Saturday, October 02, 2010

Home again, very tired. Hello, October.

We got some things done, failed to achieve others, as ush. We planted a photinia, to replace one which perished in last winter’s savage cold.

And I netted the kale. I’ve never tried that before. It won’t stop a hungry deer, but a merely idle and inquisitive one might sneeze and pass on. If I can get brassicas through the winter, a whole new window of vegetable-growing will open before me. One well-suited to the local climate, too.

Thank you for the notes on horseradish-growing. I could put it outside the vegetable patch itself, up against that stone dyke at the back. The whole area was once intensively cultivated, so all I really have to do, to make a home for horseradish, is lift off the turf. That’s what I did for the Jerusalem artichokes, and they seem very happy.

Such a procedure wouldn’t, of course, serve my purpose of making more of the vegetable patch permanent.

On the knitting front, I was industrious. To begin with, I wound two enormous skeins of lace yarn and tried knitting them together. Two strands of one colour, one of another. It worked fine, and produced a soft and delicious fabric. But I didn’t like the result – I liked each colour separately, and I liked them side by side, but I didn’t care for the tweedy effect of knitting them together. Still, it’s a start.

And I swatched for the IK Jali cardigan in the Araucania yarn which has been part of the current Strathardle project for too long. I made a big swatch, to determine not just gauge/tension, but also whether the yarn and the pattern liked each other – the prototype in the magazine is knit of cotton – and how I liked knitting the pattern. Everything came out splendidly on all counts.

At the end, the stitch count was nearly perfect. But the row count was way out – 28 rows have given me about 3” where there are supposed to be 4”. No amount of fiddling with needle size is going to get anywhere with a problem like that.

I think the only thing to do is to start the sweater and see how it goes. Solvitur ambulando. The pattern has got to finish neatly at the shoulder.

For actual knitting, I pressed on a bit with Matt’s 1st sock. Several sock-knitting opportunities loom – a routine diabetes appt at the Royal Infirmary next week will involve a lot of sitting; and we may be going to visit Loch Fyne soon, too.

Back here, I have pressed on with the Amedro shawl. So far, so good.
The only worry is that I don’t really understand the little pattern from the Love Darg book which I’m using in the centre. I can see that I’m getting it right, but I don’t have the feeling, yet, when I’m knitting a pattern row, that I can tell how this row should fit with the one below. So if anything should go slightly wrong, I would be lost.


  1. I do not have the "Love Dargs" book. Is that a traditional Shetland pattern, or is it completely new? I have Amedro and Sarah Don.

  2. Welcome back! Kale is an amazing plant. I have grown it for the past three seasons here in Kamloops. It has lasted until late November each year, and then we usually get our first real cold of the winter where it drops down to minus 25C. I'm not sure what your low temps would reach in Scotland, but if they stay above that range your kale might just make it through the winter. Definitely an exciting thought!

  3. Anonymous2:16 AM

    Here in NJ, USA, we can sometimes get the kale through the winter, sometimes not. It helps to use floating row cover to try to keep the coldest of the cold off the plants.


  4. the thing you call photinia looks suspiciously like something we call fire plant which fits with the 'phot' bit if you assume it means 'fos'. It is awfully attractive and grows well here with no effort at all.