Friday, July 31, 2015

I'm back with Microsoft this morning. There was much talk of Windows 10 during the day, what with all these boys around. I decided to go ahead. When I tried, all that happened was a Microsoft website telling me to click on an icon – which wasn't there – to get in the queue. Archie knew a way around that. I've now got it installed, and am impressed. The new browser is first-rate. And FreeCell is back! Knitting went as planned – the right side of the dog now complete, Sous Sous resumed. I'll finish the current repeat, the ninth, the last complete one, before moving on to the Tokyo shawl. That's not as much as I hoped for yesterday. I forgot how much there was to do after the last repeat. And I still haven't worked out a system that satisfies for the sidebar percentage. Literature Thank you for the link to Paul Theroux' article about Shirley Jackson, Mary Lou. Interesting. But he doesn't mention the novel I am currently reading, Hangsaman, and indeed rather implies that The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle were her only two novels. I've just finished reading them. They are superb, and very scary. Hangsaman, although itself published as a Penguin Modern Classic, is not as good, at least to begin with, and I was interested to have my hunch confirmed by this website that it came before the two great ones. She published six novels in all. Later Well, here's the first serious hitch in Windows 10. When pasted into Blogger, my prose looks as if typewritten (it was composed in Times New Roman as usual, in Open Office Writer) and is too small -- and the tT symbol has vanished, so I can't set it to large. I'll go back to the Mac tomorrow. ...And when published, the font and its size are OK, but there is no break between paragraphs. And my links are gone. I suspect it is Blogger which will have to change to accommodate Windows 10, but who knows?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

This morning I’ll try Pages, again without moving the margins. Within Blogger, I have set the text to "Large" -- but why should I  have to do that? -- and am pleased to see that Blogger has rearranged the margins appropriately.

Archie spent a lot of yesterday morning installing Windows 10 on his superior, game-playing laptop, and offered to do the same for me. After my recent struggles with the Mac, I don’t feel up to learning a new interface just yet. It looks completely different. “Windows 10 for Dummies” will probably hit the stands next week.

“…for Dummies” is far and away the best of the three Mac books I’ve bought, although the “Seniors” one is helpful at answering simple-minded questions. The file structure, for instance, is the way it has been since DOS, subdirectories within directories. Maybe there’s no other way to do it. But it took “Seniors” to tell me so in plain English.


The branch of Lloyds Pharmacy contained within my local, on-the-way-to-the-hospital branch of Waitrose, didn’t have a pill-cutting tool yesterday. I’ll try the local, Broughton Street pharmacy in a moment. But yesterday I babbled on to the pharmacist about how I was taking Warfarin and my current dose included .5mg and that’s why I needed to cut a pill — the sort of idiot conversation my husband particularly hates. “She doesn’t need to know that.

And she said that Warfarin comes in a .5mg pill, as well as the 5mg, 3mg, and 1mg sizes I’ve already got. So now all I need is a new prescription.


I’ve finished the right side of the Jack Russell’s body, all but the last row and assuming I have attached the right legs — “right” in both senses. I’ll have to unpick the last row, because when it said “p2tog, p4 (hold 5 stitches on spare needle for tail)”, I disregarded any possible significance of the brackets and put the next five stitches on hold — which meant breaking the yarn — instead of the five I had just knit. As I think you can see, below.

There’s a similar problem at the end of the row. I now see that “(hold 11 stitches on spare needle for neck)” means the 11 stitches just knit, not 11 more. That’s perhaps easier, because there aren’t 11 more at that point.

There remains a problem. There were 33 stitches at the end of the previous row. I have been over and over the text for the difficult row, and can only see instructions for 31 of them. No, cancel that — I counted again, and there are 33.

I have knit the body without brown spots, since the target dog doesn’t have any. That speeded things up no end. But I’ll include some brown on tail and head.

So my plan for today is to unpick, re-do, and then turn to the Sous Sous for a day or two — finish the back, cast on the front, work out a percentage scheme for the sidebar.


I am having a Shirley Jackson phase, perhaps not the best choice for one spending a lot of nights alone. remember reading "The Lottery" in the New Yorker when I was 15. I remember where I was (in the car, waiting presumably for my mother) and what the New Jersey weather was like (hot). And my incredulity as I read -- could it really be saying what it seemed to say?

