Search Terms of 2016

It is always interesting to find out what people were actually looking for when they found this blog. Happily, WordPress lets me indulge this curiosity by giving me a list. Let us delve, therefore, into the strange and murky depths of the catalogue.

2011 Library of Congress USA 5466788868 card catalog86 searches were simply for ‘deborah makarios’ – hello, Google-stalkers! It always helps if you know what you are looking for in this life, and since I’m about the only Deborah Makarios in these here interwebs, I flatter myself that these 86 searches at least, got where they intended to go. (Be careful what you wish for.)

Handwork formed something of a theme among the more common searches. Nine were for variations on ‘what do I use instead of a darning egg?’ Eight would have found their answer here; the ninth, who wanted to know how to make one, probably went empty away. (Ideas?)

Six searches came to roost on my review of the Karnation needles, though whether they were looking for a review or the needles themselves, I couldn’t say. The needles, you may be interested to hear, are still going strong; I’ve even managed to get the 16-inch cord to work.

One searcher wondered ‘how to make a nightgown out of a sheet’ – like this one. The two searches for ‘deborah makarios jabberwocky patterns’ knew exactly what they wanted – and got it – and so, I suspect, did the person searching for ‘fantastical taxedermy’. This would be a bit much of a coincidence if not.

Unlucky Jackalope 4891624513Eight searchers were puzzling over the meaning of wearing a padlock around the neck, including one who asked if it was offensive (I hope not), one who asked what it means when a man wears one (no idea), and one who simply search for ‘a padlock’ and who may or may not have been startled at what they fished up. Incidentally, while the description of the padlock says it has a brass hasp, the reality is that it has a brass-coloured hasp. Or rather, had. Now it’s just plain steel.

Three searchers were looking for the Shakespeare mask – by which I presume they mean the Guy Fawkes/V for Vendetta/Anonymous mask as shown here. Another three were looking for floor-scrubbing, and found their way to the post in question alongside a couple of searchers who seemed to be looking for the first picture therein.

Then there were the search terms I flatly fail to understand: two searches for ‘makarios shine’ (I don’t think I do), and one for ‘the magic tea and books image’. Sounds fun – I wonder if they found it. Also ‘figure skating spins’ which I’m pretty sure I’ve never mentioned. Until now.

Yukari Nakano donut2Then there were those – always dear to my heart – in search of eccentricity: ‘how eccentric am i’ asked one, and was promptly provided with a helpful assessment tool. Another was looking for ‘suitably eccentric,’ and I certainly hope they found it here. One searcher wanted ‘reasons for being odd one out’ – though if they were hoping for explanation rather than motivation, they may have been disappointed.

One looked for ‘wizards in english literature’ – a popular post; I think people enjoy having lists of things. I am still embarrassed about changing the title from ‘favourite wizards’ to ‘great wizards’ only to realize, after I’d posted it, that one definitely qualified only for the former category, as I’m the only one who’s ever encountered him.

One searched for ‘nightmares mining’ – one of my earliest posts. Another searched for ‘honoria plum’ – she’s over here; Wodehouse fans take a look. One poor soul searched for ‘pretending lazy husband’ – mine isn’t. Others searched for help with procrastination (try here and here), or getting out of bed (see previous), or a secret identity name generator (this post might have what you’re looking for).

Rh Louise Crawford22
Other odds and ends include Agamemnon’s bath (here, with a lot of other bathers); ‘god is working his purpose out nicholas nickleby’ – a good song, it’s by Arthur Campbell Ainger; ‘women signature fountain pen ink color’ – mine is Havana Brown; ‘makarios sex’ – none of your business; and ‘connotation of virtue’ – a question which is still waiting for an answer, so feel free to add one.

And then of course there are the 546 search terms designated as ‘unknown’!

What search term first brought you here? And if you’re a blogger yourself, what are the highlights from your search term list?

