Saturday, October 10, 2015

My husband was listless when I saw him yesterday – most uncharacteristic. A nurse said that he had been trembling, or shivering, in the morning and they had given him diazapam (=valium; I won't check the spelling), which probably accounts for it. Things seem to be more or less under control. The fever is down. He is being given oxygen, and a course of intravenous antibiotics. Alexander and Ketki and the boys were over – still are, at a grand hotel – but didn't get to talk to him because he was asleep. They'll call in this morning before dashing westward home to watch the rugby.

We have been worrying, like you, Shandy, about whether the care package will stay in place. He may need even more care. We can't have him bunged up for weeks again, just waiting for carers. We may have to work out a deal between Lothian Council and our private provider. The Occupational Therapist is a key figure – (s)he it is who pronounces on how much care is needed.

He is in a nice, quiet respiratory ward. Four gents. Three of them, like himself, on oxygen yesterday. Three of them, like himself (but a different three), in bed. All quiet. Nobody singing folk songs as in dreadful Urology back in May. The television wasn't even on. I wonder if they'll watch the rugby?


I have renewed my subscription to IK for two years, and am grateful to you for straightening things out for me. I cannot believe that I am the only knitter in the world who leapt to the conclusion that a subscription running until Winter 2016 didn't need to be renewed quite yet.

And I have been happily weighing yarn. I am grateful to Liza for searching the blog and telling me that I ordered eight skeins of Whiskey Barrel, and to others for telling me how to do it myself in future.

The back of the Sous Sous used about 350 grams – that was a surprise. I thought I had used just about exactly three skeins. I think I am probably about halfway through that pattern – the front is substantially smaller than the back, and the sleeves are very small.

It is harder to estimate how far along I am with the vest, since front and back have been knit together up to the armholes. Two/third's? It weighs about 270 without its attached ball of yarn, 320 or so with it. That's including the needle, of course.

Despite that mysterious extra 50 grams in the Sous Sous, I have used three skeins so far for it, and am nearing the end of the third skein to be employed in the vest, and have two complete skeins to go. It is very satisfactory indeed to know that much. I may have enough already to finish the vest. I will need another three -- call it four -- for the Sous Sous.

I don't really need to order more until the eighth skein is wound and joined in. I will order generously, as always, but I shouldn't need to have a whole bagful of leftovers.

I keep eyeing the beautiful package of Roasted Hatch Chillies – madtosh DK – that my husband judged too bright for his vest. I've left it out where I can eye it regularly. It brightens my day. Something for somebody for Xmas? An infinity scarf, perhaps? A knock-about-the-house sweater for myself (it's said to be washable), perhaps a fisherman's rib?

And speaking of actually wearing sweaters one knits, I find that the Relax is almost always the one I reach for. A bit of warmth, just the right amount, and delicious ease. Hellie Kiernan has my first attempt, and I believe wears it often. Gauge wasn't the difficulty. It came out the size I was aiming at – I hadn't grasped that the pattern needed far more ease. Hellie – she was Hellie Ogden in those days – is tiny; my first attempt is just right for her. I'm awfully glad I went ahead and did it again.

Go, Scotland!

Friday, October 09, 2015

Here we are. I'm sorry for the gap. My husband is back in hospital with a chest infection.

We were doing pretty well, with lots of help. On Tuesday afternoon, after his nap, he was a bit droopy. On Wednesday morning the diabetic nurse took his temperature and found it somewhat up. (No figures, because I still can't think in New Money, when it comes to body temperatures.) She phoned the practice and the GP came zipping around and prescribed a strong antibiotic, hoping to keep my husband at home.

He was well the rest of that day, but started vomiting in the night and by yesterday morning was very weak. Temperature even higher, and oxygen saturation poor. So they took him away.

I am finding the peace and quiet rather welcome this morning. And a good night's sleep has repaired the ravages of the night before. I'll phone the ward soon for more news.


I had the wit to grab the Pakokku socks before we set out in the ambulance. I found I couldn't remember them at all. My electronic Filofax (Lotus Organizer, very second millennium) says that I started them in mid-March. I might learn something if I turned back to the blog. Hospital examination and admission is a tedious business, and I got quite a bit done.

And the day before, I got the underarm decreases for the back of the sleeveless vest nicely started. Mary Lou, it hadn't even occurred to me to resort to weighing to determine how much yarn I have used. Brilliant! Even more useful was the commenter who told me how many skeins of Whiskey Barrel I ordered in the first place – except that I can't find that comment, and would be glad to have it again to spare me trailing back through the blog myself.

