day. Not many. I should, however, reach the ninth and final stripe on the outward course today. Things always go faster when you're headed for home – as on our walk, last Saturday. And stitch numbers will start to diminish. Each stripes adds 16, at present, and they will be removed at the same rate on the way back.The corners are still reluctant to be pushed along. I wonder if that will get a bit easier. A 120cm needle is the right length. Rather like Goldilocks: 150 was too many, 100 too few. 

The iPad doesn't seem to want to connect this morning, so I can't tell you about Zite. Even Apple has its limitations, it would seem.

I had your same thought, Shandy, that if I could negotiate that walk-and-crawl through Glen Roslin on Saturday, there is nothing much wrong with me. Why do I get so little done around the house? (The link to Shandy's blog is well worth following.)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

You're right, Mary Lou, that something will have to be done about this computer. Defenistration would be too good for it. I don't know why I'm not using Norton Antivirus. I'll see if I can switch.

We had a good walk. It was a tough one. One walks downstream along the Rver Esk through the Roslin Glen, then back along farm tracks and finally tarmac'd roads to the village of Roslin itself. The distance wasn't all that far, but the going proved very hard for the first half. It is a beautiful glen, steeply wooded. The path went up and it went down and it went up again. There were seriously muddy patches where slips and falls threatened. There were fallen trees across the path. There were bits I did on my hands and knees. At the moments when we were tempted to turn back, we could only reflect, with Macbeth, that returning were as tedious as go o'er.

It was disheartening to reflect, too, that when we finally emerged from the glen, the walk would be only half over – we would be at the furthest point from the car. But in fact the second part was so easy that we floated back. We then had soup and sandwiches at a thoroughly pleasant and welcoming hotel in the village of Roslin itself. (Is it cheating to stop for nourishment before one has finished the Walk as specified in the book?) And then cantered the last half-mile or so, past the famous chapel.

It's looking very prosperous these days, with multiple car parks and a visitor centre.

I took only one picture, of the moment when we spotted Hawthornden Castle on the other side of the river – and knew where we were! The link is to a Wikipedia entry which, alas, doesn't include a picture. I'll organise some pictures for you soon -- you haven't seen the ones from Games Day yet.

It was a good day.


Not much. I did 1 ½ circuits of the Rams and Yowes border, and am just at the point where it's time to join in the yarn for the eighth stripe – of nine!

I probably won't be here tomorrow, because Mungo will, with his father, on their way to Glenalmond School.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I'm having a terrible time with this computer this morning – a constant stream of pop-ups from McAfee saying that a potentially unwanted program has been blocked. I have to keep stopping to click on Yes, Do Block It. Pop-up ads everywhere. "Java" wanting me to download a new version. Chaos.

There's not much time anyway, as I am about to go on a walk with our niece. (3 1/2 miles -- am I strong enough?) We're going to Roslin Glen, the site of the famous chapel. Indeed, I think the much-misused word “infamous” might be appropriate here, ever since Dan Brown catapulted that architectural curiosity into world fame. We'll view it from the outside this time.

I think I forgot to tell you that Archie says that the dog that bit his mother is fine – i.e., not rabid. Tomorrow his father David and brother Mungo will be here and I'll hear more details.


I got around Rams and Yowes a full three times yesterday, thanks to half an hour in the dentist's waiting room. I doubt if I'll do as well today but at least should finish the seventh stripe, of nine. I think this border must resemble the which-square-is-bigger? puzzles one sees from time to time. That is, looking at pictures of the finished article, the border seems relatively trivial compared to the knitting which must have gone into the centre. But – even setting aside the fact that it is knit double – that doesn't seem to be true. I might even do the arithmetic in an idle moment – how many actual stitches?

Helen (comment yesterday), I like the idea of grey-on-grey stripes for Archie. Indeed, I wonder why I didn't think of it. I think this sweater may actually happen.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I had a grand time delivering Archie to school yesterday. I do like that place (Merchiston Castle). The sun was shining and there was a sense of friendly familiarity all around, and at the same time a sense of authority on the one side and of respect for it, on Archie's. The VIth form building is a modern one whose existence I had never previously suspected. It could almost serve as a Premier Inn, with private rooms and en suite facilities for all. Maybe they do conferences in the summer.


I am making progress with the Rams and Yowes border, but rather glumly. The circumference seems huge. There are nine stripes, each of four rounds. I counted up the other evening and easily discovered that I have 13 more stripes to do, four more going outwards, then a fold round and all nine again, going back inwards. At my present rate of about two rounds per evening – that is, two evenings per stripe – it will take me 26 days to finish the border. That's nearly a month.

Then those many, many stitches have to be sewn down on the inside. Then a bit of tidying and loose-end securing. Then blocking. Then a final applied i-cord around the periphery. That could be omitted if I'm desperate, but it makes a very nice finish. Add it all up and we're getting perilously near the baby's first birthday on October 30.

(Kate D. says to do the i-cord by picking up 924 stitches around the blanket and then doing an i-cord bind off. No thanks. I've done applied i-cord before – it's not as tedious as it sounds – and I know it's easier than that. I can't remember exactly how it's done, but I know where to look to find out.)

