Remember this? It's the edging lace for Houlland, a hap shawl from "The Book of Haps". I completed the 64 peaks of the lace and then got stuck. The next instruction was to pick up 315 stitches along the flat edge, right side facing.
I did this, fairly successfully, but then I noticed that the right side now had quite a solid ugly ridge, while the wrong side looked much better. Clearly I had picked up the wrong row somehow. I tried again, but got stuck. There was no consistent row to pick up and there were several shifts in the line, probably caused by me making small errors as I knitted the lace and not noticing. I put it down after several attempts and gave it up as a bad job.
Recently I mentioned this on Jean in Edinburgh's blog and a knitter from Holland quoted the designer's advice on the matter - the designer, Donna Smith, lives in Shetland. This is how the knitting community works these days.
Now I have not only got the stitches picked up, but I've also realised something else. I don't care for knitting on circular needles. Stitches are hard to count against the cables and there is an awkward shift between the cable and the needle section. But Donna Smith advises using sixteen inch needles. Shetland knitters traditionally would have used wires ie long, thin, double pointed needles for whatever they were knitting. So yesterday I bought a pair of long 3mm needles and the relief is palpable.
So we emerge from the enforced break of the holidays. Many years ago I remember a friend at college stating that she believed she could exist perfectly happily in isolation with Radio 4, some tapestry and a well-stocked library. At eighteen, I have to say that I was doubtful about this - it seemed to leave out a few essentials.
However, with the gym closed and our usual activities on hold it has felt a little like that here. I've been reading Juliet Barker's biography of the whole Bronte family, which runs to some 850 pages. Just at the right time, up came Sally Wainwright's brilliant film, "To Walk Invisible", on the same topic. And then, the serial of "Northanger Abbey" available on catchup in two omnibus instalments...
A little tapestry to work while listening. The extra crewel wool finally arrived and I was able to complete the design. Now I am just working the background stitches, which is much less fun.