Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Ides of March

J*mes is I believe the only British or American journalist in Lh*sa at the moment, and we had an exciting time yesterday emailing and phoning each other to say we’d just heard or seen him on the BB*. He expects to be expelled at any moment, and telephone connections are pretty precarious today, but I heard him an hour ago, still there.

(Rachel just phoned to say he has an article on page 2 of today’s Times. I hope they haven’t cut it out of the Scottish edition.)

One of those family stories which dog his adult life concerns the time during our first or second summer in K*rkmichael when I lost track of him for a while, until a voice from the middle of the raspberry patch replied to my anxious calls, “I’m not here.”

Pasold knitting conference

I had a grand time yesterday. I spent time with Lindsay, the John Lewis Rowan lady, and met Natalie of the Yarn Yard at last. Liz Lovick was there, according to the participants’ list. I had a couple of unsuccessful shots at identifying her but ultimately failed.

As for the conference itself, the high point was undoubtedly Anne Sinclair from Fair Isle, talking about the history of Fair Isle and its knitting. Linda Newington from the Winchester School of Art, nervous because she had never made such a presentation before, gave a most interesting talk about the knitting material under her care.

Both Richard Rutt and Montse Stanley have donated substantial collections. Bishop Rutt’s donation (he’s still alive and well) includes an impressive shelf of Victorian knitting books. Montse Stanley (who sadly died young) collected fascinating knitted objects as well as books and patterns.

I gather that much of the material – although not the knitted objects or pattern leaflets – is included in the Special Collections section of the University of Southampton on-line library catalogue. I haven’t explored that avenue yet – I’d like to see the list of the Bishop’s books.

We agreed over lunch that the excellent collection belonging to the Knitting and Crochet Guild needs that kind of professional care.

The weakest part of the conference, to my taste, was the Women’s-Studies element. Lindsay’s husband, surveying the list of papers in advance, suggested a couple of other titles for us – “The Semiotics of Socks”, for example. It was a bit like that, at times.

The difference between contributors who did and didn’t themselves knit, was striking. Anne Sinclair, needless to say, was a knitter. So is her mother, now in her 80’s – the presentation concluded with a wonderful picture of a barrow-load of her grandchildren, all in wonderfully different Fair Isle sweaters.

As for knitting, all well here. I must be about half-way down the patterned part of Theo’s gansey’s second sleeve. Enough has been decreased that it’s speeding up. I nearly finished a sock at the conference yesterday. I hope for an over-view of the scene tomorrow, and some catching up with recent most helpful comments.


  1. James was on the More 4 News as well, or at least his voice was.

  2. I'm really pleased you managed to meet up with Natalie at last. It sounds like you all had a good day. I'm sorry to have missed it, but it turned out that even if Hubby had been home, I'd still have had to be here to deal with the latest building problems, alas.
    Oh well, next year. And I still have my new stash as consolation.

  3. How I wish I could have been there. Thanks for telling us about it.

  4. Wonderfully acute comments on the conference. Thankyou.

  5. I believe I heard James yesterday, as well, but I didn't make the connection.

  6. Anonymous8:02 PM

    I'd wager that eventually someone at the library will regret not having kept the pattern leaflets. Look at how long it took for someone to find a really early mention of Kitchener stitch.

    Is there any way an American can buy the Pasold publications without using Paypal or its ilk?

  7. Anonymous12:51 AM

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  8. Anonymous5:16 AM

    Tuned in to Canadian Broadcasting Corp. radio news today it struck home to me how small the world is; to recognize a news correspondent's name by the fact one reads his mother's blog!