Saturday, May 10, 2014

I am nearly around round 84 of the borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl – establishing the next set of motifs. When one finishes off a set of them, and faces the uneventful rounds that follow, the prospect is blissful. But “uneventful” soon morphs into “tedious”. There are now really an awful lot of stitches, and it seems to be all I can do to get around once-and-a-bit in a day.

I got out that old book and looked at the “Shetland shawl” pattern but am none the wiser. One casts on a number of stitches, a multiple of the lace pattern provided – what multiple, is up to the knitter. One knits for a while, on four needles or two. I was puzzled by the idea of four needles – are we knitting a tube here, to be cut open like Rams & Yowes? I think not. I think the extra needles are just to facilitate more stitches, although it's odd.

Then one might edge the whole thing with a Van Dyke edging, found elsewhere in the book.

Now that I have written that down, I feel it might be interesting to swatch both the lace pattern for the shawl and the edging pattern. For authenticity, stick with Sharon Miller. But this book – 184- something – is half-a-century earlier than the first real Shetland lace printed patterns which Sharon has found.


I got a pot of loose-leaf lettuce sown yesterday, and a trough of courgettes and salad leaves with the occasional nasturtium. The trough was intended for peas, but there were none in the envelope. A click that failed to go through? Courgettes are a rather boring vegetable when it comes to actual eating, but they're more fun than anything to grow. And I think Helen has a Greek recipe for stuffed courgette flowers which doesn't involve deep-fat frying.

That leaves a tripod, a curious rusty object which has been at the edge of the kitchen garden in Strathardle forever. I thought it might add interest to the doorstep by adding height. The idea is for more courgettes, which will spill down the sides – but we've got to go to B&Q today in pursuit of one of the bees in my husband's bonnet, so I might be able to seize the opportunity to have a look at their seed-packet rack.


  1. I think mutiple needles were common in the past. Is there not a fantastic huge white cotton petticoat with jaquard beasts and flowers - Dutch, I think - which must have been knitted in this way. ref "The Art of Knitting."

    I'm intrigued by your post-cataract eye-issues - I've just had early stage cataracts diagnosed. Wouldn't you think they could use a plastic which did not go cloudy for this purpose?

    Oh, yes, and your reference to the author of the sheep book as of farming stock. I lived on a sheep farm until I was fourteen. One tends to know a great deal about one's own breed - Cheviots, in our case - but not necessarily about others eg Herdwicks.even though the neighbours kept those.

    1. Anonymous4:00 PM

      Shandy and Jean, I think it is not the plastic that becomes cloudy, but a part of your eye that remains after the cataract surgery. Here is Mayo Clinic's explanation:

      Beverly in NJ

  2. Good luck at B&Q! I'm envious of your horticultural efforts, my garden is much-missed now I am in a flat with no outside space. A pot of parsley on the kitchen windowsill isn't really enough, unfortunately.

  3. Having googled to find that courgettes are known here as zucchini, I need to say: the blossoms are delicious stuffed with cheese and deep-fried, but the squash themselves tend to produce way too much produce. A joke here is if you have one plant you will eventually resort to ringing people's doorbells, dropping off a bag of zucchini and running.