Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Two interesting items from recent obituaries in the Telegraph, completely un-knitting-related:

1)      Stephen Malawista was a scientist “in the forefront of the fight against…Lyme disease”. From his obituary, I learned that it was mothers in the area who were dissatisfied with the diagnosis of  “juvenile rheumatoid arthritis” and spotted the syndrome. I suppose in a place like that, they would all have taken their children off to separate fancy paediatricians in Boston or Hartford or Providence – there may not have been a local GP who had a chance to observe the cluster of cases. I wonder if we are getting more Lyme disease in Perthshire now that we are overrun with deer.
2)      In Marcella Hazan’s obituary yesterday it says that she and Victor retired to Florida “where she continued to cook for her husband twice daily”. That’s no small thing, as I know because I have now been doing it for a quarter of my life. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it mentioned in print before.


I’ve just ordered a knitting belt and some long steel needles from Jamieson & Smith. I wish now that I had bought them when we were there, in order to discuss not the belt but the needles. Watch this space.

The Milano proceeds well. It’s lovely yarn, and the colours are splendidly chosen. It’s beginning to look distinctly Milanese. Pic soon.

Kathleen, please don’t take me as an authority on anything – in this case, the fact that the best Fair Isle designs don’t repeat patterns. But that does seem to be true. Sheila McGregor says, “The most highly prized jerseys have no two patterns repeated, and yet have patterns chosen to match and harmonize, so that the effect is rich but not garish”.

The link Maureen sent yesterday, to Liz Lovick’s “Leogh jacket”, would seem to bear it out, although that one does look a bit garish to me.

So I didn’t get “Rams and Yowes” considered for casting-on yesterday. I did get up to John Lewis and chose buttons for the BSJ. Now I have to nerve myself to sew them on. I hate sewing in all its forms.

Theo phoned last night, and of course I thought when I recognised his voice that the baby had been born five weeks early – not fatal, but also not desirable. However, that hasn’t happened. The baby is still safely unborn (if that isn’t too much of an oxymoron), Jenni is well, and Theo himself sounds very cheerful. 


  1. Anonymous10:49 AM

    Dr. Malawista was a faculty member at Yale--which is where mothers from Lyme would naturally head first. What's all this nonsense about Boston?
    Helen (sister)

    1. The Malawista obituary says -- and, yes, I know, don't believe everything you read in the paper -- that two mothers in Old Lyme, in 1976, independently disliked the diagnosis of "juvenile rheumatoid arthritis" which they had received for their children. They got in touch with other mothers locally, and, as their suspicions increased, started knocking on doors. When they presented their data to "health officials", the matter was referred to Malawista and the rest is history.
      My inbred respect for the medical profession led me to the hypothesis that the original diagnoses were made by different doctors, probably in different places, who therefore didn't have the information they needed to spot the cluster.

  2. Anonymous11:43 AM

    Early in my marriage I called my mother in amazement, "HOW did you do it all those years?!!" Now I'm not married and happily graze unless inspired to cook. Kudos to all who persevere. I hear there are even some who like it.

  3. Anonymous12:09 PM

    The fact that Marcella Hazen's obit mentioned her cooking 2 X day all these years means that her husband both noticed and appreciated. As the psalmist said, a woman's value beyond pearls, or something like that.

  4. Janis in Lyme6:57 PM

    I am proud to say that one of the mothers who finally got public health officials to look at Lyme Disease is my neighbor, Polly Murray. She was a member of our monthly knitting group until family needs and health issues took her time and energy.

    Polly is a talented artist - I have one of her oils in my knitting room/office, but became an authority in Lyme Disease, driving down to New Haven to research at the Yale medical library and to speak to medical experts. She wrote a book, The Widening Circle, about her experience, and camera crews used to show up once or twice a year to interview her.

  5. I'm happy that Jenni is doing well. Fingers crossed for full term healthy baby!

    I greatly enjoyed reading about your Shetland adventure. I had to save the reading for when I got back from my adventure at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. It was hit with storms fed from the remnants of a Pacific typhoon but we still had a grand time.

  6. I will be careful about your authority, Jean, but what you said made innate sense. I mean if one is going to create such a knitting tour de force as a proper Fair Isle jumper, it should go "all the way". And you are certainly more of an authority than I am, having never yet knit one. I suppose if I had one, it would be on my "knitting life list". And I will keep the shoulders in mind - that sparked a memory of Starmore emphasizing the meeting of patterns at the shoulder in the Fair Isle design book of hers.

    Keeping my fingers crossed for Theo and Jenni and the baby.