So from now on:

a) I will try hard to do more than two rounds every evening, I achieved it yesterday.

b) I will not even think about the Unst Bridal Shawl. My husband has another dental appt today, because his new falsies are proving very uncomfortable. I will grit my teeth and take Rams and Yowes along.

c) But if I should suddenly be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, I will throw those sheep aside and finish the shawl.

I had a good time looking at patterns with Archie. We have tentatively chosen a simple one with a tab opening at the neck, from the book called Sweaters Men Want. I had a few hours of thinking seriously about the Swedish one in Pagoldh's book – Archie didn't like the neck, but that could be changed. But then I decided that what I don't want right now is another Major Project. I have finished only one thing in 2014 – the Milano-striped Relax, for Helen. I want action.

I could always stripe the pattern we have chosen, perhaps dark green on grey. Two rows green and then four grey?

Tamar, thank you for your archive work on the Grandson Sweater. A little googling produced abundant sources for Norwegian yarn in a most tempting range of qualities and colours.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nothing today. Archie is here and wants us to leave for school early, which suits me well. We made some progress with pattern-choosing for him yesterday. And it can be any colour, so long as it"s grey.

We"ll get caught up tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The radio says that there is a letter in the Scotsman today, signed by more than 100 Scottish businesses large and small, recommending a No vote. I will be interested to see whether Jamieson & Smith is there. I think Shetland doesn't regard itself as particularly “Scotland” anyway and would much prefer that its vote could be kept separate – that is, that Shetland couldn't be forced to leave the United Kingdom unless Shetland votes to leave.

The young man who sells me my milk and newspapers every morning is Pakistani. His English isn't terribly good and I don't suppose he has a vote. He said the other day, “All over the world there are separate countries. Here there is the United Kingdom. This is better.” I nearly burst into tears.

(Mr Hussain who owns the shop is British, and will vote No. His 16-year-old son, however, is leaning in the other direction.)


Two more bumps were added to the edging of the Unst Bridal Shawl yesterday. I'm now very near the second corner. That's not half-way, though, because I started somewhere along the first side so that the final join won't be conspicuous.

And I started the fifth stripe (of nine) on the outward section of the border of Rams & Yowes. Meadow Yarns has come home from its holiday and emails to say that my needles have been dispatched. So, maybe today.

And I did some research on Archie's behalf. I was much taken with a pattern called Streak in Britt-Marie Christoffersson's “Swedish Sweaters”. I love that book, although I have never knit from it. Brilliant photography, apart from anything else. On reflection, I don't think the pattern will do as it stands. It's  garter stitch in worsted weight yarn. That's going to be awfully heavy. What caught my eye was simple and cheerful two-colour striping.

I could knit an EPS in DK with stripes. I like stripes.

And over in Susanne Pagoldh's “Nordic Knitting” – the source of the Grandson Sweater – I like the Spjall (Gusset) Sweater on p. 60, a small all-over pattern shown in two colours rather close to each other. When I knit the Grandson for Joe I ordered the yarn from somewhere Scandinavian. What yarn? And who did I order it from? I might be able to find out from blog archives. I knit a circular swatch, I remember, and took measurements from a sweater he already had.

I'll look at Starmore's Sweaters for Men before Archie gets here this afternoon.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

We watched the Great Debate last night. I set myself to get all the way through without commenting or responding to my husband's outrageous remarks, and I succeeded.

It's all pretty scary. It's not something we can undo in four years time. This is forever. We saw an old friend at the Games, a distinguished advocate, now retired. He's a Yes. I would like to spend an hour with him, talking about the things that worry me, currency and university pensions among them. I know other Yes's but none of them (including my husband) much given to thinking about such thungs.

Generally speaking, the Range-Rover-Country-Casuals crowd are No's and seeing them out in force at the Games with their perfect picnics was enough to drive anybody into Alec Salmond's arms.

If Scotland votes Yes, England will never have a Labour government again (they don't seem to have realised this yet) nor Scotland a conservative one. I fear talent will leave, as Ireland has lost the Protestant Ascendency. Good riddance, you may think, but with it have gone Yeats and Shaw and Joyce and William Trevor.

Cathy's new book is out, “Splintered Light”, another young-adult title like her last one, Carnaby. I'll tell you about it when I've read it. She's good. She is full of gloom, however, about the business of writing.


Again, not much. Meadow Yarns have been on holiday so I'm still using a 150cm needle on the border of Rams and Yowes. I should get the new needles this week, maybe even tomorrow – I've ordered both 100 and 120 cms. The corners are sort of reluctant to be pushed along. I think it will go better on a shorter needle. I am about to finish the fourth of the nine stripes on the outward-going side.

Sue sent me this interesting link to a YouTube video of garter-stitch-in-the-round done by wrapping and turning. The turn-line is obvious but very neat. For now, I'll carry on purling alternate rounds, but once I have extricated myself from these eternal sheep I'm going to do some serious swatching of both that system and Fleegle's brilliant one.

Archie will be here tomrrow. I must assemble a little portfolio of gents' sweaters for him to contemplate. Rachel's son Joe appeared at the Games in his Grandson Sweater, surely a candidate for the title of the most successful sweater I've ever knit. I will consider something Scandinavian for Archie.

My husband has another dentist's appt today – another bump should be added to the edging of the Unst Bridal Shawl.