I don't think I've read it again, since that day. Perhaps I had better, to round off the phase. I wish her well-reviewed biography was available in Kindle.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My books came yesterday, so I am attempting composition on the Mac again, using Word (and not fiddling with the margins). Word subscriptions allow five subscribers (generous of them) and I had still had one unused -- which, perhaps remarkably, could be installed on a Mac.

Perdita helps with blogging:


I knit three legs of the dog yesterday. Today I hope to knit the fourth, and establish the body with legs attached.

C. came round to get the pocket squares, to take to London at the weekend. They were still pinned to the dining room floor. I hastily undid them, and was mightily impressed. I had thought it was perhaps a bit OTT,  blocking garter stitch squares. Not a bit of it. Apart from now all being the same size, the texture has changed. The silk (15%) in the yarn is evident. They seemed both heavier and more supple. I am sure they will fold more elegantly.


Many, many thanks for all the book titles. I will store them carefully in Evernote and wait to hear from Rachel about how many more we need. I sent four books down with the pocket squares. I think I’d better order “The Bride of Lammermoor” if it can be had cheaply. We must have that, for a Scottish wedding.

Helen and Fergus went off to Strathardle late yesterday. Archie remains with me. I have spoken to her briefly – all is well, the house neither leaking nor overrun with mice. I don’t know yet, in what state she found the Summer Pudding bush.

My INR was 2.0 yesterday, the minimum acceptable. I am to add .5 mg of  Warfarin to my daily dose. That means splitting a pill. I am not good at it.

I did fine with the Mac until we got to the picture-transfer bit -- couldn't find it in my mailbox. At that point I had to revert. The text looked fine in Word, and on the Blogger "Compose" screen, but has come out rather uncomfortably small when published.

And today we get Windows 10. Archie has promised to install it for me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The errant Follower has returned, or else -- more likely -- someone else has stepped into the breach. Welcome!

Absolutely no knitting to report today. I had an echo test on my heart yesterday afternoon, and then went on to visit my husband, and by the time I got home it was time to think about supper. A vegetable curry which turned out rather well – and Greek Helen got here with Fergus in good time to eat it.

I did at least get the dog book out and put it on the coffee table ready for action. The finished dog is going to be a lot smaller than I had imagined. I was expecting something the size of Sam the Ram, but the book, on close inspection, says that it will be only 6” long and 5 1/2” high to the top of the head. That shouldn't take long.


Thank you for all the suggestions. I was particularly astonished and delighted, Knitlass, by your idea of “Wedding Preparations in the Country” – especially as the party will be in a marquee in Ketki and Alexander's garden and goodness knows what the weather will be doing. And Kafka, of all people! There is a fairly recent Penguin, and I have ordered a cheap 2nd hand copy.

Janet, I had thought of Mitford's “Pursuit of Love” but since reading your comment I think “Love in a Cold Climate” would be better (see paragraph above).

I should have thought of “Member of the Wedding” myself – and Rachel thinks she has a copy. I think I tend to get it confused in my head with Welty's “Delta Wedding”.

Jane Austin won't do, I'm afraid. The game is restricted to titles only. What a pity that first word in Munro's “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage”! Maybe it would be all right. I'll see what Rachel thinks.

Cat, I have never heard of Katie Fforde. Clearly every single title of hers would do nicely. We can keep her in reserve to compensate for any shortage.

I agree about “A Suitable Boy”. I had passed it over on my own shelf simply because it is so big that it would overwhelm any pile which had it as a member. There must be a smaller paperback edition.

And, Sarah, I agree about “The Bride of Lammermoor”. We must certainly have that. I went along a shelf of Scott's yesterday without spotting it. Perhaps we keep a rump of Scotts in Strathardle, and it's there.

There are other suggestions of highly suitable titles of which I have heard neither the book nor the author, including my sister's suggestion of “A Happy Marriage” by Iglesias. She says she'll bring it along.

Many, many thanks

Monday, July 27, 2015

I think I have one follower fewer this morning.

Sorry about late. Archie is here, off an overnight bus from London – my first duty was to feed him.

