Good progress with the scarf, which makes splendid, mindless weekend knitting (and the yarn is great on the hands). I return to dinosaurs today with renewed vigour.
(A bit fuzzy, like the most recent dinosaur picture. Something wrong with camera?)
We’re hoping to go to Strathardle tomorrow for a two-nighter. The weather forecast is showery all week, just as for David and Mel, but I can thin my orach in the rain if need be. I also need to make up some beds for the Beijing Mileses who will be with us towards the end of next week. I wonder if James has ever seen the “simmer dim”. It’s wonderful, even in Perthshire.
There was one of those articles about Living Frugally in the Independent on Sunday yesterday; pretty silly. The Royal Horticultural Society, no less, was quoted as saying that you can save £1000 a year by growing your own vegetables. Well, maybe Batman and Robin could, if they gardened a couple of acres in Sussex. I doubt if I “save” £50, and I wonder if even the Fishwife’s wonderful allotment “saves” £500. I garden for the joy of it, and for the taste of a freshly-picked pea.
“The Lerwick Lace Shawl”
Shandy (another vegetable gardener) says in yesterday’s comment that a sheep left unshorn eventually sheds its wool, and would be easy to roo. The difficulty seems to lie in explaining that to the sheep.
Sharon cites a movie by Michael Powell called “The Edge of the World”, made on Foula in 1936. He also wrote a book about the making of it, “200,000 ft: the Edge of the World”, Dutton, ’38. He describes just the sheep Shandy is thinking of: “…some cynical-eyed matron, whose mass of dragging, tangled wool, half on, half off her back and shoulders, gives her a horrible similarity to the leering semi-undress of a mid-Victorian brothel and show that she has avoided rooing for two seasons and will be got into a kro only over your dead body…”
The technique for rounding them up on Foula, apparently, was for the old men and the children and the women, in small, pre-arranged groups, to “feign an aimless sauntering nearer and nearer the sheep who watch this pretence with deep suspicion”.
Sharon says that Foula still has a tiny population today, perhaps as a direct result of the film.
And, yes, Shandy, she says that the wool rooed from the neck is the finest and was reserved for lace.
Tamar, I wonder if you should relax about using a credit card on the Internet – although I agree you’ve got to keep a very close eye on things.
Sharon’s main discovery about technique is on the first page of text. Her antique shawl was knit from the borders inward and “where the border joined the centre there were a lot of erratically spaced groupings of multiple decreasings. I first took this to mean that the knitter hadn’t finally chosen her centre till the last moment and had done this radical reshaping then to allow for the new pattern….But finally I realised that…this gathering was most likely to be…actually pre-planned: demonstrating a rarely-mentioned method of shaping fine lace borders that I now appreciate was used frequently in Shetland….I believe this simple advance could only have been used due to a thorough understanding of the unique nature of their wool’s dressing qualities.”