Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Full Bloom

Wisteria in full bloom in our garden, strangely paler than we remember it from other years.  The hot weather saw us eating lunch at the bottom of our garden where the trees provide shade.  Although our house is in the middle of a village at the front, the back is one house away from open country.  We are watching with amazement as a pair of blackbirds attempt to rear a brood in a rambling rose, in full view of hungry, prowling cats.

A third Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clarke, this time in laceweight.  In fact, I started this one first, then lost heart as it seemed to take forever and I was concerned that it would be too small to be of any use.  It is knit in cashmere laceweight from Devon Fibres who were doing brisk trade at the i-knit London wool fair.  Now it is complete, it has a lovely drape to it and the extra repeats make it more than just a shoulder shawl.

Last, a blaze of glory from the laburnum at the end of the garden, above my husband's workshop.  It is doubly precious to him as his mother raised it from a seedling at their old family home.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Spring Greens

Second Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clarke.  This one was very enjoyable to knit as the pattern now made sense, on this second try.  This yarn, from Yarnsmith, is dyed in a virulent mix of acid green and yellow, which somehow works better for the pattern than the Pankhurst colourway, as it reads as a semi-solid.  It looks very dramatic over black.  Two weeks of desultory knitting, one £7 skein...what more could one ask?

Last Sunday it was wet early on so I made up a batch of jam from the last of the blackcurrants in  the freezer.   Nothing like fresh jam to give that intense fruit flavour.  I use my mother's jampan, always thinking of the top shelf full of jam she kept going.  Curiously, I don't remember it tasting different as it aged, but I'm sure it must have done. 

On the allotment, many weeks of dry weather have allowed us to get everything planted:  potatoes, onions, leeks, parsnips, carrots, swede, lettuce.  The rhubarb we grew from seed is now well-established, but, curiously, has decided to flower.  I don't ever recall seeing rhubarb in flower before.  This year's new project is to establish some raised strawberry beds, using black membrane to suppress the rampant mare's tail.  One box is already in place; the second, in progress.  The big success has been the purple sprouting, which we had never grown before.  After almost a year it is in full production, and very sweet and delicious it is too.