Saturday, May 17, 2014

I'm halfway around round 96 of the borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl. 100 is in sight.

I was wandering around Zite yesterday and came, again, to Franklin's blog for Lion Brand: the one he published in February about things that take a long time to knit (like the Unst Bridal Shawl). In it he says:

Oddly enough, I’m less inclined to cast on for something large if it’s also something simple. If I’m going to be on the road for a long haul, I need scenery. I need twists and hills and rivers and roadside attractions and flocks of sheep.

This is why complicated lace attracts more than repels me–all that fun along the way, always something new just coming into view. Shetland lace, with all those different patterns in the center, borders, and edging? Yes, please. It may have to wait until I retire, but I want to go to there.”

Oh, Franklin, you'll love it. I would say, plunge in now – except that it wouldn't leave much time for writing and drawing and designing and teaching, and perhaps you have a living to make.

Jane, my Princess is a triangle. In fact, I didn't know the pattern was available as a square – although I did know that Sharon had re-issued the pattern, with additions. The triangle shape gets past the garter stitch problem, at least, by being entirely back-and-forth.

I've been having a nice time flipping through the Amirisu magazine – perhaps for the first time really enjoying my new blistering download speeds. There's a Stephen West shawl I fancy, if I had nothing else to do.

Nature notes

I got a pollinating brush for myself last year, Jeanfromcornwall, when I was worried about chillis not setting fruit. Inspired by your comment, I started using it again yesterday. I have been misting the plants regularly – I think that's supposed to help.

How do you suppose one stresses a chilli plant, Mrs. A? Shout at it? More seriously, an occasional shortage of water might do it. They are thirsty plants.

And I don't need any chillis – I still have quite a substantial poke of them in the freezer, from last year. Nor does my husband care for very hot food. I like to use them as an accent, as one might shake in a few drops of Tabasco to a dish which otherwise disappoints. The big jalapeno from Waitrose is the best for that purpose. The Apaches and Scotch Bonnets are seriously hotter. Chillis keep their heat when frozen but, as Alexander rightly says, lose their texture.

On a different topic, my sister sent me this link to an article about cuckoos from the University of Michigan. I had no idea there were so many different species. Indeed, I thought a cuckoo was a cuckoo and that was that. And it is very interesting to learn that Darwin himself was puzzled about how the cuckoo's unusual system of child-rearing could have evolved. We hope to go to Strathardle next weekend – a week today, in fact – with Archie and his mother, Greek Helen. I hope we aren't too late to hear the cuckoos.


  1. What about putting your extra chillis in a little bag on the railings outside the house for people to help themselves?

  2. If you get an excess of chillis, especially jalapenos, let them go red on the plant and you can make decorative strings, wreaths, etc. AND you can still use the dried ones off the string to spice things up later. They keep their texture better when dried than frozen.