Those Darned Sleeves

Remember that scene in Cool Runnings when they arrive in Calgary and Sanka rushes back into the terminal to put on everything in his bag, followed by the bag? Thirteen years ago, that would have been me arriving in New Zealand, had my grandmother not met us at the airport with a better bag: a bag full of woollies, knitted with her own two hands.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-E0127-0091-003, LPG Schenkenberg, Mitglied der LPGThat bag included a grass-green guernsey for me, a garment which I immediately put on and have worn for large parts of every year since. When it was two years old, I wore it to said grandmother’s funeral, along with some of my similarly guernseyed cousins (she was a very productive woman, my gran). I have done many wardrobe clear-outs over the years, of varying levels of drasticitude, but I have never considered getting rid of my guernsey.

So you can imagine my distress on noticing that the cuff was wearing thin at the fold. But we were in the middle of moving house, packing everything up and so on; hardly a good time to settle down to some mending. I did manage to go through the box of ancestral happiness which contained all the odds and ends of wool left behind by this same knitting grandmother, looking for matching wool to mend with. Alas, there was not so much as a scrap of the original yarn, but I pulled out a few greens and packed them separately, so as to have them to hand.

Imagine my horror, on one of our first mornings in this house, when I pulled the guernsey on and my finger went through a hole.

This is what our camera thinks grass-green looks like.

There was no time to be lost. I found the assortment of green yarns and compared them with the original to decide which was closest. There was one that was Close Enough to Do, I decided; no need to hit the shops before a mend could be undertaken. The next question was one of method. It may be “sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,” but for raveled sleave of guernsey you need some kind of a darn.

Results having finally come through (or rather worn through) from the sock-darning experiment, I thought I would go with the classic back-and-forth darn. One of my vintage handwork books recommends a sort of Swiss darning for holes in knitted things (there’s a tutorial here if you dare), but I quailed at the thought. I was by no means sure of my ability to execute it correctly – and the idea of taking scissors to the beloved garment brought me out in a cold sweat. This was no mere sock, after all. This was the last garment my gran ever made for me, and while there may be knitting where she has gone (I sure hope there is), they don’t allow for forwarding to the bereaved descendants.

The stakes were high. I gathered my materials from the various locations to which a state of partial unpackedness had spread them.

Darning flat: no egg required.

The actual darning wasn’t too much trouble, once I’d figured out a way to weave the needle in which didn’t leave long strands on the wrong side – or right side, if the cuff is folded back, though I doubt there is a right side for long unattached strands. There was more to do than I’d realized, however: the hole was small, but the eight-ply-worn-almost-to-lace section ran about halfway round the cuff. It took a while.

The problem with darning, as identified by Miss Mary Grant, is that it is not exactly mentally invigorating – but it does require you to keep your eyes on what you are doing. Happily, however, ears are not a necessary part of the darning equipage, and you can listen to music, download an audiobook from Librivox, or, like me, get your nearest and dearest to read aloud to you while you work. It tends to take longer than you think. Just when you reach the end of the patch with your up-and-downs, you realize now you have to do all the back-and-forths (or vice versa).

At least the camera’s odd rendition of colour makes the mend easier to see.

But at last it is finished. I am happy to say that the sleeve was saved: the darning not only captured any thread that was thinking of unravelling, but reinforced the whole worn area. It’s thick and sturdy now, I think it will survive.

Wikipedia describes the guernsey as “a particularly hardy item of clothing” and notes that “It is not uncommon for a guernsey to last several decades and be passed down in families.” I don’t know if my guernsey will last that long (though it is well into its second decade now), but I intend to give it every opportunity to do so.

Who knows? Maybe one day I will even have the guts to try Swiss darning. It’s certainly more beautiful than plain darning. Still, while my mend may not be pretty, it’s practical, and that’s what guernseys are all about. And I am glad that my practical skills can keep the guernsey together while it keeps me warm.

The mended cuff.

Today’s bit of Old-Fashioned wisdom is brought to you by the guernsey: Keep Warm and Carry On.