Last week …

unravelling woollen sweater


A couple of years ago, I knitted two sweaters using the Warriston pattern by Kate Davies but because I ran short of wool  they both ended up with sleeves too short. I hate three quarter length sleeves (almost as much as I detest clothes without pockets) so I’m unravelling the sweaters and rewinding the wool so that I can knit one good sweater with proper sleeves.

Have you read how you should soak and then dry your yarn before rewinding it to get rid of the bouncy kinks? Heed that advice. I tried knitting kinky wool and it looked awful. Which meant yet more unravelling.

hand written recipe book


Mum gave me her mother’s recipe books and I’ve been trying to follow some of the recipes. Or aides-memoires as I prefer to call them as many of them are just a list of ingredients with scant instructions.

Some of the recipes are cut from the newspaper with the news on the reverse “a great force of heavy RAF bombers crossed the East Coast early last night heading for the continent” and “Blackout (London) 10.26 – 5.45”. From scribbled notes, I know that Gran “planted bulbs in bowls on 10th October 1938″ and that “rubbing paraffin wax on the heels of your stockings makes them last longer”.

Yesterday I followed a recipe for Adelaide cakes. Tell me, do you know how Adelaide cakes should look? There was no mention of tin size or shape. Fairy cake or muffin sized? Round? Oblong?


My brain

The Seville oranges are in the shops so, as usual I set about making enough marmalade to last us for the year. The kitchen filled with a glorious smell as I juiced and chopped, stirred and boiled. Then, as I ladled the marmalade into the jars, I noticed pips floating around and realised that I’d tipped the juice into the pan without straining out the pips. Doh!

The marmalade tastes fine but every spoonful has to be inspected for pesky pips and believe me, Seville oranges have loads of pips.

35 thoughts on “Unravelling

  1. Oh love marmalade and need a good recipe. I admire anyone that can knit, I can’t at all, I’ve tried it’s not worth trying because it’s one of those things that I have come to terms with not being able to do it.

  2. I chuckled to myself while reading that you are unravelling jerseys you knitted a couple of years ago – how comforting! That is what I do – it takes a good long while before I can bring myself to undo my hard-knitted handiwork! And yes – you do get kinky knits with kinky wool. Happy knitting – hope you get a garment you really love!

    1. I’m very pleased that I knitted the jerseys in the round as I don’t think I’d have the patience to unpick seams as well. I’m reknitting the original pattern – but with longer sleeves.

  3. You are making me feel guilty about my unloved hand knitted jumpers. I may have to feel your unraveled footsteps.
    Adelaide cake – new one to me, will be very interested to see the result.
    Pips in marmalade = added interest.

  4. I can end up with pips in my marmalade even when I strain mine! They are pesky. How wonderful to have your gran’s recipe book. What a treasure.

  5. Ancestral recipe books in the collector’s own handwriting and with intriguing text on the back of loose cuttings not to mention a few honourable splashes from frequent use in bygone years are beyond price. Somehow they take one incredibly close to the originator. Perhaps because the kitchen is the heart of home etc. I’d save my versions of these almost before anything else if the house burnt down! Enjoy reravelling your unravelling, if you see what I mean! E x

    1. The joy of these books is that other people have also written in their recipes. Gran lost her eyesight and the deterioration can be traced in the size of the writing as I read through the books. I can tell which were her favourite recipes as they were the ones rewritten in ever larger script..

  6. These old handwritten recipe books are indeed a treasure. I still have a box with handwritten recipe cards. Good luck with your knitting!

  7. Lovely post, old girl. I do love a good meander through your hardworking but peaceful and serene life (at least that’s how it feels). Actually, just realised I read both this post and the previous one as a single, which was lovely, because I got to wander around the farm with you as well. So sorry to hear about the ducks, but the frost is looking quite lovely, and I’m glad you don’t have to trim blackberries anymore. I seem to recall something about steaming unravelled wool before reknitting, but that might not work with yours – those kinks look pretty set! 🙂 xxx

    1. Thanks old bean. It’s funny how life we portray online is so different from real life!
      Steaming unravelled wool would work well if I was just unravelling a small section – will have to remember that tip as I quite often make mistakes and have to redo bits.

  8. I am intrigued by the recipe that requires a 1/4 lb of lard! Sounds like a cake, but lard? Unless it is a lardy cake of course! Hope you sort out the pips without too much trouble as you eat through the marmalade. xx

    1. There are also several cake recipes that use beef dripping, which makes lard sound quite tame. I’ll have to make sure I’m wide awake before I sit down to toast and marmalade.

  9. Sleeves that are too short, no thank you and no pockets, a design flaw! I had no idea that yarn would need to be washed and fluffed but I think it’s worth it! And old recipes, marmalade and pips, as long as it tastes good, its an easy work around!

    1. Goodness – they must be mighty recipes to be listed in pecks. The best measurement I’ve found so far in the books is “sixpenny worth cream” .

  10. Hello Anne, given that I cannot even knit I think unravelling sounds quite scary! But, I am sure you have it completely under control. Adelaide cakes sound fascinating, I wonder what you used in the end and how they looked? Your marmalade looks perfect with those pretty labels, despite the pips.

    PS thank you for alerting me to the crazy settings on my blog. I haven’t changed anything but I will look at it.

    1. I was hoping one of you Australians might know about Adelaide cakes, but it sounds as though they’re English ones named after the Queen. I made them muffin sized, which seemed fine – they’ve all been eaten, which is a pretty good indication.

  11. Gorgeous sweater – think I’m going to have to buy that pattern! Love that you have your grandmother’s books – I have some of my grandmother’s diaries and scribbles from when she married in 1943 and was in the WRNS – some amazing memories she passed down to me. And as for thsoe Sevilel oranges for marmalade…lovely! We can’t ge tthem in Spain, they are pretty much all sent to England (or pulped and sent in this form) for us to make jam!

    1. How strange that you can’t get Seville oranges in Spain. Perhaps a case of “what can we do with these bitter oranges that are full of pips? Hey, let’s sell them to the gullible Brits” 🙂

  12. Oh what a pity about the marmalade. It’s so annoying when something like that happens 🙂 But at least the marmalade is still edible!
    I know what unravelling sweaters is like, only mine was half knitted, not finished. You have my sympathies 😉
    And the recipe book sounds like an absolute gem!

    Sarah x

  13. I’ve got some of my grandmother’s handwritten recipes but I’m ashamed and a bit sad to say that when I was clearing my parents’ house I just had to let my mum’s recipes go. It was an overwhelming task and I couldn’t keep everything. Still Blogland is an endless source of inspiration. Unravelling mistakes is what puts me off knitting anything other than hats and gloves. Your pips in marmalade reminded me of the stones in my grandad’s damson jam!

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