Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I had a very happy day, yesterday. I met Helen in John Lewis’ – the first time I have actually encountered a Blog-reader, other than the ones I’m related to. We had coffee in their new, horrible cafĂ© which no longer has a view of Calton Hill, discovered much in common, and then inspected the new season’s yarns. I flipped through the Rowan magazine and wasn’t tempted. Sharon Miller’s lacey shrug might impress the judges (I’ve got to knit a shrug for this year’s Games) but I don’t think anyone I know and love would wear it. I bought the Main Color for the nudibranch pattern I am about to test-knit for Lorna.

Then I went to the post office and sent 480 Tetley teabags to China. You hit the nail on the head, Beadslut – it’s British grocery store teabags that James and his wife pine for. You’ve got an interesting and amusing blog, too.

Ganseys

Kate, I think a jumper is just any old sweater, whereas a gansey is specifically one of those fisherman’s things, square in shape, with characteristic tight knit-and-purl patterns plus a few cables.

I’ve had Gladys Thompson’s book for ages, and greatly admire it. I sort of think I tried to knit Seahouses Pattern I, Mrs Laidlaw’s Pattern, as an all-over design on a sweater for Alexander when he was about 10, and I sort of think I never finished it. I’ve got Brown-Reinsel as well (I doubt if there is a knitting library to rival mine from one end of Drummond Place to the other), but until yesterday I had never tried to get to grips with it. It’s full of good stuff, and there’s lots I don’t understand so it would be an educational experience to attempt this. And, Mama Lu and Mar, I’m sure you’re both right, the thing would be to relax on gauge. Alexander is not a sea-faring man.

Once when we were on the train to London, and I was knitting a sock as usual, a man sitting across the aisle started talking to me about knitting. He had worked on the fishing boats, and used to have a gansey, he said, which his grandmother had knit for him, which could stand up by itself. That’s the proper object, all right.

Mrs Thompson, as far as I know, was the first to go out into the field, so to speak, and document folk knitting. The first in Britain, anyway.

Non-knit

I think – see the last couple of days for the reference – that what those arrogant television people wanted last week was not our front door per se, but the view from the doorstep, as a background to Andrew Marr’s thoughts on the Scottish Enlightenment. I’m pretty sure, but I’m not going to trouble myself to look it up, that the architecture is well later than the period he was concerned with – but it’s Edinburgh, and rational, and beautiful.

Angel, I’m a pretty hopeless gardener, too, despite my fine talk. And pots are difficult. Do the garden centres around you sell plants for annual bedding in the spring? Annuals are likely to try harder. And in the fall you could plant bulbs. They’re pretty well guaranteed to succeed, at least once. And there’s nothing like a geranium. You could expand your collection. Some of them have wonderful leaves.

Kate, I’m from all over the States and don’t belong anywhere. My parents were essentially mid-westerners. I was born in California because they happened to be there at the time, and lived after that in Salt Lake City, Detroit (in the war years), and finally Asbury Park, NJ (hi, Mar!) from which I fled screaming. College in Ohio. We had a year in Northampton, MA when Rachel was a toddler and Alexander a baby. I liked that a lot. That was before Webs.

1 comment:

  1. i'm knitting an aran from a brown-reinsel pattern right now. I've been very tempted to do a traditional gansey, but the temptation fades as the thought of it makes my hands ache. I would like to read her book, though, just because it sounds interesting.

    Edinburgh is beautiful. I've only been there once, and almost immediately escaped the city actually - i think i was in people overload at the time. I did enjoy it while i was there, though, despite getting lost and wandering around for several hours trying to find my hostel (or maybe because of that). Had i not been carrying several books for a professor i was going to meet in a couple of weeks in my backpack, the being lost would have been much more enjoyable, i think. The shot from your door reminds me very much of the two days i was there and the impression it left upon me.

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