I've retreated to the old computer for today. I fiddled around with the Mac a bit yesterday. Don't change the margins, is the first thing I learned. But even sticking to good old Times New Roman 12 point, the text on the screen didn't conform. It was very small. I zoomed it larger, for the purposes of composition. But when I pasted the result into Blogger, it reverted to awfully small. I've got HTML for Dummies around here somewhere. Maybe there's a font code I can insert.

The irony of the situation is that I wanted a Mac because I was being driven mad by pop-up ads, and they have largely gone away. Either McAfee or Windows itself must have figured out how to deal with them. So now I've got an extra computer. I ordered both "OS X Yosemite for Seniors" and "...for Dummies".


As planned, I finished a broad stripe on the Tokyo shawl and started the next one, which faces the other way. It's not really difficult, but one must pay attention.

So today, dog. Here is the model:

The knitted dog won't be fluffy like that. Try a wire brush? Is that a difference between Parson Jack Russell (which this dog is) and the plain-vanilla Jack Russell of the pattern? At least he's got nice short legs.


Here's a fun game for you. Rachel phoned last night to say that Hellie, this year's bride, who is a literary agent, thinks it would be nice to have a little pile of, say, three books on each of the tables at her wedding “breakfast”. It was then Rachel's idea, I think, to have all the titles be somehow wedding-related.

Rachel gave off packing yesterday and spent the day rummaging through her piles of books (many of which will have to go into storage – no room in the new house). She's found enough for 7 of the 14 tables, she said. Pretty good going. I then threw myself into the task and have selected “Busman's Honeymoon” (Dorothy Sayers), “The Bridesmaid” (Ruth Rendell), “The Love of a Good Woman” (Alice Munro) and “Delta Wedding” (Eudora Welty). And what about “A Woman in White”?

Our niece C. with whom I recently went to Athens is going down to London this weekend, to help Rachel pack. She can take such books as I have found so far – and the pocket squares, so I don't have to trust the post office.

All title suggestions eagerly received. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I have been struggling with the MacBook Pro my dear children gave me for Christmas. I thought I had composed a post for you, copied and pasted it as usual -- but the margins weren't right. The text spilled off the screen in both directions and nothing I could do would change it. I thought Blogger would adjust such things without being told.

So I am writing this directly in Blogger, just to let you know that I'm all right, and so is Perdita. I knit some more of the Tokyo shawl last night, and should begin the next stripe this evening, facing in the opposite direction. Tomorrow, the dog.

The new, autumn, Rowan book is out. If you go to and click around a bit, you can find a YouTube video showing all the patterns. I like that cover scarf. I mean to go up to John Lewis this morning anyway. I'll have a look.

I have a book called "Switching to the Mac", 780 pages. I've learned a bit, but feel I am drowning in it. I an seriously tempted by "Mac OS X Yosemite for Seniors" which has only 99 pages, although it would be humiliating to order such a title.

Well, that's roughly what I said the first time.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

We've got some pictures today.

Here are the pocket squares.

The differences in colour are illusory – they're all the same yarn and dye lot. They are knit from corner to corner and would look more uniform if I had orientated them for blocking all in the same way. But there are differences in gauge. I'm sure it would have been better if I had knit them all at once, one after another, instead of inserting them into odd moments of life.

At least blocking has managed to get them all more or less the same size.

Perdita was briefly admitted for the sake of the photograph, and then shut out of the room again. She actually pulls the pins out, and I am afraid she might try to swallow one. She is very naughty.

Here is the Fantoosh. Wonderful, isn't it? I don't know what to do with it. I will have the Tokyo shawl to huddle in next winter. I don't need two, and anyway the Fantoosh is more for display than huddling. Who, then?

And here is the Tokyo shawl itself.

I love it. I devoted last night's knitting to it – I find the simple pattern slightly tricky, and was afraid to leave it any longer lest it morphed into a UFO. I'm thoroughly back in the saddle, knitting stripe 16 of 29, plus there's a final edging. Somebody – it must have been on Ravelry – said she had some yarn left over, and made it a bit longer, and was glad she did. We'll see.

Blocking is going to be interesting, with all that bias.

Next week I can start the dog and fit it into the program.