Tunic progress report (and other non-knitting things)

OK, the shoulders of the tunic have been shaped and bound off. I’ve joined one shoulder and knitted on the garter neck border. This involved picking up 112 stitches. I *hate* picking up stitches. It’s the only thing I hate more than knitting button holes.

Wanna know what I get to do now? Down each side of the front and back of the tunic, I have to pick up 188 stitches to knit garter stich edging. That’s 188 stitches four times. So in total, for this tunic, I’m going to have picked up 864 stitches. I may well hate picking up stitches, but I’m going to be good at it by the end!

To give you an idea of how many stitches that is, each border needs to be squashed to fit onto my 32″ circular needles. Yowch.

Thing is that I can’t just not to do. The tunic design has vents at the bottom that will look quite terrible without those nice garter borders to neaten up the edging so I’m going to be doing it regardless. My plan right now is to get that all done and the tunic seamed before I leave for Denver. I had been cheerfully planning to take it before remembering that I still need to knit the belt for it and there’s no way the belt will be done in time. Not with all that stitch picking up to do. So it’s not going with me to Denver. Hopefully it will get debuted soon after, though.

Last night I was putting the yarn away for the blueberry hat and happened across the yarn for my next project. I’d forgotten just how pretty the shade of purple that I got looks – now I can’t wait to start that! The good thing is that the only stitch picking up will be around the neck. So perhaps 100-200 stitches, rather than 800+. Although it does have a lace pattern…

In other news, I’m starting to see why Roger Mortimer betrayed the king. He stuck with Edward II even through the worst of the Gaveston affair, but the Despencers are interferring with the government of the realm and removing capable men to replace them with their own cronies. Mortimer had just spent a couple of years wresting Ireland back from the Scots, law and order were being re-established and everyone in Ireland agreed that he was an excellent governer as well as military commander. Removing Mortimer from that position was an utterly stupid move and it was all done because the Despencers were out for vengence against his family. Yes, I can see why he sided with the 90% of barons who revolted against Edward II at that point.

The frustrating thing with the book I’m reading is that, although he’s explaining a lot of things really well, he got very vague about the Despencers. I know from other reading that there is the Elder and the Younger – father and son. The Hugh the Younger is Edward’s favourite (whatever you want to read into that) and Hugh the Elder is Hugh’s father. I honestly cannot remember which of the two it was that married one of the Gloucester heiresses and attempted to buy himself into the Earlship. Problem is that the book doesn’t make this clear. For a large part of the last chapter it was “Hugh Despencer” this or that, without making clear that there were two of them. Then there is occasional reference to it being the younger that did something while his father did something else and then we’re back to one Hugh. For anyone with no knowledge of time (although why anyone with no prior knowledge would be reading a biography of Roger Mortimer is beyond me, I admit) or only hazy recollections, this is incredibly confusing.

And it’s frustrating because in all other areas, the author explains the people and policies so well. Gah!

Anyway, I’m getting a better picture for how loyal Roger Mortimer eventually came to help overthrow the king. As I suspected, it’s partially thwarted ambition but largely because Edward II was the worst king in the history of English monarchs. That really says something about him when he has King John for comparison.

Tonight my knit group is going for sushi. I am already very excited and really want my make, nigiri and tempura yummies *drool*

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