Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A beautiful day yesterday; not so this morning. No hope of natural-light-on-the-doorstep for the Green Granite Blocks.

Otherwise, however, all is well. I have reached the row in which the front-of-blocks dots for the sixth rank will begin to be inserted, and indeed if all goes swimmingly, I should finish the back of the jacket tomorrow.

The computer was slow-as-molasses yesterday, but remained connected. I bought and downloaded and printed – not without difficulty -- both the Emily Dickinson shawl pattern (Ravelry link yesterday) and Anne Hanson’s “Pine and Ivy”. The latter a strong contender: the Faculty Meeting Knitter alerted me to it a while ago, but doesn’t seem to be knitting it yet.

I also flipped through a few books, feeling sort of Faroese. But Faroese usually means fingering weight, and it’s lace weight or finer we’re after here. The Dickinson one is gossamer, and I think really should wait until the yarn fast is over and it can be knit in a proper Dickinsonian grey.

The pattern disappoints by not telling me how to attach beads. It doesn’t tell me how to knit, either, so perhaps that doesn’t constitute grounds for grumbling. I’d need “273 clear glass 6/0 Japanese beads” and a 1mm crochet hook. The positions for the beads are marked on the charts. Good old Google will fill the gap, if I ever get that far.

Now I must seek out some possible yarns.

Slow cooking

I had a good time last week with my new toy. As a way of life when lots of people are about, Helen is right that cooking in the morning while the kitchen is full of breakfast and chaos is a good way to start the day. Then clean it all up and off you go.

I wished somewhat that I had bought the smaller John Lewis programmable slow cooker which I recently gave Rachel. My one seems awfully big, even for four adults. And a couple of meals were near-spoiled by, I think, being cooked for too long. I don’t really need to program it. I can come in from my vegetable-growing at what I deem the appropriate time, and turn it on.

And when Helen gets here next week, she’ll straighten me out on the whole topic.


I have been reflecting lately on the near-miracle of the fact that we can afford to eat at all. I know about agri-business and chemicals and all that. But even so the production of food seems so labour-intensive when one is actually doing it that I am astonished that anyone can do it, and harvest and package and ship the stuff, and sell it – with a generous slice for the seller – at a price anyone can afford.

And in the olden days, three thousand years ago before agri-business and chemicals were invented, how did people grow enough food to support cities? In villages and towns, people can continue to grow a lot of their own. But not in cities. Wheat, is the answer. It still supplies 20% of all calories consumed in the world, I learn from the Economist. Rice, another 20%.

Mary Lou, I will keep walking onions well away from the strawberries. Thank you.


  1. Rachel had much the same problem at first--some meals were close to overcooked. The programmable one, though, will turn itself on at a specified time during the day and that's what she did as a solution. Yours won't do that? I suspect that smaller meals in the bigger pot may be a problem too--but coming back at lunch and turning it on doesn't seem like a huge burden.

  2. I vote for the Dickinson Shawl after looking at both patterns. Especially as that shawl's inspiration has a connection to you. They are both lovely but the gossamer look of this one is delightful. There are several techniques for adding beads. For finer weight wool I use a tapestry needle and a length of cotton. Slip the needle through the bead, hold the threaded bead in the left hand, slip the needle through the stitch and back through the bead. Tug and the stitch slides of the needle and the bead slips onto the stitch then I pop the stitch back on the needle and pull the thread out. Sounds wordy but once you have done a few times you get the rhythm. I also much prefer #8 beads rather than #6. The sixes are a little to heavy for gossamer weight, in my opinion.

  3. kieran1:54 PM

    Thanks for buying the pattern - beading info is here:

  4. Maureen in Fargo7:41 PM

    I love Pine and Ivy and bought it a few weeks ago. While trying to decide on a yarn for it I got sidetracked onto a different shawlette (Merope) which I'll have to finish first. I'm thinking Pine and Ivy needs a fairly solid-color yarn...

  5. I think there is beading info on how to use a crochet hook with knitting attached to Knitty's "Ice Queen" pattern. I know several ladies at the Oberlin knit shop used that pattern to learn how to knit with beads. (And I do miss my Oberlin knit ladies!)

    I like the Dickinson Shawl myself- but I am off lace knitting right now. Actually I am off knitting in general. Everything I made I have screwed up in some way since this winter, so I am just crocheting at the moment. Trying to work out the bad knitting karma that seems to keep arising...