Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I laughed aloud when I saw your comment, Mary Lou: nothing such fun as a shared reference. And I was horrified by yours, Beth, saying that the scene (Marshall McLuhan in “Annie Hall”) is often cut for TV. Too high-brow, do you think?

All I meant about garter stitch is that it somehow shows up all the irregularities in one’s knitting, much more so than st st, and makes it so difficult to correct a mistake even three or four rows down. And, yes, I’ve got one of those two-headed crochet hooks and I still can’t do it neatly.

All continues well with the Neap Tide shawl. Very soon now I shall finish the first skein and be able to decide how to proceed – another skein? Or declare the point I have reached, half-way?

Our television problem seems to be solved, or to have solved itself.  And the friend who has been assisting us throughout, came and sat with my husband at the end of the afternoon yesterday so that I could do two more circuits of Drummond Place Gardens. Theoretically, I am sure, shopping counts as walking. And I’m on my feet a lot here in the house. But I feel that a regime might be more helpful. Today I've already done three circuits. And, yes, Beth, you can still speak of “doing the messages” in Edinburgh.

Sharon Miller is about to publish another pattern, called the Jewel Long Shawl. That’s exciting news. There is talk on the Heirloom Knitting Group of an informal KAL. I’m tempted. But what I don’t need is another project. Absolutely not.


A notable feature of Hellie and Matt’s wonderful wedding last September, was the Chicken Shop Hot Sauce provided on every table. I assumed at the time that once I got home, I could order some on the internet. Not so. You have to go to the Chicken Shop – a London chain of about half-a-dozen places, very well worth a visit.

Alexander has tried to reconstruct the recipe from the ingredients on the bottle:

100 grams red Habaneros, chopped
2 white onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoon sugar
Soften the onions for a minute or two, then add everything else. Cook over a gentle heat with the lid on for 10 minutes or so until it all becomes soft. Put it all in a blender. Add vinegar and sugar and blend.

The interesting thing is how much difference can be made by gentle tweaks to this simple-sounding formula. I now use a tin of good Italian tomatoes. I’m having trouble getting fresh habaneros. Last time, I used 20 grams of dried and wound up with a sauce which could easily double as a paint-stripper. I think the recipe probably needs more vinegar – it is the first ingredient listed on the Chicken Shop label.

There are whole websites devoted to chilli sauce recipes. I am surprised that no one – until now – has tried to re-create this one.


  1. So glad to read of the new Miller pattern. I vaguely recall or recall vaguely there was some disturbance or illness or other situation in her life?

    Good for you on your walking not to get too new age but the fitness wristbands Fitbit etc are very helpful in nudging one to attention to ones movement. I wear one and sometimes am amazed at the amount of steps housework alone counts up. I join others in encouraging you. I wish I had a lovely garden to complete circuits. I walk my village strreets and sigh at the lovely unattainable million dollar houses

  2. That hot sauce recipe sounds well worth a try. Good for you on deciding to institute a regime of purposeful walking. I feel better on the days when I've managed to incorporate some exercise into the day's activities. I seem to have more patience and I often find I'm able to solve problems just a bit better. Is that wishful thinking? Perhaps, but if I believe it is so, it may well become so.
    As for fixing garter stitch mistakes, those two headed crochet hooks are a great help, as is a bit of ruthless tugging to settle the stitches properly into their new arrangements.

  3. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Of course it all counts (thank goodness) but dedicated walking, it seems to me, improves strength and endurance more efficiently. Having said that - often when I have followed other people's example, I have been sorry, especially as I have gotten older, so I am learning to listen to my own body and my own goals, and try to filter out the rest (not easy!) I was just trying to be encouraging as new habits can be hard to take hold. And I have the same issues with garter stitch. Too bad, because I love some of those patterns, but life is getting too short to spend all my time ripping. Chloe

  4. =Tamar5:44 PM

    I find garter stitch tiresome because the (de facto) purl bump gets in the way of the next stitch. That's all right in a pattern but in garter stitch it's every single stitch.

  5. Anonymous9:38 PM

    But what I don’t need is another project. Absolutely not.

    This is the funniest thing I've read on the internet in a long time!

    Beverly in NJ

  6. I suspect Marshall McLuhan is not so much too highbrow as too far in the past. Annie Hall was released nearly 40 years ago, and the McLuhan reference was not a fresh one then. The current appetite for anything in the past, even as far back as the Gulf War, is limited.