Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Yesterday's excitement was lunch with one of you in a sushi restaurant on Broughton Street – we had a grand time, and scarcely talked about knitting at all. We'll get around to that next time, which may not be for awhile, alas, as she lives several thousand miles away from Broughton Street. She brought me three skeins of Jared's Shelter yarn in a wonderful dark red. I follow his designs with attention, and have bought and knit one of them (for Thomas the Elder, this month's bridegroom, and then there was enough yarn left over to allow me to scale the pattern down and knit it again for Thomas the Younger, this month's birthday boy). But I've never had the yarn in my hands before. There's enough for a serious scarf.

She also gave me “Coats and Caps for Children”, a hand-out included with the Centenary Stitches exhibition in Lincoln. I'd like to see that one. The patterns have been taken from an old Paton's publication and updated by Judith Brodnicki.

The exhibition is connected with the opening of a film called “Tell Them Of Us”, about the Great War losses of a particular Lincolnshire family. Many knitters worked to construct authentic period sweaters and shawls for the film, including my lunch companion of yesterday, and a book called “Centenary Stitches” with 70 of the patterns they used, updated, is about to be released upon the world. I've just pre-ordered mine.

“Tell Them of Us”, the title of the film, derives from a famous WWI epitaph written by John Maxwell Edmonds deriving, of course, from the even more famous epitaph to the dead of Thermopylae by Simonides. It's one of the few things I can still quote in the original Greek – I'd write it out for you if I were more adroit with this computer. The point of the battle was to hold the Persians back for a bit while the main Greek forces got ready to beat them at Marathon, further south.

Tell the Lacedaemonians, passer-by,
That we lie here, doing what they told us to do.

The site of the battle must be somewhere proximate to the road from Thessaloniki to Pelion which we drove along one happy day with Greek Helen and her family. There is only one way south to Athens – that was the point of the battle.

And while we're on this elegaic WWI theme, appropriate to 11/11, there was an interesting article in the FT last weekend about the death of Lord Kitchener. (Nothing was said about knitting.) I knew he had died on a voyage to Russia, and had always assumed that death struck somewhere off the coasts of northern Europe, as it did for so many British merchant seamen taking supplies to Russia in WWII. And not being terribly hospitably received when they got there (if they did)– Churchill is interesting on this subject in his account of WWII.

But,no, in Kitchener's case. His ship had just left Scapa Flow and was still within sight of the west coast of Orkney. It doesn't make much difference. Everybody is just as dead. But it's interesting to know.

As for actual knitting, it progressed well yesterday. Archie's sweater is difficult to photograph because it begins abruptly, and therefore curls – an edging will be added later. The rows are very long and slow now – and I am a clumsy knitter. But yesterday I counted the fronts and the back – and they came out right! The fronts are exactly half the back, as they should be, allowing for the fact that one of the packets will be suppressed when everything is joined into a tube.


  1. Anonymous11:00 AM

    Hello again, Jean, from Pelion

    The new bit of road to Athens from Volos no longer passes directly in front of the monument to Leonidas, but the back of it can be seen from the road. We always make a point of stopping to reflect on the history; compelling.


  2. Ellen1:11 PM

    During our recent trip to London we visited the Great War exhibit at the Imperial War Museum: very well done. Here in the USA, my grandfather, a 38 year old physician with three children and another, my mother, on the way, enlisted when the American's entered the war. He was stationed at a hospital in NJ where returning soldiers were cared for, direct from the ship. My grandmother, back home in Ohio with four children, knit for the soldiers with Red Cross issued olive green yarn (socks and hats). I inherited a skein of it, still in good shape 75 years later, and incorporated it into something I was knitting as a gift to my mother. I'll be interested to see this book, and may have to preorder it! Thanks for the heads up.

  3. Glad to hear your knitting has worked out correctly.

  4. what a fascinating article about Lord Kitchener - full of intrigue and mystery and blowing winds and capsizing ship ... also reminded me of that character, Ronald Merrick, in JEWEL IN THE CROWN - should watch that again sometime.

    anyway here is the link for those interested - its very well written... http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/f3760af0-6545-11e4-91b1-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3ImNzN6HV
    (you have to register for free subscription to view entire article - but its well worth it).

    and agree with the author about the remaining documents being sealed - rather intriguing

    and that the wreck has been "recently" classified as a war grave - why?

    (can you tell i love mysteries!)

  5. Love starting my day reading your doings. I have been hooked recently on the Foxes Paws shawl. So many increases and decreases, I am constantly ripping a row back and starting again. But I had just enough skeins of Knitpicks Palette in corgi colors, so am knitting my "corgi" paws shawl. Love it even though it is so labor intensive. It was lovely to see the Princess in action. What a wonderful heirloom to treasure for her.

  6. Exciting it was! Thanks for the plug for Centenary Stitches.

  7. Oh Jean, and Mary Lou, you met up! I am green with envy that you each got to meet the other, having only just missed Jean last year, and the premier this year.