It has been an eventful month, and that’s just in our little world, nevermind on the larger world “stage” (the term almost ceases to be metaphorical). Just after my last post, Michael had a bad cycling accident. He was coming home from work in the evening, after several days of working long hours, and in the dark he didn’t see a metal roadsign that for some reason was on the path. We spent the night at A&E but very luckily nothing was broken. He always wears a helmet, and that was split by the impact. As we were finally leaving A&E at 5 am, he said to the nurse, “I just want to get into a hot bath.” To which she replied (imagine a Glaswegian accent) “Ach no, you dinna want to dae that – you don’t want to have to call the Fire Brigade to get you out!”
Over the next few days, the Dafter helped her Dad get used to using crutches, and showed him how to use a chair to get in and out of the bath. He has had a little peek into her world of effort and pain just to do simple things. And of course not only did I lose my auxiliary for a couple of weeks, but I had two people to take care of. However, we are so grateful that it wasn’t worse. He’s now able to walk without crutches, although he does still look a bit like a gunslinger who’s just been in a shootout.
Here is a little visual pun he left for me while I was out doing grocery shopping:
Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving Day in America, but we had our Thanksgiving last Saturday. I was worried I wouldn’t find a source of pumpkin puree for the first year since coming here in 1992, but I managed at last. Here is (was) my pumpkin pie:
Michael was recovered enough to make our meal, and Our Son came from Edinburgh to celebrate with us:
The Dafter and Our Son taught themselves how to play Chinese Checkers. We told them how when we were graduate students, with only a radio and no tv or internet, we used to play games a lot.
They learned very quickly, and ended up having a three-way game with Michael (two star points per player). It was a good family time.
Thanks for your concern for Tilly. She has fully recovered from her two operations, and has been very affectionate and funny. She meows at us in ways she never used to, and has been quite playful. She and the rats have become a bit more used to each other. One afternoon I had the rats in their sling (which I patched up after they half-devoured it) and Tilly just came and curled up on my lap. It was a very peaceful half-hour:
Thanks also for your good wishes to the Dafter. She has continued to find college a struggle, and also the shortening days, and the number of colds and bugs about. But on she goes!
The weather has been cold and frosty, with some beautiful sunny winter days. Today the frost on the grass never melted:
We’re now a month from the solstice, and the sun is low in the sky. The sun rises about 8:15 and sets about 4.
I’m particularly glad that Michael is making a good recovery, because we have a special party to go to! Here I am trying on my party dress – very relieved that it still fits! I bought it in a vintage shop many years ago. And I finished a capelet that I made from Louisa Harding’s Nikita pattern. The colours don’t quite match, but I think they all go well enough together:
I have, slowly, been finishing my Oregon cardigan by Alice Starmore. Here, for those of you who are interested in the steeking technique, are photos of how I have been finishing them. I don’t claim by any means that this is the most elegant way of doing it – you can cover the steeks with ribbon and no doubt achieve a much neater cross-stitch than I can. But it works for me, and I want to show you that steeking is completely do-able.
Because the task of finishing steeks isn’t one that I do all that often, I start with the armhole seam as it is the least likely to be visible. The first step is to trim the steek stitches down to two. I do this with sharp scissors, and of course being careful only to cut the steek stitches and not anything else. I also try to do this by natural light, but that isn’t always possible in Scotland in November!
I trim a few inches, and then begin tacking them down. The pattern tells you which colour to use, or you can choose what you feels blends in the best. I tack down the steek both to the backs of stitches, and sometimes to the yarn “floats” of the back side. I feel with my hand underneath that the needle never goes fully through to the front. Because the steeks lie flat anyhow, you’re really just securing them rather than having to force them into some new direction. It is slow work and I rarely finish a great deal in one go. But that is okay because the steeks just wait patiently for me to continue another time.
The finished tacked-down steek:
The right side:
Once I’ve done the armhole seams, I then begin the steeks inside the buttonbands, which are more likely to be visible when I have the cardigan unbuttoned.
I hope to show you the completely finished sweater in my next post!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate it. And a happy end-of-November, and soon the start of Advent, to others! I hope it’s a time of year for coming together with family and friends, and being aware of the things we can be thankful for.