Friday, May 20, 2011

Annie, welcome. I hope you’ll stay. The proportion of vegetables to knitting here is perhaps uncharacteristically high, this time of year. I’m rarely as interesting on knitting as you are, however.

[While we’re here, and prompted by Annie’s remarks about famine in Wales, I’d like to say that I’ll be glad when the Queen is safely home this afternoon. I’m glad her visit to Ireland has been a success. It felt kind of phoney, to me. The newspapers we read have touched on grievances on both sides – you’d think the English had constructed phytophthora infestans in their laboratories – but have totally failed to mention the assassination of the British ambassador to Dublin in 1976. I doubt if the Queen has forgotten. Even the most absurd of rogue states, world-wide, tend to hold back from assassinating ambassadors.]


I finished ribbing the Aran sweater yesterday, and have got the patterns set – the scary bit. I thought maybe yesterday that I’d practice EZ’s “sheepfold” pattern before I started – but it turned out to be circular-needles-only, with action on every round. It’s going very well, fortunately.

And that settles the steek question – I’ll have to continue in the round up to the neck.

I surprised myself yesterday by finishing the first ball of yarn. I’ve got seven, meant to be more than enough. The first was diminished by two large swatches, of course. The thing to do is to finish the next ball, take the thing off the needles and measure the circumference carefully, calculate from that what the appropriate total length will be, and from that, with a bit of on-the-safe-side guessing, how much yarn I’ll need.

There should be enough for a pic in a day or two. I am particularly looking forward to seeing a second knit-through of the meandering Celtic pattern stacked on top of the first – but that won’t happen for a while.

That happy morning I spent in Alice Starmore’s class last summer was devoted to just this sort of thing – her unvention of cable patterns that spring up in the middle of anywhere by virtue of major increases in a single stitch. I think she got to it before Lavold. I looked it up, last year.


Thank you for the RHS link, Isabella. I have read with interest and perhaps some enlightenment, clicking on links.

I was most interested to read in Stout ["Gardening Without Work" -- see yesterday] that July is the only month when she was confident of not having frost – snap, sister! She gardened in CT, with which I am at least somewhat acquainted as my sister lives there. The difference (between CT and Strathardle) is that Stout grew all sorts of things which would be impossible for me, sweet corn and squashes, in those precious weeks between the last June frost and the first late-August one.

That steamy American heat being the deciding factor.


  1. Anonymous9:05 AM

    Jean I do agree with you about the Queen in Ireland-I shall be glad when she is home again! Lord Mountbatten who was killed by the IRA in 1979 was Prince Philip's uncle and brought him up due to the illness of his mother-I doubt the Queen has forgotten that either!I read your blog every day,this is the first time I've commented.

  2. I also agree with you about the Queen- I kept thinking about how the IRA blew up Lord Mountbatten, something I am sure that was in the back of the minds of many of the royal family members this week...

    I love your garden pictures. My tomato plants are huge, but my peppers were savaged by the birds, and a neighbor reported seeing a possum near the plants at night-- oy. Also, one tomato plant seems to have caught a fungus-- I have isolated it from the others (they are in pots) but I am worried that the whole crop will go down.....

    When I was a kid there was a possum that lived in the neighbor's avocado tree. He was the fattest, shiniest possum you ever saw (twice the size as normal) because he would gorge himself on those California avocados all day.

  3. I too am on tenterhooks re the Queen's visit. I have such admiration for President Mary McAleese and her predecessor Mary Robinson who worked so hard for reconciliation and the arranging of this historic visit. The history of that tiny island is so complicated.

  4. =Tamar9:56 PM

    If I recall correctly, Lavold's methods are slightly different from Starmore's and the results look slightly different.

    There was only one weed that Ruth Stout had trouble with; I think it's called witchgrass or nutgrass. I hope you don't have any!

  5. Thank you for the welcome Jean :D

    I have Irish friends who tell me that the Queen's speech in Gaelic sounded more natural and sincere than any the supposedly fluent Gerry Adams has ever made.