Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One rained-all-day, three brilliant-sunshine-and-hard-frost. We had a good time, ate a dish of autumn raspberries, some sorrel soup and also an artichoke soup. That was the first harvest from the Jerusalem artichoke tubers the Fishwife gave me on Groundhog Day. It’s a bit early to lift them, but I was curious. Mine are pretty small (so far), compared to the parent tubers, but the soup was delicious.

We also had some perpetual spinach – tough and chewy. My husband wouldn’t eat it. I found it rather tasty, worth the effort. And a first picking of kale – again, too early to start taking it, really, but I thought, if the deer are going to come and get it, I might as well get in first. It was very good.

Not exactly living off the land, but fun.

I got some beds cleaned, manured and covered, including one where artichokes (real ones) are to go.

And I tackled the Japanese hat. It was rather odd, descending from the pure Olympian realms of pattern-decipherment into the heat and dust of needles and yarn. With no edging at all, the bottom edge of the hat curled atrociously and perhaps partly for that reason, but mostly because I had been cavalier about gauge, I didn’t notice until I had finished the top that the hat was seriously too small.

That stopped me in my tracks for a bit. Add some length? Regard the whole thing as a swatch and start again with some Rowan DK? (Two, at least, of the five exemplars on Ravelry were knit with that yarn, and, hey! it’s nearly November.) Eventually I calmed down and chose the first option. I’m adding length, although I fear it will spoil the neatness of the pattern. I’ll need to take a day off Amedro soon to finish it again, and to add a pompom and braids. And block – those earflaps keep trying to flip upwards – aiming for a bit of width.

In my musings about Japanese knitting, before we went away, I found this blog. She's Japanese, her English is fluent, she lives in London, she designs knitwear, she keeps cats. As they say, what's not to like? Maybe I Knit could hire her for a day-class in interpreting Japanese patterns.

Meanwhile Amedro progresses. I have turned the last page of the pattern. There are currently three motif-columns in each wing, and I am about to start nibbling at the outer ones. Pic soon.

I have done a bit of Christmas-browsing (Science Museum, IWOOT) and have retreated, depressed. There seems to be little anyone could conceivably want, and it costs £35. It makes me wonder whether I should try to knit somebody something after all, when Amedro is finished. Christmas knitting is against all my principles, but the situation looks desperate.


  1. My long-standing holiday gift-giving rule has been to give them to the nieces and nephew only. Adults do fine without. The past few years, I've done quite well with unusual and "cool" t-shirts, each carefully selected for the intended recipient and each generally at a sale price. It gives me a certain cachet as the favourite uncle but doesn't distress my wallet excessively.

    I still have a good bit to do to get my own garden in shape for the winter, though I made some headway on Sunday. We have some orach seed that I'm told should go in this fall, at least in part, and I badly need to get my garlic beds in order and planted.

  2. What a great hat! Remember the weight of the braids will help settle down those earflaps.

    I am glad you got to enjoy at least a small amount of your kale. I planted a fall crop but the birds came and ate each of the little plants as they popped up. As a consequence we are having a kaleless fall.

  3. Anonymous5:44 PM

    Will artichokes have the stamina to thrive in Scotland? I grew up in artichoke country (the Northern California coast), and it's much milder than Strathardle seems to be.
    -- Gretchen

  4. =Tamar8:22 PM

    Many years ago my family decided that gifts should be either second-hand or hand-made. Then we went to children-only, and now I just give things as and when I find them, and never mind specific dates, though I do try to send children's birthday cards somewhere near the date.

  5. I have an aunt that gives me a new handbag every Christmas. She has good taste, and I have to say, I look forward to my new handbag.... My parents give me pajamas and slippers. They have for years. The year I lived in Oberlin they gave me some wonderful heavy-duty LLbean moccasins with shearling on the inside... so warm and wonderful that all slippers pale in comparison.

    I have recently started giving people things (before I was too poor of a student to give beyond my immediate family), and what I often do is make a stack of fun, retro, slightly tacky crocheted potholders. They are given in the spirit of fun and my relatives love them. They collect them in fact!!! (the chicken is one I get requests for every year.) It is easy enough, and in fact I need to get going on them. As a rule I rarely knit big things- except for one male friend who lives up north and cherishes my scarves. He's a dear, and actually wears whatever I make him, so some years he gets a scarf....

    (It is nice to have you back, whenever you go off I always miss your blog posts- it is nice to start my day with some Jean)