Christmas Quarantine

I purchased this Louisa Harding Willow Tweed yarn last spring and am determined to finish this sweater before
I attend Vogue Knitting Live in January.  I have had lots of quiet time to make lots of progress
on this project.  The picture in the upper right-hand corner is of one of my father's three "spinster" aunts.
  I thought the Edwardian photo went well with my Downton Abbey related post.     
Several days ago, while scrolling through the news feed on my Facebook page, I came across an image of silhouettes of Downton Abbey characters accompanied by the title, “Which Downton Character are you?”  I clicked on a link and took a quiz, one which determined that I most resembled Bates, because I seemed to harbor some deep, “dark secret” from my past.  I was a bit shocked by these results, as, since her introduction last season, I’ve always felt a particular affinity for Lavinia.  Like me, she can describe herself as “a little person; an ordinary person,” and finds herself in awe in the presence of Matthew (her fiancĂ©) and Mary, who are, with their aristocratic bearing and good looks so “fine” (as Lavinia states) and seem destined to share a life that transcends those of mere mortals.  Of course, I digress here, as the subject of this post relates to a nasty strain of the flu that put my family members under house arrest for a week and interfered with any Christmas churchgoing or  festivities.  Naturally, though, when I think of flu Lavinia comes to mind, as she is suddenly stricken by the Spanish flu days before her wedding is due to take place, after she sees and hears evidence of Matthew and Mary’s passion for one another.  Due to her dramatic last days she is forever linked to flu in my mind, especially since I have seen her pale figure expire an embarrassing number of times and the lingering closing camera image of her shot looking down at Lavinia, pale and peaceful in the bed, is forever seared in my consciousness.  
     I have to say that I (and no one else in my immediate family) suffers as gracefully and as altruistically as Lavinia.  On her deathbed she is selfless, telling Matthew that he and Mary were meant for one another, and even after death Lavinia sends a none-too-cryptic message to the servants in the hall which asserts,   “Let them be happy!”  If my recent flu-related grumpiness is any proof, I don’t think I could ever be capable of such behavior.  I even have proof supporting this fact:  displeased with my Downton Abbey character results, I did an Internet search and found another quiz, one which determined that I most resembled the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley, stating, “. . .  you do not suffer anything at all because you refuse to entertain any form of discomfort in your life whatsoever.”  This assertion perhaps best describes how I cope with illness (and everything else).

     Of course, the flu and its requisite quarantine did provide me with lots of knitting time, and I’ve finished one or two items and made progress on others.  As my husband felt well enough on Christmas Eve to go out to a nearby grocery store and then to do a little cooking, my family and I were also able to share two meals together in the dining room (an area that sits forlorn and abandoned most of the year and could be put to more functional use in our tiny home).
I finished this sock monkey during my sick time.   While
this monkey might seem as if he would be out of place in
Edwardian times, sock monkeys have been around for
over a hundred years.  To learn more about this history of these
creatures, check out RoRoArt, a site devoted to sock monkeys! 

I finished this Traveling Vines scarf using a free Ravelry shawl pattern.  The yarn is some alpaca I bought in New York
State last summer.

I don't think that the Alpaca blocks as neatly as
wool, but this scarf is super soft.

     Alas, the New Year is coming soon.  I have a residual cough and congestion, but did manage to venture out to a boot sale I’ve been waiting for and also to make a trip to the bookstore.   The throngs of people in the stores were a bit overwhelming, though, and I was happy to return home to work on my knitting and to peruse my new books.  My new fashion history book (shown below) and the anticipation of the new season of Downton Abbey (starting here in the US on January 6) have put me in the frame of mind to knit something ethereally romantic, just the sort of thing reminiscent of pale Lavinia,  who may not have been destined to be “Queen of the County,” but who set an example of dealing with illness and heartache to which I aspire.  

This image is from Barnes
and Noble., where this book is available
to purchase. 

I used two skeins of this yarn to make a collar from a Louisa Harding pattern.  I am not happy
with any of the photos I've taken of this piece, but will add one with someone modeling it at a later time.



  1. I hope you and your family are feeling better soon! As always I enjoyed reading your post. The sock monkey is cute and I love the scarf you made. Alpaca is super soft, isn't it :) That's how the mitts I just made are.. The fashion history book looks really interesting; I am looking forward to seeing what it inspires from you :)

  2. So sorry you have been unwell. So miserable being ill over Christmas but it has a nasty tendency to happen. Really hope you are feeling very much better now. I was fascinated about the idea of a "which Downton character are you?" quiz. And how interesting to come out as Bates and then the Dowager Countess! Must track this down and give it a go! Wonder what I'd come out as? Did you see this year's Christmas Special or is that only broadcast in the UK? Didn't like the sad ending although I fear it was inevitable. I have to say though I love watching Downton Abbey and being drawn into this escapist, fantasy world with its alluring historical roots takes a lot of beating! Love your knitting projects - you make it all seem so effortless but I know it isn't! I love the sock monkey - he is very cute indeed. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with that is Downton-inspired! Take care of yourself. E x

  3. Poor you - it's just not fair to be so ill in the holidays. I like the look of that fashion book - I have a number of historical fashion books too (just about 3 or 4) - I would love to see anything of particular interest in yours - I think it's the way that they cared so much about details and doing creative things with pleats and stitching that really fascinates me - if only we lived in a more leisurely time where we could do that sort of sewing. The latest run of Downton has just finished here - as always it was brilliant and every new dress that the young women turn up in fills me with envy and feelings of "I wonder if I could make something like the" Just today I have been trawling through the vintage vogue patterns online, determined to make myself something feminine and 50s formal - but then I wonder whether it will suit my messy hair and glasses! Hope you feel better soon, Judy.


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