Thanks to many of you for advice on heavyish v-neck sweaters. There's a real possibility at LLBean if I can sell my husband on a Henley neck (like Archie's). And I mean to explore the other excellent-sounding suggestions. I think lambswool is going to be too light and office-y.

Carol Feller's new book on short rows turned up yesterday – I must have pre-ordered it. I'm only a few pages in, and it looks interesting.

I keep getting letters from IK urging me to renew at once so as not to miss an issue. My address label seems to show that the subscription expires with the issue of Winter 2016. I had better examine my records and the old-IK-issue pile to make sure they don't mean 2015. Winter 2016 is far too far away to think of renewing now. I could be dead by then. Quis scit an adiciant hodiernae crastina summae/ tempora di superi?, as Horace has it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Another good day. The private-care woman was wonderful at finding things that needed doing (there are lots) and doing them, instead of constantly having to be set the next task. Cathy and I went out to lunch – l'Escargot Bleu, Broughton St., highly recommended. She is now back in Sydenham, much missed.

I finished the fourth Dunfallandy square, still without mishap, and have moved back to the sleeveless vest. The underarm is now perhaps five rounds away, and should be reached today. Soon I will have to try to estimate with accuracy how much more yarn to order.

I bought this stuff (madtosh DK “Whiskey Barrel”) in the first place for the Sous Sous, and I'm sure I bought too much. My husband liked it, so the vest is being knit of it, too. I'm half way through the Sous Sous, I think, and the yarn I've got at the moment will carry me well past the half-way point of the vest. That's not the issue. How many skeins did I order in the first place? How many have I used? It would be nice to have it come out more or less right, this time.


You may remember that I paced out my six-month sentence to rat poison and no cider, into four Lents and eight days. (There's no guarantee that the sentence won't be increased to life, but six months is what it says in the little book they gave me.) Well, today is the last day of the second Lent. Weight loss is about 10 pounds all over. Most of the second Lent was spent on one of those plateaus familiar to all dieters, with a nice little drop at the end.

I'd better move on with the day.

Monday, October 05, 2015

All continues well, although without much knitting. Private care for three hours a day is to be added to the mix this morning, and Cathy, who is still here, is fully engaged with the problem. Not of knitting specifically, but of free time for me. My husband likes to have me standing around observing when carers are helping him.

I have, however, nearly finished the fourth Dunfallandy square, still without an error. And I have finished the first skein and wound the second – that always feels like progress. Extrapolation suggests that the centre squares and triangles will use just under half the available yarn, leaving plenty, I think, for the border.

There is not much to add. Kate Davies has posted a luscious description of the initial dispatch of her new (unspell-able, unpronounceable) yarn, to people who have signed up for the Seven Skeins Club. I wish I could be part of this, but there's too much going on.

My husband needs a new heavy-ish long-sleeved v-neck sweater. I was surprised yesterday at how difficult such an item is proving to find on-line. He has an old and highly satisfactory one from Woolovers, but the one currently showing on their website looks as if the “v” is too low. Cables are absolutely out, and so is blue – that limits the choice somewhat. Fisherman's rib would be acceptable, I think.

It's enough to drive one to the knitting needles. I think I'll resume the sleeveless vest, anyway, once this fourth square is finished. I'm in reasonably good case for a March baby.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

I'm grateful for all of your messages, and sorry to have left you in the lurch yesterday. The main difficulty was an Unexplained Connectivity Problem first thing in the morning.

Things are going quite well. I am finding it difficult to keep nimble and keep thinking, but otherwise the burdens are not unmanageable. I need to make more lists and to keep them by the calendar. My husband is pleased with his new cat:

The carers so far are young and pretty and kind and helpful. I had expected grumpy, middle-aged, underpaid.

Alexander and Ketki were here on Friday for the homecoming itself. James and Cathy came up from London for the weekend – Cathy is still here. Everything is being done to spare me effort.


Not much, but I have finished the crunch bit of the fourth Dunfallandy square. It went very smoothly, with the help of the designer's tutorial (link on the Dunfallandy blanket Ravelry page).  I should have looked at it sooner. 

I have been all right from the beginning with the first horizontal cables, when cables already established make a sharp turn and set off on the horizontal. But I was making a bit of a mess of the next ones, which run parallel a couple of rows later. They spring into existence out of nothing.

