Sunday, July 13, 2008

I reached the hoped-for dinosaur feet yesterday, and feel confident that I can allow myself a day’s scarf-knitting. You’re right, Kate, (comment, day-before-yesterday) that finishing is going to take some doing, but you’re speaking to one who has not only knit KF but who had a whole Kaffe Fassett Phase. I’m not afraid of tidying ends – but I must ensure I’ve got plenty of time. What I hate is last-minute scrambles.

Shandy, the historical examples in the Christoffersson book I mentioned yesterday come from a variety of museums – so many that I think it would be worth nipping in to any museum you find yourself passing. The Nordic Museum, Stockholm, sounds particularly easy to find, and the Museum of Halsingland, Hudiksvall, would appear to have a particularly interesting collection. Have fun! (I envy you your manure.)

Sandy, Mrs Obama hasn’t got her scarf yet. The idea is that Theo will present it to her husband on the day they get their picture taken together, Theo in his Obama-electing gansey. It couldn’t be long now.


“Piecework” turned up, and I enjoyed it. Should I subscribe? There is scarcely room on the shelves for another magazine. (Don’t tell the Flylady – I never throw a knitting magazine away.) The only other copy I’ve ever seen, I think, is the famous one with the wedding veil Bridget Rorem knit for her daughter, including the lace alphabet she devised. I often refer to it.

You’re right about the Nancy Bush shawl, manic knitter – it’s striking, and it’s got lots of nupps. I suppose I will buy the book when it comes out, for the sake of the completeness of my shelves, but there’s lots of other lace knitting I want to do before I tackle nupps.

Franklin’s article is called “Needlework in a Pennsylvania Mining Town” (Smock, PA, where his grandmother lived when she was young). It’s good, and so is the simple lace edging he designed to suggest a row of “coal patch” company houses in Smock.


An unexpected bonus turned up yesterday – my favourite gardening writer, Robin Lane Fox in the Saturday Financial Times – turned his attention, as all too rarely, to vegetables. A whole article about things I need to know – how to grow my new friend sorrel, and how to cook with it; an interesting new plant source; some things I needed to know about tarragon (the Real Stuff isn’t frost hardy, so how does my sister grow it in CT?); and finally a recipe for pasta del giardino made primarily with radishes (of all things) which will prompt me to grow some of them next year.

All in one newspaper article!

Fox is an ancient historian of some distinction, as well as a gardener. It was from him, in an FT article years ago, that I learned that rabbits won’t eat courgettes. It’s perfectly true, and I’ve never seen it in print anywhere else.


  1. I planted tarragon this spring, but I made sure to put it against the foundation on the south side of the house, which should hopefully help protect the roots over winter. With our coastal location and south-facing slope, we generally have a milder winter than anywhere else in the state, which is helpful. I've even been considering getting a cold-hardy variety of rosemary.

  2. My tarragon is both real and winter hardy although I have been known to loose plants in a severe winter--it's listed as hardy through zone 4, which is pretty far north of here. But Mel's right, the roots can be lost to frost. Perhaps Mr. Fox had a bad experience once.
    (This, by the way, is Sister Helen; Google doesn't let me self-identify any more.)
    Do you want to know about Fanny and Freddy or is that a topic better left alone?

  3. Anonymous11:41 AM

    For Estonian Lace Without Nupps, check the Laminaria shawl in the Spring Knitty. I am smitten. Even if it has 2-into-9 and 3-into-9 increases.

  4. Anonymous9:40 PM

    Does he say whether I should stake my eggplants? Because I am of divided opinion on this. It's my first year growing them. This particular variety is "Purple Rain" and I understand it's a fairly compact plant, but it's going great guns and starting to set fruit. It's in a raised bed, BTW. I love eggplants.

    On the other hand, the "informed sources" say that coneflowers and bee balm are hardy and you can't kill them, and that roses are hard to grow here. Pfft. My beautiful coneflowers and bee balm (and the hummingbirds that came to them) are gone, and the roses are going like a house on fire to the point I planted more in a spot where nothing else has grown.

  5. Anonymous9:51 PM

    Is it possible for one in Rhode Island, USA, to have an Obama contribution appear on your chart?! I have sent a check for $25(US) to a local group.

    I enjoy your blog tremendously. Always pleased to see a new post!
    Best wishes on the dinosaur feet.

  6. I always thought that Elizabeth David wouldn't have had so many problems with her newspaper editor criticisms of unattainable gastronomy if she'd teamed up with the garden section writer to do double features, particularly with herbs, etc, that weren't readily available in England at the time. I love that a newspaper devoted to economics has a gardening writer!

    If you ever want to do a post illustrated with some of your KF pieces, I'd be fascinated to see them. I've tried to weave in my ends but find that it takes just as long as if I were sewing the sods in.

  7. D'oh! That 'Yoyo' comment was from me. H.I. forgot to signoff when he left for work this morning!

  8. I would vote that you subscribe to Piecework. I subscribe only to that magazine and one other related to textiles (SpinOff), buying the others at the newsstand only when they really appeal. I considered letting SpinOff lapse, but recent issues have been much more interesting, IMO. I like the variety of techniques that Piecework covers, and the cultural/historical focus of most of its articles. I've learned a lot from it, and I read each issue from cover to cover, usually taking time over each article, rather than skimming them.