Monday, November 30, 2009

I agree, Lisa, that that most interesting letter from the Shetland Museum is a remarkable feature of Fleegle’s remarkable story. Something will have to be done about getting it into print. The last journalism I actually ventured on was Gladys Amedro’s obituary for the Scotsman. It occurred to me then that maybe nobody would do it, if I didn’t, and I think I was probably right.

It was fun, doing the research by telephone like a real grown-up journalist. (I spoke to Amedro on the telephone once, but we never met and I certainly couldn’t be said to have known her.) Something of the sort may be necessary here, if I can’t nudge anyone else into doing it.

A good day’s hat-knitting yesterday. The early crown decreases occur only once every four rows, and therefore seem slow. Pretty soon I will begin to accelerate towards the end. Maybe I’ll postpone the ASJ and finish it off today.

That still leaves time for one more Christmas hat. I am thinking of a cashmere watchcap for a child, using the skein-and-a-bit of eggshell-blue yarn left over from Theo’s gansey – the one that was meant to be photographed with then-candidate Obama, although it never happened. I’m not quite sure I’ve got enough, and the handy how-much-yarn-do-you-need calculator Helen C.K.S. gave me as a first-foot present a couple of years ago, won’t work since I don’t know the length of a skein.

It’s uncomfortable, worrying about whether one has enough yarn. And I can’t think off hand of anything else to finish off the crown with if I run out. On the other hand, it’s a shame to waste that yarn.

This week’s excitements will be provided by seeing what happens to my Tickerfactory progress line when it gets to the end of the scale, and, I hope, by the arrival of a pompom maker. That’s proving slow.


I made a good start on the Christmas cards yesterday. I’m doing pretty well with the on-line present-ordering, too. I hope to advance both of those efforts today.

But the big excitement this morning will be toiling up the hill to view an auction sale to be held later this week – one of the items is a picture of our very house, by an artist who used to live in Drummond Place. The estimate of £6-8,000 puts it well out of our range, but if my Fairy Godmother is still trying to think of a Christmas present for me, there it is.


  1. Anonymous9:50 AM

    it might be a 'bit' tedious but if you have a skein winder you could unwind the skein you have - that you wish to know the length of - onto your own skein winder, if you measure the circumference of one wind and count the number of winds you can then calculate the length of skein, it sounds even more tedious now that I have written it down!

  2. rosesmama11:33 AM

    Can you knit the cashmere hat top down? Start with an i-cord a number that is a factor of the final count, reverse the decreases to increases and start ribbing when you reach the correct number stitches. It might be a beanie, but if there is enough yarn, then it might be a proper hat with a cuff. I, too, hate wasting cashmere.

  3. Well, you got me fired up, and I contacted, via Ravelry, the editor of The Knitter. She seemed interested, and said she would talk to her team. Here is her response:

    From: TheKnitter-ed
    6:30 AM
    re: The Queen Susan Shawl
    Sent at 4:38 AM Today

    Hi Susan
    Thanks so much for bringing this wonderful story to my attention. It is absolutely fascinating and I am talking to my team today about it.
    I’m wondering why you approached us instead of one of your US magazines?
    Best, Juliet

    And my reply:

    Well, first of all, yours is the only knitting magazine to which I have a subscription, because it’s the best one out there. I have every issue and have knitted several lovely pieces from them.

    Second, you are based in the UK and I thought that your readers would more closely identify with the story. Most Americans aren’t interested in history and would probably goggle at the shawl and skip the text.

    The group would be delighted if you decided to take it further. Let us know what else we can do to help you. And I am sure Carol at the Shetland Museum would also be happy to supply you with anything you might need.

  4. I think Fleegle is right too. It is a truly extraordinary story and a magnificent piece of work. I may be wrong but I also think that the story would appeal to a wider audience in the UK because it is more closely associated with UK history. My own grandmother, who came from Caithness, would have been amazed by it.

  5. You're the best, Jean! Here's what the editor of Knitter wrote to me this morning:

    We would be honoured and delighted to run a piece about the shawl.

    Thanks for giving me a push.