Monday, July 14, 2008

Not much accomplished, scarf-wise. Still, it was a pleasant respite.

And a not-wasted day. I think I’ve more or less got hold of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and await this week’s events with some interest. There is a good article in today’s FT – I found it on Real Clear Politics – from which I learn that Fannie and Freddie actually invented (it had to be somebody) the securitisation of mortgages from which much of our trouble stems.

Shetland Knitting

I had a message from Gladys Amedro’s son Guy saying that the Shetland Times is preparing another edition of his mother’s book. That’s good news. It is a good book, and she was a most important link between the traditional Shetland knitters and the wider world.

She was meticulously careful to eliminate error, and it sounds as if Guy is continuing in a way she would thoroughly approve. He remembers his father inserting an erratum slip into remaining copies of the 1996 reprint, but doesn’t have it. If any of you do, please let me know and I’ll pass the news on. (I am surprised that the date is so recent.)

I may have answered his question already, though. There is an error in that edition, in the pattern for the “Fine Lace Scarf” which is a reduction of the preceding pattern for a “Fine Lace Stole”. On page 35 is says to repeat rows 35 to 58 “a further three times”. But after the centre of the scarf, the instruction on page 36 is to work as rows 35 to 58 three times.

I knit the scarf in qiviut for my mother, and didn’t notice the discrepancy until I was blocking it. Since the book had obviously been produced with much care, I wrote to Mrs Amedro c/o the Shetland Times. She rang me up within the week, to apologise.

So that could be the mistake on the erratum slip.


Number 13 (autumn, 1939, the last of the pre-war ones) sold for £13.50 on eBay last night. A ludicrous price. I would be embarrassed to tell you what I paid for my copy, so I won’t. Has the bottom fallen out of eBay in general, or just out of the VKB market? There were no bids whatsoever with 45 seconds to go, so I put in a tenner just to encourage the seller.


Thank you, sister Helen and Mel, for encouragement on the French tarragon front. I will try it next year. Re-reading the article, I see that Robin Lane Fox says that his own plants got through last winter, at least. I can always protect them with sawn-off plastic water bottles.

The Saturday Financial Times ranges widely, Kate, and we regularly read it. I have long admired Robin Lane Fox from afar. He is an Oxford don, specialising in Alexander the Great and in the late Roman Empire. I have his book “Pagans and Christians in the Mediterranean World from the Second Century A.D. to the Conversion of Constantine”. His previous books are listed at the beginning:

Alexander the Great
Variations on a Garden
Search for Alexander
Better Gardening


  1. Tarragon dies to the ground and can be protected with heavy mulch. (Sister again)

  2. Anonymous1:12 PM

    I have a 1993 edition of Amedro's book which has the error you note, but no errata page. Sadly, I have not knit from this book and thus have not noted any errors. Thank you for sharing the one you discovered. There are so many lovely pattern in this book. I need to make time to do at least one soon. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  3. Anonymous5:50 PM

    Jean, I know Robin Lane Fox's non-gardening work well, but had no idea about this other side of his life. Thanks for posting about him.
    - Beth

  4. Anonymous4:27 AM

    Robin Lane Fox writes about gardening?? We read his books on Alexander the Great in my college seminar on Alexander... amazing.

    I garden in containers, and got a late start this year because I had to move. I put in an order of herb plants and am going to be putting them in a windowbox-- so hopefully they can survive the northern Ohio winter inside on the kitchen windowsill. I have tomatoes in large pots, but they got going so late this year that I wonder if I'll get a large crop before the first frost... But I will be putting in a large crop of spinach, green onions and peas for the fall.

  5. There's something quite satisfying that gardening and Don-hood has been united so satisfyingly in one person. I'll look out for these books at my local library, which can sometimes be quite surprising in the breadth of its collection.

  6. Jean -- the book is called Shetland Lace? Pls. keep us up to date on the new publishing if you find anything out about it -- I don't mind ordering things from occasionally!