We had a good time with Greek Helen, all too brief. She is now in
, about to celebrate a faux
Thanksgiving this afternoon with my sister and her husband and Rachel’s family. London
All well with the little Brownstone. I should finish the second sleeve and cast on the body today.
Granddaughter Hellie (on the left of the back row of the Grandchildren in the sidebar: today is her birthday) works for the
literary agency which represents P.D.
James, or “Phyllis” as we call her in the office. Hellie told us when we were
recently about the new book, a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice”. She
said that James submitted it diffidently, as an old woman’s jeu d’esprit – she’s
90, or nearly – and suggested perhaps half her usual advance. London
The publisher read it and paid her twice her usual advance.
I’m not a great fan of pastiche, but I enjoyed it hugely. It was getting a bit hard to believe in Adam Dalgleish’s adventures as police procedural anyway. Mr. Darcy makes an admirable substitute, and James’s calm, intelligent style is perfectly suited to the attempt.
“The Robe of Glory”
Liz Lovick has an interesting blog post about the idea of the “Robe of Glory”. Apparently there was a pattern for a pram blanket in Good Housekeeping in the 80’s, claiming that it represented an old Shetland tradition. Liz has yet to meet a native Shetlander who has heard of it, and wonders about the origin of the story. I think I can help.
It’s in James Norbury’s introduction to the Odham’s Encyclopedia of Knitting, undated but probably about 1950 or a year or two earlier. I discovered the book in the late 60’s and used it extensively for my early adventures in
Isle and Shetland knitting.
In that introduction, Norbury recounts a visit he claims to have made to a knitter on
Fair Isle in the mid-thirties. “I simply asked her what
she was knitting. To my surprise, her answer was, ‘A Robe of Glory.’….She spread
out her knitting across my knee and told me its story.
“The common practice on Fair Isle was for the grandmother of the family to knit the first
Fair Isle sweater for her grandson to wear when he
reached adolescence. Looking down at the patterns and pointing to them with her
finger, the Fair Isle knitter said to me:
“’I start with the ‘Water of Life’ and then I knit the ‘Seed of Life’ which is nurtured by the water into the ‘Flower of Life’ which forms my next pattern. I shall give him an ‘Anchor of Hope’ and a ‘Star’ to guide him on his way.’ And then, pointing to the shoulder, she continued, ‘I knit a ‘Crown of Glory’ which will be his reward if he has lived a good life.’”
You young people cannot imagine how few knitting books there were Before Kaffe. I am sure the Good Housekeeping designer was inspired by that passage. As was I: I knit wedding sweaters for my daughters and daughters-in-law something along those lines. Each is different, but they all have the Crown of Glory on the shoulder. Here is Helen’s. The crown is purple. All the colours in this sweater were either natural-sheep, or dyed by me from Strathardle lichens. I saved the best for the last. The next pattern down seems to be the Anchor of Hope.
I could show you a pattern idea that P*tricia R*berts took from Odham’s Encyclopedia if I bestirred myself.