Saturday, May 31, 2014

I'm well advanced with round 111 of the borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl – the third corner is in sight. The current and last motif reaches its widest point at 113 – another little landmark and one I might even reach today. Meanwhile the 5th ball of yarn – the May Ball, one might call it – is on its last legs, with the cardboard core showing urgently through. But the yarn can hold out a remarkable length of time in that state – it'll go a couple of days into June, at least.

I feel pretty confident that the 6th ball will see the job out. Sharon's pattern was written before Jamieson & Smith Shetland Supreme came into being – she specifies 9 25 gram balls of J&S cobweb yarn, “or similar”. Shetland Supreme was cooked up fairly recently in a collaboration between J&S and the Shetland Museum, to recreate handspun Shetland lace yarn as closely as is possible in a commercially-spun yarn.

It's wonderful stuff, strong and bouncy. And, now it would appear, also miraculously light. But J&S will scarcely expect the cash to come rolling in, if it takes a month to knit 25 grams of it.

You will remember that I started out, in late December, by knitting the edging, expecting to pick up stitches and knit inward towards the centre. But I got scared about the need to reverse aspects of the border pattern since it had been written centre-outwards. The last thing I wanted to do in those dark days, when I wasn't feeling very well anyway, was think. So I laid it aside, and cast on the centre (provisionally), and have been doing it Sharon's way ever since.

And I have recently half-decided that when I finally finish the borders, I will not graft on the waiting edging, but knit one on (because it's fun), and keep the edging I've got as a starter for the Queen Ring Shawl. I have further half-decided that I might as well knit the Queen Ring edging onto the Unst Bridal Shawl, since the reverse is going to be the case.

In terms of width and effect, the edgings are fine for substitution. But what about the maths? I must soon re-read the instructions for both patterns, and do a bit of thinking. I don't mind it (thinking) so much when we've got a proper amount of light.


My sister has got the Good King Henry plants she ordered, and is now not sure that treating them as bitter leaves and frying in butter with anchovies and garlic, is going to work. They actually taste nasty, she says – the mot juste, indeed.

All is going well on the doorstep here, although the lollo rosso lettuce is making but slow progress. I think the Salad Leaves (mild) might actually figure in their first salad today. The chillis on the kitchen windowsill are swinging into production.


The Harlot's post of May 29 found her stuck in a number of ruts, but I'm glad to see that May 30 reports progress on all fronts. Other people get so much more done than I do.

I am much struck with the Red Fuji Tank Top, discovered on Zite, and rather emphatically not for me. The yarn is Noro, cotton, wool, nylon and silk, which sounds OK. Perhaps a granddaughter? But when?


Thank you again for suggestions and comments about my husband;s mobility problems. I'm going to shelve the whole thing until Helen gets back in July, but I will remember your advice.

Eeny Meeny continues to hold up well on Amazon's bestseller lists. It was 5th last week on the Sunday Times paperback fiction list -- tomorrow's ranking is eagerly awaited.

Barbara M., I was deeply moved by your comment yesterday, alhough I had to look up Chawton. I wish we had met.


  1. Just downloaded Eeny Meeny to my iPad. Have to keep it up there on the best selling lists.

  2. Anonymous5:54 AM

    Jean, I will be back in a few months......but totally understand if you choose to remain as a Jane Austen heroine and remain afar! I love your blog.

    Barbara M. in NH

    1. Please keep in touch. I don't get out much, but we could meet in the local LYS and have coffee in the local delicatessen.