Step 1: Decide to make a grey and purple tam to match your new cashmere scarf.

Step 2: Order real Shetland yarn from Lerwick. (Momentarily thank your lucky stars you don’t live in Lerwick this time of year.)

Step 3: Receive yarn and discover that you’ve mis-gauged the color value of one of the purples. Stew a bit.

Step 4: Decide to replace miscreant purple with black. Find new tam pattern that will show colors off to best advantage.

Step 5: Realize that it’s Saturday afternoon, and you’re not going to be able to buy any yarn until Monday. Start another project to tide you over. (Moss-stitch gloves on 2.75 mm needles. Why pick something easy?)

Step 6: Go to four different yarn shops, crossing central Madrid twice, in search of one skein of black DK weight yarn. Walk blocks and blocks in the not-good-for walking shoes you wore, reasoning that you’d just take the bus to the yarn shop and back home again. Break for lunch and a nap between shops 3 and 4.

Step 7: Discover in the process of visiting all those yarn retailers that The English Cut has a new section of Rowan yarns and quilt fabrics. Quake silently at the thought of what might happen to your budget as a result of this discovery.

Step 8: Return in triumph with the skein of yarn you bought at the shop that you thought of going to first but didn’t, reasoning that black DK yarn would be in stock just about anywhere.

Step 9: Take off uncomfortable shoes. Write blog post. Cast on 144 stitches.