Hi-tech thrills

There I was, thinking I had nothing sufficiently Thrilling to share this week and then, hey presto! I was catching up at The Panopticon, and found Franklin enthusing about some new knitting needles.

What is so thrilling about that? Well, I am sufficiently geeky to thrill to the whole notion of Carbon Fibre knitting needles. I love the idea of new tech coming together with the very old tech of knitting. Yes, I know CF isn’t at all that new really, but compared to knitting?  it jolly well is!

I investigated further: the needles are called Blackthorns and come from My Favorite  Thimble. Being Carbon Fibre, they are to all intents unbreakable. Available in small diameter sizes 1.25mm to 3.5mm, sets of 5 needles come in three standard lengths of 4″, 6″ and 8″ – or you can have the length custom-sized at no extra charge. 4 and 6 needle sets are available at different pricing and you can order up some straights too, should you want to (oh, I want to, I want to!) The standard charge is $34.95 – a great deal of money if, like me, you have stocked up on some other favourite needles in all sizes. If you are starting out on your knitting life, I would expect that these needles would be a superlative investment. They should not break and they won’t take on weird bendy forms of their own. They should be the only needles you’ll ever buy, and therefore a sound investment and cheaper in the long run.

I haven’t tested them of course, but there do seem to be many happy users of these needles. There is a Ravelry Group here (316 members.) If I were a working lass, I do think that I would be tempted to try them — and I would love to see a head to head test of them against the Signature aluminium DPNS. The Blackthorns may be expensive, but they undercut the Signatures ($45) by a long way…

Second thrill of the day was my lunch: I do believe that Hebridean Lamb is the most delicously tasty meat that there is. We had juicy tender cutlets with new potatoes, carrots and cabbage and a red wine jus. Food miles would be totally thrilling, had not the poor lamb had to visit Kirkwall to be slaughtered and butchered before returning home to be eaten with relish. (Actually, I ate mine with redcurrant jelly – Mr L had mustard. No relish in sight.)

I would like to think that I had a third thrill to share in revealing that we have acquired a jukebox. Mr L collected it last night and we manhandled it out of the car before lunch. It is not a collectable or particular desirable one and it has suffered greatly after years in a byre… but it surely deserves some investigation to see if it can be restored in some way without spending too much money. That last is the important point – as even a stylus costs £20. If we can get it working, we will probably make a new casing for it – it would be uneconomic (and frankly pointless) to try and make it look as new. Just MDF and a funky paint job… a nice crafty project for me, I think.

There are singles in the juke box… nothing you’d want to play though, except maybe for Runrig. Personally, I love Runrig – in their Donny Munro incarnation, of course. Mr L seems more reserved on the subject.

Anyway, ask me in a few month’s time whether we are thrilled to have the thing in the house or whether it ended up on a bonfire. Judgement definitely reserved at this stage but Mr L is already looking on eBay for some ex-jukebox singles that we might want to play, so I suppose we are leaning towards the positives.

One more thrill for this week – the chooks are providing us with 4 to 5 eggs a day now. It’s a great feeling, to be cooking with home-grown eggs and to know that they are as fresh as they can be, and that the hens that lay them are free-ranging and happy. Properly free-ranging, not some stupid ill-considered EU definition of free-ranging. Ours wander where they will… including, sorry to say, the farmer’s field next door. They come home when they are ready to roost and they put themselves to bed. I must say that the greatest thrill is to be living in a place where foxes present no problem. There are none. So there are no worries at all in allowing the hens their freedom. I particularly love the way that they all come running up the garden to meet me when I go outside. Cupboard love, but nice anyway – and very amusing to observe. Hens are comical creatures.

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