Back again, very tired, but with a healthy-feeling, countrified tiredness much to be preferred to the sort that London engenders.
The potatoes have been safely interred. I had hoped to follow them with the first seeds, but Wednesday – the designated day – was wet. The soil was still cold and clammy yesterday morning, so it was the right decision, although a disappointment. May sowings catch up fast on April ones, anyway.
I whiled away the time on Wednesday by making nettle soup. Our own crop of nettles was inadequate, but our neighbour has lots, so I helped myself. The result was mildly interesting and not unpleasant.
I got the soil largely ready for the unsown seeds. I have always wanted to try raised beds, but I always thought I had to get a Man In to make them, or at least order a kit from the ads in the back of Kitchen Garden magazine. Neither procedure would my husband approve. Then when we were in London last time, I read an excellent vegetable gardening book of Alexander’s – can’t remember the title – the man grows his vegetables in Vermont.
And that gave me the idea that I could cobble together a raised bed by myself, using some of the wood which is piled up in the byre for firewood. If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.
Here’s the result. The idea is that it can be cultivated without ever stepping on it, so the soil doesn’t get compacted and doesn’t need digging. Also there’s greater depth of soil. If results are good, I’ll cobble together another one in the autumn.
I finished the body of Ketki’s gansey, as hoped, and the whole project instantly sprang back to life. I have knit the first shoulder strap, not without a struggle, and am cantering down the right arm. The gusset has already been reduced away.
The seven-stitch broken rib pattern from the body appears on the shoulder strap, and will continue down the otherwise-plain sleeve, flanked by the reversed st st pennants from the main pattern. So far so good.
I took a lot of uncharacteristic trouble at the beginning to set the pattern so that the result would be symmetrical. I'm pleased with the result, which you can scarcely discern in these pictures. Thinking sometimes pays off.
It has all become so much fun that I found myself wondering whether I could get Obama elected by knitting Theo a cashmere gansey, instead of a cashmere Koigu sweater. On that subject – there is an interesting article about Maie Landau in the new VK, waiting here when we got back yesterday. She says herself of cashmere Koigu, “The colours are duller, more matte.” So I’m not imagining it.
I like Brown-Reinsel’s snakes-and-ladders pattern. And I like the look of handknitting.com's Mongolian cashmere. Does anyone have any experience of it?
Much more to say, but I can wait. The choice of the April calendar picture is going to be a tough call.