Saturday, July 23, 2011

I’ve reached round 73 – another set of decreases done. Mild excitement. The interesting thing about this arrangement is that the borders will look continuous, with the decreases hidden in the pattern, instead of having those mitred lines at the four corners.

The answer to the question, when did schematics come in? seems to be, in the early 80’s. I found a sequence of new-issue VK’s, the first to be sold in the UK, I think after a 15-year gap, but that’s by-the-way. It had started up again in the US a few years earlier. Spring 1983 has no schematics, Fall 1983 a few, Spring 1984 has them with every pattern.

Yesterday afternoon I was in a bookshop with my husband, feeling sleepy and bored. They had a book of Pam Dawson’s – ’83 I think, but I should have made notes. It had schematics with every pattern, labelled “The Pattern Pieces”.


I spent a while yesterday looking up the Latin names of the weeds with which I primarily battle in Strathardle, so that I could then look them up in my new book. In the course of this activity, I came across It has a certain horrifying charm, although no subcontinental recipes for Fat Hen or Good King Henry.

I was reminded of Evelyn Waugh’s take on the subject, in “Officers and Gentlemen”, the second volume in his WWII trilogy. When the hero is training with some commandos on the fictional Hebridean island of Mugg, a Dr Glendening-Rees is invited to the island to teach the men how to live off the land.

“He rose when he saw Guy, and advanced towards him carrying a dripping mass of weed; a tall wild man, hatless and clothed in a suit of roughly dressed leather; his grey beard spread in the wind like a baroque prophet’s; the few exposed portions of his skin were as worn and leathery as his trousers…

‘I was just getting my lunch before making myself known. Can I offer you some?’

He held out the seaweed.”

He sets off the next day with a group of reluctant men. The chapter is concerned with other matters. The expedition is mentioned again only in the final sentence: “…the sappers themselves, emaciated and unshaven, presently lurched in carrying Dr Glendening-Rees on a wattle hurdle.”

Dr G-R claims that “the young roots of the heather” are nice with olive oil, but my encyclopedia doesn’t confirm that and I think Waugh may have made it up.

One weed I really would like to establish is wild garlic. I planted some seeds this year, in a pot where I could keep a close eye on them, but nothing came up


  1. wild garlic being allium ursinum? the seeds have to be very fresh to germinate, and they need cold temps during the winter. the ones sold in packs are normally dead:(( you can harvest seeds, when they are black on the plant, sow them immediately and leave them over winter - they should sprout the following spring. if you can dig out (or buy) 2-3 live plants somewhere, they spread out by themselves soon enough!

  2. I'm sure the Phildar books of childrens' patterns I used in the 70's had schematics.