Helen phoned yesterday, and it's all settled: she and her family will be in Strathardle this evening (insh'Allah) and we won't. It's sort of sad. She'll inspect the summer pudding bush – it's carrying a good crop – and decide whether it's safe to leave it for another 10-12 days. If not, she'll pick and freeze.
And Mimi had his first taste of English freedom. It went well.
I still haven't finished that 6th ball of yarn, but it can't hold hold out much longer. I have looked back to my own January blogging, and found that I did indeed calculate 50 bumps per side when I was knitting the edging for the Unst Bridal Shawl back then. I'll probably have done 40 when the yarn gives out. It's a start.
I'll try to get Rams and Yowes out today and figure out the colours again. They are all natural, and bear the wonderful traditional Shetland names for the shades as they appear on sheep – yuglet and sholmit and gaulmogot and so forth. There is a key in the pattern in which each colour is assigned a different-coloured square, and then the squares are used in the pattern charts.
Standard stuff. But I found it difficult to distinguish some of the paler colours on the charts, and it may be even more difficult now that the ball bands are gone and I have forgotten which ball is meant to bear which picturesque name.
I don't think a mistake would be fatal -- I can still distinguish off-white from black and dark grey --, but I'd like to get it right. So today I'll try to line up those balls of wool in the order they appear in the key.
The new VK (“early autumn 2014”) turned up yesterday. I often ask myself whether the patterns are really more exciting than those in lesser magazines, or is it just that the photography is miles better? This is the issue with Franklin's waistcoat – I am breathless with admiration, but it's way beyond my capabilities. I like the sweaters with holes in them – no 11, and Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton;s two, 29 and 30. I like the borrowed-from-the-boss cardigan, no. 4.
Meg writes about Lady Gainford and her wonderful book of kilt hose tops, rescued and re-printed by the Schoolhouse Press, a most worthy enterprise. And I'll tell you something not many people know: Lady Gainford's recipe for a Simple Sponge Cake appears on page 36 of “Mothers' Messages: Recipes from Cairndow Kitchens Past and Present”, published in 2010. We have a copy because Alexander contributed a recipe (a rather good one, for Thai scallops).
Not that Lady Gainford actually lived in Cairndow. A letter from her, including the recipe, turned up in the archives of the local WRI (Women's Rural Institute).