Sunday, July 13, 2014

Helen phoned yesterday, and it's all settled: she and her family will be in Strathardle this evening (insh'Allah) and we won't. It's sort of sad. She'll inspect the summer pudding bush – it's carrying a good crop – and decide whether it's safe to leave it for another 10-12 days. If not, she'll pick and freeze.

And Mimi had his first taste of English freedom. It went well.


I still haven't finished that 6th ball of yarn, but it can't hold hold out much longer. I have looked back to my own January blogging, and found that I did indeed calculate 50 bumps per side when I was knitting the edging for the Unst Bridal Shawl back then. I'll probably have done 40 when the yarn gives out. It's a start.

I'll try to get Rams and Yowes out today and figure out the colours again. They are all natural, and bear the wonderful traditional Shetland names for the shades as they appear on sheep – yuglet and sholmit and gaulmogot and so forth. There is a key in the pattern in which each colour is assigned a different-coloured square, and then the squares are used in the pattern charts.

Standard stuff. But I found it difficult to distinguish some of the paler colours on the charts, and it may be even more difficult now that the ball bands are gone and I have forgotten which ball is meant to bear which picturesque name.

I don't think a mistake would be fatal -- I can still distinguish off-white from black and dark grey --, but I'd like to get it right. So today I'll try to line up those balls of wool in the order they appear in the key.

The new VK (“early autumn 2014”) turned up yesterday. I often ask myself whether the patterns are really more exciting than those in lesser magazines, or is it just that the photography is miles better? This is the issue with Franklin's waistcoat – I am breathless with admiration, but it's way beyond my capabilities. I like the sweaters with holes in them – no 11, and Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton;s two, 29 and 30. I like the borrowed-from-the-boss cardigan, no. 4.

Meg writes about Lady Gainford and her wonderful book of kilt hose tops, rescued and re-printed by the Schoolhouse Press, a most worthy enterprise. And I'll tell you something not many people know: Lady Gainford's recipe for a Simple Sponge Cake appears on page 36 of “Mothers' Messages: Recipes from Cairndow Kitchens Past and Present”, published in 2010. We have a copy because Alexander contributed a recipe (a rather good one, for Thai scallops).

Not that Lady Gainford actually lived in Cairndow. A letter from her, including the recipe, turned up in the archives of the local WRI (Women's Rural Institute).  


  1. Mimi you are rather a handsome cat!

  2. I hope you have some good light for the color sorting -- that can be challenging at the best of times. Sad to miss another trip, I'm sure, but you'll be all rested up for the next, with the knitting in order. I have Lady G's book, although I have yet to knit any kilt hose from it. Or any other book, either.

  3. Inspired by your comments on the new VK, I thought i would check out their website. did you know that you can see all the designs on a video, showing every detail? I found it fascinating to see how Franklin had used different techniques for adding those touches of gold trim. I wouldn't want to tackle those buttonholes though. What a great design!

  4. Jean - I'm going to send you a Ravelry message so you can look at my stash page for the Rams and Yowes colours. If that doesn't help (they're iPad pictures) then, if you like, I'm quite happy to take some good quality digital pics in proper daylight for you. I have both the yarn and the labels. I remember having the same challenges in regards to matching the actual yarn to the little chart squares. My congratulations if you can do it without the labels!!