Saturday, May 04, 2013

Today I began with a quiet quarter-hour with Franklin. We went on to mattress stitch, in the lesson about sewing on lace edgings. This time I had trouble because he kept stopping – that’s something about something called “streaming”, I think.

Except at the end of the section, when I wanted him to stop and he was determined to talk on about herringbone stitch. I silenced him at last. We’ll come to that only after I have practised mattress stitch.

I wound the first skein for Relax2 yesterday, and ordered some KnitPro needles, and worried on about size and gauge (it's different every time I measure it) and how many stitches to cast on. And I mustn’t forget that I want to wear this thing over a polo shirt, to provide a collar. Back to Epaminondas mode.

The Pakokku sock progresses. I should get pretty near the second heel today. It’s striping tamely. And my agent is this very day, I believe, going to Maryland S&W to look for more Pakokku on my behalf.

One of you sent me this wonderful link: Franklin, again.

Judith, I was deeply grateful for the link you sent yesterday to the article about Art Needlework Industries in Oxford, and Heinz Edward Kiewe. One of the things I did right in life was to write to him, when the shop closed. I got in reply one of his famous letters in green ink – it must be somewhere here in the archives.

There was a summer once when I collected bits of heather and things in Strathardle, and then went into that shop and tipped them all out onto the counter, and said, I want a sweater like that. The girl went away and after a while came back with the right Shetland yarn and I knitted it for my husband, an all-over Fair Isle pattern. It made him look like a pheasant. Eventually he outgrew it, and the moths got it – the remnants must be somewhere here in the archives.

Cardinal O’Brien

He turned up unexpectedly this week, moving the last of his things out of Archbishop’s House here in Edinburgh and – rather more controversially – into a church house in Dunbar to which he had long planned to retire. The parishioners of Our Lady of the Waves in Dunbar recently organised a statement, signed by over 90% of those attending Sunday Mass, saying “We the undersigned wish to express our support and affection for Cardinal Keith O’Brien. We look forward to welcoming him into our community when he retires to Dunbar.”

I suspect these developments mean that the new Pope has decided that there is no need for further public humiliation. O’Brien is still a cardinal, so it is a matter for the two of them. The bishops of Scotland are said to be cross at his reappearnce, and the stout Glasgow archbishop who is now in charge of Edinburgh is said to have shot off a letter to the Papal Nuncio.

If he is really to be allowed to retire to Dunbar, and even to help out in the parish, I am very happy to hear it. My husband thinks he should have stayed away (like Marshall Ney). Maybe he had nowhere else to live. I don’t suppose he is a rich man.

But nothing that I have said above should be construed as approval of his taste in sweaters.


  1. Anonymous11:11 AM

    Re the Cardinal's sweater: poor dear has spent so many years wearing the "company uniform" that he has forgotten how to choose a proper sweater.

    Your archives fascinate. I would love to jump into them like a pile of fall leaves, and explore away the afternoon.

  2. Perhaps he needs to learn to knit in his retirement? Richard Rutt has set an example in being a knitting bishop after all.

  3. I love the idea of bringing your flora and fauna to the shop and using that to shoes yarn colors. Did you find you a pattern as well? It reminds me of Alice Starmores's book with lovely photos of nature paired with the colors/patterns they inspired.

  4. Anonymous9:46 PM


    Good News! My sister (your agent) got the Pakokku you wanted. Lookout Vampires of Venice, a Miles is on your trail.

    Jeanne in Rochester

  5. Anonymous10:17 PM

    Oh no, Jean,

    BAD news. She could NOT get V. of V. So sorry for my faulty reading of her text message.

    Apologies again, Jeanne in Rochester

  6. Lynne in Florida (lynnegh - newbie)12:24 AM

    Very unfortunate taste in sweaters, unless it's been in storage since around 1950.

    What marvelous salespersons you must have in GB. Try that here in the US and you'd either get shouting to remove your trash AT ONCE, or she'd bring screaming neon green yarn. This, at least, has been my experience.

  7. Anonymous2:03 PM

    I think you should dig out that fair isle sweater, felt it in the washing machine, and make it into a bag. How beautiful that would be!

    Beverly in NJ