Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sam the Ram

I don't have much to say about knitting, so I’ll get it out of the way before moving on to rabbits.

I finished Sam’s head, rather successfully if I do say so. I couldn’t figure out how to unzip my provisional cast-on, but that may have been my fault, and it unpicked easily.

Once he was grafted together under the chin, the next step was to pick up 63 stitches around the neck opening. That took me three go’s. At least I don’t have to worry about whether they’re evenly spaced, since they’re jammed in so tight.

The next task is to knit a sort of short-row’d wedge for the neck, Aran-patterned. I’ve got as far as row 7 of that. It has been ripped out twice, and it will have to go a third time. I forgave myself a couple of mistakes, but have just discovered a cable crossed the wrong way three rows back. Cumulatively, that’s too many errors.

For anything less than the Strathardle Highland Gathering, I’d give up.

Needless to say, this sort of knitting, even when successful, is far from soothing. Perhaps when Sam is well established – but will that ever happen? – I’ll add an ikat-effect hat (as previously discussed) for weekend knitting. Not a hat for Sam, of course: knitting to sooth and sustain me. Meanwhile I struggle on.


The sharp-eyed will have noticed that the picture I posted a couple of days ago, is gone.

Alexander spotted it yesterday, and feared that his father was using a gin trap. They have been illegal for more than half a century. I took the picture down, but then asked my husband about it. The traps he uses are perfectly humane and perfectly legal (in case anyone else was worried). Although they look like heirlooms which have been in the family since, well, Ought Six, they were in fact bought from a reputable local ironmonger well after the anti-gin-trap legislation was passed.

My husband was apprenticed to a poacher in Sussex as a lad (Alexander may not know that) and learned to distinguish a hawk from a handsaw when it comes to country matters.

I was overcome to find a comment yesterday from Rabbitch herself. (As Franklin said recently – “You don’t read Rabbitch? What the hell’s wrong with you?”) Her suggestion for rabbit-disposal should perhaps be considered. Nettle wine, maybe?

But I continue to look forward to Jamie Oliver’s “Pappardelle with wild rabbit, olives and marjoram” and Simon Hopkinson’s “Stewed rabbit with balsamic vinegar and parsnip puree”. Served, as you so splendidly say, Deidra, with “the lingering aftertaste of vengeance”.


  1. Anonymous3:28 PM

    When you try to unzip a provisional cast-on such as you used, Jean, if you've turned it and purled back the first row when you begin your knitting, it will neatly unzip; or if you knit the first row after sliding the beginning end of the provisional cast-on to the other side of a circular or dpn and begin knitting from that way. If you don't do either of these and begin knitting into the provisional cast-on with your regular yarn where you've finished casting on, then you usually end up picking it apart. Either way works out in the end. I don't know if this explanation makes sense, I've just learned it after doing some of the Tsock Tsarina's sock club kits. I do like it after catching on how to accomplish it. I'm enjoying reading your progress on Sam. Perhaps it will give me the courage to give him a try one day.

  2. Anonymous3:50 PM

    Liquid Fence works on Connecticut deer but who can tell about Scottish rabbits. I posted a paragraph on my blog so my Many Readers can see it as well. Roger wants to put some in his checked luggage but I won't live with him (nor will anyone else) if he does. We can't, obviously, carry it since it's liquid.

  3. Jane Grigson's Rabbit Stew with Forcemeat Balls (in English Food, I think) is very nice indeed. I'm interested in your battle with Sam because I've had that pattern bookmarked for about 6 months.

  4. Perhaps some clothing is appropriate for Sam.
    Dressing him up a bit (an ikat hat? waistcoat?) would certainly help him attract a judge's eye.

  5. Firstly, the Little Boy Sweater is gorgeous! Absolutely love it and look forward to seeing what the swirls do when worn.

    re rabbits: it's a pity that your husband isn't inclined toward dressing the carcasses/eating rabbit. My father was a Depression kid and had similar reservations about rabbit until mum started exploring good recipes. After the colesi virus went through the feral rabbit population in Australia, the only eating rabbits available are farmed. While I'm v. grateful that the ferals have nearly been eradicated (the indigenous fauna and flora have been recovering wonderfully) farmed rabbit doesn't taste anywhere near as flavoursome.

  6. Anonymous4:15 AM

    I once freaked out a young cable repair guy who was up a pole in our yard by seriously discussing squirrel recipes with his older compatriot. Since the cable had been damaged by those squirrels, who were bold enough to stroll down the wire to watch the repairs, we were seriously considering our options.

    Alas, I also have rabbit problems. Depite a dog who is quite good at rabbit chasing (but not catching) the rabbits see fit to dine on my garden. These are bold suburban bunnies. They know you aren't going to trap them or shoot them. And they have timed the speed of most of the neighborhood dogs to know just how fast to hop through the fence. So, I may have to try something that was being promoted on the gardeners hour on the radio - a motion sensor varmit zapping hose.

    I feel, however, that our local bunnies are not that stupid. And with my luck the second I order it, we'll be put back water rationing or some other evil plan to put the bunnies back in the garden.

  7. That's right, stewed rabbits, just what I was suggesting!

    (pass the parsnips. *hic*)

  8. Anonymous11:40 PM

    When I was a girl, my dad hunted rabbits. When he actually shot one and brought it home, he would clean it, taking care not to get the hair on the skinned meat, and then dredge it in flour and fry it. It was a tasty treat for him since it didn't happen that he actually got one that often. He did the same thing with squirrels which he also hunted.


  9. I just found your blog because I'm working on a Sam the Ram as well. I've made at least 3 attempts on the neck, too. Ugh! (The first time, I interpreted "count six stitches to the right" differently than they had and ended up with a twisted neck.) Good luck with your Sam...I think the neck on mine is finally going correctly!