Saturday, February 15, 2014

The fifth repeat of the 19 needed for the centre of the Unst Bridal Shawl is finished, and Archie was safely and easily delivered to the airport. Edinburgh was calm when I left him at about 1pm (Edinburgh has got off very lightly in this extraordinary winter) but he had a long wait for the plane – he was fortified with a well-stocked Kindle, he said. Edinburgh got stormy in the afternoon. He was flying to Heathrow where he had another long wait for the plane to Athens – and London got very stormy in the night.

So I'll be glad to have news of his journey.

And I gather the east coast of the US is covered in snow from Georgia northwards. The last time I spoke to my sister, she was dreading loss of electricity. A couple of winters ago, they were seriously thinking of getting a generator, but summer came and proper air conditioning became a priority.

I have been thinking about shawls – Edinburgh is getting off lightly, but even so, sometimes one wants to huddle. I'm sure I've said before that Alexander went wandering when he and Ketki lived in India, and came back with a Pakistani shepherd's shawl (woven) for me. My husband has appropriated it, so that's out. Something heavy-ish, simple but not too simple to knit. A motif blankie like no 25 in the new VK?

That particular one takes 54 balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky, which would presumably cost more than the mortgage, and involves purled garter stitch, which doesn't sound very nice. But I've got the book – Mary Walker Phillip's “Knitting Counterpanes” and might have a look.

Not that I don't have plenty of knitting on hand.

Lynn, thank you for your help with my recondite computer problem. I've wandered about a bit myself, guided by you Tools>Footnotes/Endnotes will replace Roman numeral numbering with Arabic, and Insert>Section may help to get rid of “sections” which is the last thing we want. My husband hit another such file last night, and got pretty cross. He also found half of it missing, and was rescued by CTRL-Z. I have, inexcusably, forgotten who of you it was who taught me that one. It has been absolutely invaluable. I got to him just as he was about to re-load the file, which would have cost him all the work he had just been doing.


Last night I made the World's Easiest Recipe – Delia Smith's Greek lamb, from How to Cheat at Cooking. You take a neck fillet of lamb and cut it into chunks. You insert a fragment of garlic into each chunk, You season with salt, pepper and generous lemon juice. You encase in foil and bake at a very low temperature for about 2 ½ hours.

I use a double casing of foil – nothing must escape. Timing is also important, and slightly difficult. The meat must be meltingly tender, but it mustn't dry out.

I wondered if a similar technique would work for tough chunks of beef, perhaps – at this time of year – with the juice of a marmalade orange instead of lemon. Trouble is, if it proved a flop, you're left without any supper.


  1. Anonymous9:59 AM

    Ctrl-Z was me (but possibly others also). It's saved me a few times, I must say :-)

    I am thinking about "something to huddle in " also... maybe it's some primitive instinct?

    Re Jane Austen, have you tried Jo Baker's Longbourn? I got it at Christmas and loved it - and I am a great lover of all Austen works.....


  2. If you made the beef alongside another supper, you could reheat the other supper the next day (I'm thinking of something like lasagne or hot pot), freeze it for another time or have the beef cold on sandwiches?

  3. And perhaps Jared Flood's Hemlock Ring Blanket

  4. I have made several square shawls a la Elizabeth Zimmermann (Knitter's Almanac p. 28). I use left over J&S jumper weight and 4.5 mm needles. Like Elizabeth, I reach into the bag of yarn without looking and simply add the new colour with a spit join. To prevent falling asleep, I do a "yo k2tog" every l0th row. 200 stitches in each of the four sections will give you a shawl that blocks to about 64 inches square. Very versatile - square blanket, fold in half, a triangular shawl. AND my bags of left over wool greatly reduced.
    Ron in Mexico

  5. The beef in foil like that reminds me of the campers stand by - beef chunks sprinkled with dried onion soup mix and in the coals. Orange and garlic sounds much better!

  6. I'm also wishing for a big chunky shawl. I dug out "Folk Shawls" and stash yarn last night, I started the Triangular Feather and Fan.

  7. What about Jared Flood's Girasole?

    1. I'm working on this shawl right now. The patterns are easy to remember after a few repeats. I also find it easy to recognize if I have drifted off the pattern and catch i

  8. spinningfishwife5:05 PM

    How about this?

    More a shawl than a blankie but I thought the colours might appeal.

  9. Anonymous9:33 PM

    I was about to recommend what I think is the same EZ shawl as Ron above, the Stonington. Lovely as a lap blanket as well as a good thick shoulder warmer when folded. Lovely classic EZ garter with a simple border. I often make just the ctenre sans border as a baby gift.

    On the dinner question, one could always make two things, one of them experimental, and if both are successful slot one away in the fridge for reheating tomorrow.

    Judith in Ottawa

  10. Anonymous1:33 AM

    I'm making the Prairie Shawl from Folk Shawls for huddling purposes, it's a simple triangular shawl with yarnover border.