Friday, January 29, 2010


The commentators are getting it right, this year. If Mr Murray wins this tournament, or any other big one, he’ll be the first British man to do such a thing since – I think I’ve got this right – Fred Perry won the American Open in 1936. But not the first “Briton”, since both Ann Jones and Virginia Wade have won Wimbledon in fairly recent years.

Someone came to lunch yesterday, so I couldn’t devote the time I would have liked, to tennis-watching in the morning. I was in the kitchen, listening to the radio, when he hit a winning shot that went not over the net but around it. Fortunately we got to see it on the news in the evening.

Neil MacGregor was talking about vegetable-growing and cooking in the broadcast I heard this morning. Farming is another thing, he said, that started up simultaneously hither and yon rather than, as previously thought, spreading outward from an initial point. Not surprising, what with the Ice Age having ended and all. He was talking about an ancient pestle, and pronounced the “t”. Madhur Jaffrey – one of my very favourite cooks – made a contribution to the programme, and pronounced it as I do, without the “t”. I’ll have to look it up.

Mel, my essential problem with seed-ordering is that all my notes and most of my catalogues are in Perthshire. I know I mean to grow fewer potatoes (and more broad beans) this year – but does that mean two varieties instead of three? or three instead of four? I can’t remember. I know that one of the two parthenocarpic courgettes I regularly plant consistently does better than the other, and last year I decided to dispense with the weaker one. But which is which?

But your reminder about fruit is timely. I know I want three more autumn-fruiting raspberries, and two gooseberries, and I might as well order them today. I have been trying to grow gooseberries with cuttings struck from the ones that grow wild along the driveway, and it’s not working.


And talking about ordering things – Kate, I want some of those sock needles. (The link, appropriately, is to an Australian site, but the needles are easily found elsewhere.) The Addi circular sock needle I bought recently is, so far, too painful for the wrist. I think it will come into its own the next time I knit socks for a man.

I’ve said before, I think, that I’m spending far more money on knitting this year than if I were buying yarn.

Jean, I was interested to learn from your comment yesterday that the Harlequin pattern was in Knitter’s. It completely passed me by. No use looking it up, though, because the aspects of the layout in the book which I’m finding difficult, are utterly Knitter-ly. I am encouraged that you think Koigu will work, lightness-wise. But why not? The ASJ was done in sock yarn, a very similar weight, and that turned out very wearable.

Meanwhile – drum roll – I’ve finished the body of the Grandson Sweater. It no longer looks overly large, and the ribbing at the bottom is even behaving better, at least this morning.


  1. Gooseberries are actually illegal to grow here in Maine, as they potentially carry a fungal disease (if I recall correctly) that can damage spruce trees, which are an important economic crop here. I have, however, found a few naturalized on an island in Acadia National Park and kept their existence secret. It's a particular treat if I happen there when they have ripe fruit (a rarity), and I don't feel guilty about eating them, since any seeds that were dispersed and took root would be torn up if found on the mainland.

  2. Anonymous12:56 PM

    Jean, I really admire the sweater. The seeding is so striking and the pattern at the top is lovely.

  3. I have reservations about the lighter weight yarn for the Harlequin.
    The gauge swatch is worked on size 5 needles while the skirt of the coat is worked on size 7. My concern is that the skirt will hang in folds rather than "swing".
    I have the same worries over my own Harlequin. Even though the yarn is the correct weight it is a silk/bamboo blend and has a soft hand.
    It will be interesting to see how the Koigu works on the larger needles.