Yesterday was very much a day of mixed fortunes. Gill’s day certainly did not go to plan; her Land Rover failed its test for a start…

Let us start at the ferry, and with that sock.

It was the Varagen yesterday morning. We like the Varagen; we can sit in the cafeteria, in plain daylight, with a table for our knitting and a bacon butty at hand. I got my sock out, Gill was working on some handspun fingerless mitts.

The sock is a  monster and will need to be frogged. I recognised this really on Tuesday night when I started the project. I was in denial however and removed from my project bag all the materials and tools that I need to begin again, and took only the minimum with me to town. All that I had was that sock, I  had no reading with me or anything else to help pass the time.

We discussed it and agreed that frogging was required. With nothing else to do, I rationalised that I might as well carry on. There was a chance that the leg pattern would pull the fabric in and that the sock would be the right size after all. If it continued to be too large, I would have had practice at the stitch pattern and when I began again, I would have an even nicer sock. We both agreed that the yarn is lovely. Far too nice to waste on socks, so frogging it would liberate it for something more showy.

The slipstich and cable pattern proved to be fiddly and slow initially, so I made it all the way up to the final row of the chart, though did not start on it, before berthing in Kirkwall.

We dropped the Landy off at the test centre and started our day in Shearer’s, where I was delighted to find a 12 hole tartlet tray with rounded cups. That is something that I have been seeking for years, having lost my vintage ones in the Great Divorce Debacle. I brought one home, though would have liked two. Gill failed to find the no-kill mousetraps that she was seeking. A quick browse in Simply Wool ensued. We were strong and bought nothing but I did identify a potential yarn for the not-balaclava for Mr L.

Another side excursion into the antique shop saw the purchase of a small chest of drawers for the Studio – the one that we already have will go to live at Hillside. The new one offers more and shallow drawers suited to display of knitwear. The deeper 2 drawers of the current chest are better suited to storing Gill’s winter woollies. We arranged to pick the chest up with the Landy later, and went to lunch at The Reel (Curried Cauliflower and Potato soup.)

After lunch:

  • I failed to buy seasickness tabs for Mr L, due to not knowing  the names of his current medications
  • We fondled cashmere in the EWM, and Gill purchased… cotton hankies.
  • We went to the music shop to look at a guitar, but they were closed
  • We tried Wisebuys and Dealz, to see if they had mousetraps, but unsuccessfully

On the way back to the test centre, Gill exclaimed that we had forgotten to go look for buttons for the owl hat. It was too far to go back… then I suggested that we go to the Wool & WIne (Tait & Style yarns etc.) shop behind the Longship, as I remembered they had some old drawers with buttons in.

We walked in. No wool! The wool is all gone and has been replaced by … FOOD! Italian deli foods, as we walked in and then… right in front of us… CHEESE! and OLIVES! I bought three cheeses, some olives, and a jar of what turned out to be rather fantastic caramelised onion chutney (married, for tea when I got home, with a sour dough bread from Tesco.) I was so happy. Delirious. Delighted. Almost speechless. Good cheese and fresh olives. In Kirkwall.

It turned out that buttons were still at hand, and Gill bought some beautiful wee wooden ones. Not what we had set out to find, but perfectly in tune with the yarn and the hat.

The LR had failed the test, so we could not pick up the chest. Arrangements have been made to collect it when next in town.

I went to Tesco and failed to buy the new duvet that I needed – they were all out of stock. Gill went to the Dentist and got bad news. I went to Lidl after Tesco, and Gill failed to get up to Hatston.

We filled the LR up and went back to the ferry, where I got my knitting out and showed everybody just how monstrous that sock really is. Yes, the pattern was pulling in but, well, it would make a Christmas Stocking, this thing. I carried on knitting on the way home. I don’t know why, but there really was nothing else to do. I shall frog later.

Now, I don’t know what to do. I only cast on the sock in order to have some occupation yesterday. I don’t need the socks and am not particularly wedded to the pattern. The yarn will certainly be re-used elsewhere. So, should I pick another  yarn and start again with a smaller size, or simply not bother. I don’t need more ferry knitting until the 19th, by which time I may have Hunter’s pattern for testing and will need to focus on getting those done quickly. On the other hand, I seem to be functioning below par today and a little light sock knitting may be just what I require.

In Other News: our central heating won’t run today. Thankfully the weather is mild but it’s not great news. Things like this can take a long time to fix  up here… delays with parts delivery etc. and especially in the Christmas postal season. I am particularly worried as Mr L’s illness seems to make him feel the cold – he has been complaining a lot recently that he cannot get warm, at the same time as I have been divesting my woollies and complaining that the house is too hot. He’s going to look at it after work today and we hope that it won’t be anything too major. I’d like him to get somebody in and hand over the stress, but he’s digging his heels in just now.

I think we should have a nice warming soup  for lunch today. It will need to be a barley broth – I have no potatoes.


  • Heating problem diagnosed – the pump has failed,  probably the bearings. This is familiar ground and can be DIY.
  • There is a large pot of Minestrone brewing. I like minestrone, it’s a chuck-everything-in-it kind of soup, and who doesn’t love soup and pasta?
  • There are also some very large bowls in the kitchen accommodating some Mincemeat-in-Progress
  • The monster sock has been snapped for  posterity – a bit bleached by the flash but the best that I can do right now as the workbench is full and won’t accommodate my photo gear.
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