Friday, May 11, 2012

So, off to Strathardle today. This morning’s weather is not quite as bad as yesterday’s wind and rain, but not inviting, and the forecast mentions snow again. This year, I have embraced the Edward Ogden School of Vegetable Gardening – that’s Rachel’s husband, and the idea is to order plug plants as he and thousands do.

Beetroot arrived 10 days ago – I didn’t know you could transplant root vegetables. They are doing all right in a trough outside the front door which had violas through the winter. We’ll put the whole trough in the car.  Climbing beans arrived yesterday, good timing in one sense, not in another. They won’t like snow (they’re frost-tender) and so the poor things can pretty well be written off before I put up their tepee and plant them. I'll try plastic water bottles for protection.

I feel very low in strength and ambition, and the ground has not been prepared as it should have been. And May should invite. It’s not meant to be yet another month for huddling by the fire with one’s knitting. But this is it, date-wise, and I must at least plant the cheerful, delicious indestructibles who love the Strathardle challenge, peas and broad beans and potatoes.

My sister and her husband are safely home. The journey took more than 24 hours, and the last stretch, where they were driving their own car, was done in pouring rain. But they're there.

Thank you, Catmum, for the link to the old photograph of Drummond Place. For a moment, I wondered if that were our front door. It isn’t: we have more steps, and the slope outside our door is in the other direction. Drummond Place is built on a steep hill – the architectural accommodations are very ingenious. How tidy everyone was then, with those uniform curtains at the various windows! And I agree, the tricycle is wonderful.

Those lampposts caused an awful fuss – and no wonder. In the end (as the notes with the picture do not mention) the residents contributed the money themselves to have the them removed and replaced with what I suppose could be called fake gas lights of pleasanter appearance and much more modest dimensions.


No blocking got done, but we did finish the task we had set ourselves as far as Dropbox was concerned, including a nudge for the Man at the Tate, and I did get around the second Gibson-Roberts heel.

It went a bit better this time. I’m sure I’ll never use it again. I can’t even say, I’m glad to have added it to my repertoire, because I couldn’t possibly do it again without the book. But I am glad to have experienced it, especially if it is a pioneer moment in the evolution of the short-row heel.

The result is very neat, and very right-angled. My husband keeps saying that he thinks he could get socks on more easily if the angle were gentler, and I’m thinking of trying a Sweet Tomato heel for him.

I’ve been corresponding with Kristie about Zauberball. I was confused -- she once knit a "plain" Zauberball, and didn't enjoy it because the yarn is unplyed. Crazy Zauberballs -- like the one she gave me -- are plyed.  I looked again at the Cranberry Zauberball I will soon start knitting for my sister, and sure enough, unplyed. We'll see.


  1. Anonymous8:56 AM

    I don't understand why anyone would give a friend a gift of a yarn brand which they did not enjoy knitting?

  2. It seems so strange to hear of you planting the summer vegetables when my father has just put in some bulbs!

  3. I'm with Kristie. The old Zauberball, unplied was awful. crazy Zauberball is pleasant to use and FUN.Safe travels and happy planting.

  4. Anonymous1:48 PM

    I have knit both types of Zauberball and prefer the Crazy but the other is not that bad. If anything, it sort of wound back on itself.
    I really thank you for writing "plyed" and "unplyed" - I think I have written it incorrectly with an "i". We live and learn.
    Ron in Mexico

  5. Sarah JS3:48 PM

    The weekend weather around here is also turning back to late winter/early spring. Rain down there this weekend, possible snow in the mountains. This after a couple weeks of summer-like temps in the 70 - 80F range (~20 - 27C).

    And just to close the loop. Kid #1 has decided to forge her own path & go to a college in Minnesota. She enjoyed her visit to Oberlin (particularly seeing her grandfather), but the fit was better at the other school.

    Safe travel!

  6. Anonymous4:36 PM

    I've knit both the Zauberball and the crazy Zauberball and find that the latter knits better as socks, while the uplyed version makes beautiful scarves and shawls. No problem with either with twisting, it just has a softer handle, which I don't find that convincing for a garment which is going to get the hammer of a pair of socks. My mum and aunts are all thrilled with their Evelyn Clark Karin shawls, if you're looking for any inspiration - one ball exactly makes a shawl on 3.50mm needles, so wastage!
    Hope you have a great weekend, with lots of relaxation and knitterly planning xx

  7. Hi Jean,
    I am joe's girlfriends mum, the snood knitter......
    He has told me about your blog and I have finally stumbled on it!
    Your socks look fantastic,I am still at a very beginner level with mine,all lumpy and baggy or tight,when you are visiting London next it would be lovely to meet ..... I can show you some of my snoods!!
    my husband is cycling at Pitlochry this weekend, I think you have some connection..