Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Two more followers! Welcoming hugs!

We’re going to have a go at London. It’s still savagely cold here, although there has been no more snow since Monday’s damp blizzard – but the forecast continues to predict that things will ease somewhat tomorrow. Once I’ve had my porridge I’ll make my way up to the station once again and see about tickets.

C’s homecoming has been delayed for a few days – Monday is now the target, I believe. Just as well, considering the cold. Our niece sounded happy with her progress when we spoke last night.

I proceeded with that sleeve. The utter round-and-roundness is very soothing. Meg says to err “on the too-long side to allow the bloused sleeve to blouse”. I’m all for the blousing of the sleeve, that’s one of the attractions of the pattern – but will it work, with that non-elastic garter stitch cuff? Won’t a too-long sleeve just come down over the knuckles?

I am fully prepared to frog the whole thing when the DVD turns up.

Margaret Stove’s “Wrapped in Lace”

It’s enchanting – recommended. It’s sort of an autobiography, couched in terms of lace, beginning with a reconstruction of her own christening shawl based on photographs of the event. It incorporates accounts of her travels, to Orenburg, to Estonia, to the US, and also the history of her own designing, firmly rooted in her native New Zealand. That’s a very appealing aspect of the book.

She doesn’t shy away from displaying a certain naiveté – in the account, for instance, of how she found a pattern for a “Faro” shawl and adapted the shaping for her own designs, long before she learned about the Faroese tradition.

The Shetland chapter is slightly surprising – it is based on a beautiful antique shawl in pitiful condition which she was asked to restore. There is extremely useful information there on the techniques involved, and on the problems of conservation. The surprise comes from the fact that her own travels in Shetland don’t figure – I know she has been there. And Sharon Miller is conspicuously absent, although every other contemporary lace guru I can think of appears – Galina and Nancy Bush and Myrna Stahman and Hazel Carter. EZ and Meg and Mary Walker Phillips and Barbara Walker also make cameo appearances. No Sharon, although of course she is in the bibliography.

Some good patterns, too.

Alan Bennett

I continue to read him, and continue to find him very good company for these days of cold and fear.

I was astonished yesterday to discover him using “fey” to mean what we all think it means, until we look it up: “A Scot like himself, she was fey as well as formidable – insisting, for instance, in wearing a daisy chain to their wedding.”

Modern dictionaries, according to my discoveries on Google in the last few minutes, allow that meaning. The ones on the shelves in this house do not. They stop with meanings 1a and 1b, in the link I provide. Alan Bennett is using it in sense 3b. He is nearly my age, and meticulous about words. I am disappointed.

But I think I should relax, and adopt Humpty Dumpty's attitude to the meanings of words.


  1. Dawn in NL9:34 AM

    Your post was thought provoking today. 2b is the meaning of fey that I am familiar with.

    The idea of relaxing about language reminded me of this Stephen Fry animation that my husband sent me. (Hope I dont end up in spambox limbo again ;-))

    Good luck with your travel plans,

  2. I agree with you about 1a and 1b - but I would have extended to 2a.

    I come from a family of happy pedants - always throwing things at the television and marking the newspaper in red pen!

  3. rosesmama12:01 PM

    I also read everyday, but, predictably, do not know how to be a follower.

  4. Anonymous4:31 PM

    I share Humpty's attitude to word use, but do not allow others the same privilege.
    -- Gretchen

  5. Interesting that you should be finding Alan Bennett a comfort at present. "Writing Home" is linked for ever in my mind as the book I was reading in my father's last days. Recently, I have found some of his sentence structures irritating, rather than just idiosyncratic.

  6. I have only ever used it as it is in 2b. Good luck on the plans for London.

  7. Jean, regarding the blousing on the sleeve for the jacket, just keep in mind the difference between the yarn you are using and that which I think Meg used. When I looked at the pictures on the SHP website, the example on the DVD looks like the unspun icelandic yarn which is Meg's favorite yarn. This would produce quite a sturdy fabric compared to sock yarn.

    You may want to try the sleeve on, pinning it to your own sleeve at various heights to test how your fabric is "blousing" (not sure if that's actually a word). Then you've some idea of how long you'd like the sleeve to be.

    Hope the weather cooperates for your journey to London.