The difficulty turned out to stem from the instruction to knit 2 and then insert a crochet hook into “the first of the two sts just worked” and pull the working yarn through. Repeat with the second stitch (which will be the one most recently worked, at the tip of the right-hand needle). Put the two new stitches on a cable needle, rotate it, and knit them.

Not entirely easy. My basic mistake was to insert the crochet hook through the loops on the right hand needle. She doesn't mean that. She means “the sts just worked”, exactly as she says – the ones which have just become the-row-below. If you remember that, and keep the crochet hook and the cable needle in front of the work, and rotate it counter-clockwise when the moment comes, everything goes remarkably smoothly and the result looks good.

I'm not going to re-knit the first three squares, although the idea crosses my mind. The forthcoming triangles aren't affected – they're finished when you've done the first horizontal cable.

Rugby didn't go very well for the northern hemisphere yesterday. Scotland at least are still in with a chance. England are out of the World Cup.

Friday, October 02, 2015

You must never go down to the end of the town/ If you don't go down with me:

Well, I'm as ready as I'm going to be. My husband will be delivered home by ambulance sometime this morning. I'll go out in the kitchen any moment now and make Nigella's vegetable soup, which we often had for lunch in the past. Then people will begin to arrive.

Perhaps it will all go smooth as silk and I can spend my days knitting. We have also been thinking along your lines, Shandy, and I believe Greek Helen got back in touch with our chosen nursing home this week.

But we've got to give this a very good trial first. The one thing which has sustained my husband through all these long weeks, has been the hope of coming home. I can't take that away from him without an extremely good reason.

Helen (anon) – that's a good point about the Magnum Opus and the danger of my husband's deleting it all. His fingers are deadly when dealing with technology.

It's all up there in Dropbox. It's also on this computer in a non-Dropbox form. And there are earlier versions hither and yon, including a complete CD in Strathardle. And there is a whole row of physical files with the print-outs. In all this, the very latest changes could go astray, but I think for the last couple of years they've only been fairly minor verbal changes. Except, of course, for the discovery of “Woman at Prayer” in NYC last year.

What will he think of his peculiar cat?


I didn't get quite as far as I hoped, yesterday. I'm a few rows short of the mid-section of the fourth Dunfallandy square. No further mistakes, that's something. I must try to peer at it to see whether I can distinguish all these M1L's and M1R's so conscientiously executed. There's a big difference between K2tog and SSK. I ought to be able to see something like the same difference here if it's really worth all this trouble to do them right.

I'll try to be back here tomorrow. That's the best I can say.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The last day.

I was wrong about the rugby – the Scotland-SA match isn't until Saturday.

All is in reasonable order, I think. The tables I ordered (bedside, chair-side) have arrived at the disability shop. I'll pick them up today. My sister – still in London for a few more hours – has bought a zimmer frame which James and Cathy will bring with them tomorrow. Care seems to be in place.

The (impossible) idea is that the care provided by the City of Edinburgh will make my husband able to live on his own. The private care we have bought in, is icing on the cake and may not even prove to be necessary. My husband said yesterday that they keep asking questions, now that his release is immanent, implying that he lives alone. Unfortunately, he couldn't think of examples.

The downside to this pie-in-the-sky notion is that I may be cut out of some valuable instructions from the hospital about my husband's care. How are his blood sugar levels? I don't look forward to resuming that mental burden. Continence? That is greatly improved, I know, but he has been suffering from some diarrhoea this week, due I think to a laxative administered on Monday, and I need to talk to someone about how to deal with that.

I'd better buttonhole them when I'm in today.

My husband is slightly confused – “some mental impairment”, in their language. That doesn't help, but may be better when he's back here.

I'll keep you posted.


Dunfallandy went well yesterday, with no further errors. I finished the amount I had assigned myself: the third square is done, and the fourth well started. I hope to reach its centre section today – maybe I can even press on to the second horizontal cable. Halmom, I'm glad to hear you're going to do it too. What yarn will you use? We can have a little KAL of our own here.

My husband asked yesterday how his sleeveless vest was getting on, but seemed to agree that concentrating on Dunfallandy while the house was empty and quiet, was a good idea. To my surprise.

I am slipping the first stitch of every row purlwise now, except for a couple of rows where it's impossible. That happens when cables reach the edge, to join up with other cables in other squares. It certainly makes a smoother-looking edge, and I may discover at the end, when I try to sew everything together, why the designer didn't do it.


I said I'd attempt to post a photograph today. Here is Perdita in the catalogue room.

Whoopee! I don't know whether to credit Google Chrome or simply the Advance of Technology, but it's nice to have photographs back.