Never before has a post so well fit its category, for I have nothing at all finished to show you today! The crafting pipeline is full to bursting with projects knitterly, stitchy and cakey. On Wednesday I took a trip to my favourite yarn shop, The Wool Shed, near Oyne. They have relocated from their sizeable premises to within the nearby gallery-gift shop Touched By Scotland, as a sort of concession in a corner. I must say I was a bit saddened by this, as their stock has reduced somewhat and they’ve lost their table and area for classes within their own shop. The gallery has its own classroom though which The Wool Shed may use. Their display was as gorgeous as ever and had me ooohing and ahhing and squeezing the skeins covetously (in between hissing ‘STOP THAT’ ‘get down now, NOW, please, NOW!’ ‘No, just leave that. Leave it… don’t touch. NOT FOR TOUCHING!’ to Otis as he repositioned a vintage wicker chair, chucked off some hand knit lace samples onto the floor and scaled it to better pull out some balls of yarn from a shelf just out of his reach)
I bought some Rowan DK baby alpaca in a beautiful chestnut brown, for the owl scarf and hat I’ve been asked to make, and some Manos del Uruguay silk/merino in a truly stunning shade of gold. It’s really lustrous with the silk and I can’t wait to knit with it. The Manos cooperative, ensuring rural woman artisans get to use their spinning and dyeing skills whilst receiving a fair price for their work makes the yarn feel even warmer, too. This is for a wrap, alas not for me!
Also in the making is the ring pillow, to be carried by my son Solomon, at my sister’s upcoming wedding. He has now accepted the role of ring bearer, at first point blank refusing and then agreeing only on the condition that he don a Wenlock costume. (London 2012 Olympic mascot. Hmm.) Luckily he has waived the Wenlock clause and will be wearing a pink shirt, chinos and a nice little Liberty lawn bow tie, which I have yet to make. One for Otis too, of course! The ring pillow features the same Liberty print (Betsy, I think) as the bow ties and the flower girl’s dress. It’s a traditional paper pieced hexagon patchwork design, over 2cm hexagons. I love the neat little hexagons when they’re all ready to sew, and they’ve been blu-tacked down in the final design choice.
Finally, in the cookery class, are the two West Indian black cakes that will form the traditional fruity part of the wedding cake table. It’s a Nigella recipe, poached from another cookbook whose author got it from a West Indian woman. I’ve had black cake (a Christmas ting) in Trinidad and it’s delicious: much denser than a normal fruitcake, probably because the fruits sit in rum and Madeira for as long as possible (18 months in this instance) and so become somewhat set, a bit like a fruit cheese. I had to consult all my cake gurus on this one because, bless her, I just didn’t quite trust Nigella. She is, by her own admission, quite slap-dash, and fruit cakes require a certain level of snipping baking and brown papers, measuring, tying of string and general faffing about. Notes were taken from Domestic Goddess, Saint Delia, and Pam the Jam Corbin. I don’t have a Mary Berry book or she would have been in on the action too. But three baking doyennes is enough, surely?!
Anyway, much faffing and three and a half hours later this weighty beauty appeared, and number two is in the oven as I type.
They will sit, ensconced in many layers of foil, for a few more weeks until I ice them the week before the big day. So if the proof of the pudding is in the eating, I’m afraid the jury’s tummies must rumble for a good number of weeks…