Monday, November 27, 2006

I finished the watchcap yesterday (it’s turned out rather small of circumference)…

November 002

…and cast on the Calcutta Cup Fair Isle (determined to frog if I’m unhappy about size)…

November 003

…and started writing Christmas cards.

November 001

I still feel rather low. As every year, I sail through much of November thinking, this isn’t so bad after all, and then hit this dreadful week. One comfort, however, is that one is under no obligation whatsoever to enjoy oneself, whereas a day in May not enjoyed to the hilt is a pearl lost forever.


Ah, Catriona, you date yourself – as young! After ANI went down, there was, briefly, a really rather classy LYS on Little Clarendon Street. I visited a subsequent Rowan shop near the bus station – is that Gloucester Green? – and was unimpressed. Rowan, I could get in Birmingham. My vague impression (but it’s been a few years now) is that the Oxford Knitwear Shop is still there. And your news that the Munchy Munchy still functions is the best news of the month.

The proprietor of ANI was named Heinz Edgar Kiewe – a refugee from Hitler’s Germany, mentioned both in Rutt’s History of Handknitting and in Mary Thomas, I’ve forgotten which of her books, in connection with the history of Aran knitting. He wrote an utterly loony book called “The Sacred History of Knitting”. He used to advertise in the VKB, so I knew the shop long before I lived near enough Oxford to visit it. He had a terrific range of Shetland wools, amongst much else.

One summer in Strathardle I picked up bits of heather and leaves and things on the hills, and took them to Ship Street and tipped them out on the counter and said, I want to knit a sweater like that. The colours were patiently matched, and the sweater successfully knit. My husband wore it for years. It made him look like a pheasant.

So it was a real tragedy when Art Needlework Industries closed its doors. I am happy to remember that I wrote to Mr Kiewe (instead of just thinking of doing it), saying that an Oxford without ANI was as unthinkable as one without Blackwell’s, or Balliol. I was rather proud of the phrase.

He died not many months later.

Kate, I’m now more worried about your problem. Your knitting will tend to expand when you finish the colour bit, and going down a needle size may accomplish no more than to make the rest the same size as the Fair Isle. I will follow your adventures on your webpage with interest.

Janet, national origins are quite simple. I am American, bred in the bone, a potential DAR I think. I met my husband while I was studying in Glasgow. He is a Scot, as you opine, although one grandmother was German. Three of our four children have spent substantial time abroad, and Alexander has compounded the transatlantic flavour of things by marrying an American. The other three spouses are thoroughly English.

Helen lives in Greece (she remarked to me while we were there last month, that she has spent more than half her life abroad), James in China. Alexander and Ketki are currently in London, but have lived in Hong Kong and Bombay, and spent time in NY. Rachel, our eldest, is a Londoner through and through. She regards “abroad” with deepest suspicion, and is even a bit doubtful about Scotland, where she was born.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:27 AM

    Thank you Jean for elucidating me on the family geography - i.e. satisfying my curiosity. I detect a number of similarities - I am American born also, with traces back to the Mayflower! Husband is Irish from Northern Ireland but frequently claims to really be from Scotland. (He lived in Edinburgh for 5 years.) To add to the mix, we have been based in Dublin for almost 40 years. Two of the next generation live in the States and the third is in London.