Friday, January 22, 2016

This will inevitably be largely non-knit because so little has happened. I have started the fourth and last welt on the edging of the Dunfallandy blankie and am again knitting on the right side. I have made a rough calculation of how many skeins of madtosh DK I would probably need to knit a plain sleeved v-neck pullover for my husband.

And have reminded myself that if I see the perfect yarn at Loop and they only have two skeins, it's all right, I can wait.

And speaking of waiting, I have found a communication from the Vintage Shetland Project to say that the authoress will be at Edinburgh's Yarn Fest in March, signing copies. That strongly implies that it will be published by then although if so, I have missed the announcement of exactly when. It all continues to seem a bit girly and breathless, although I continue hugely to look forward to the book.


I had a pretty good day yesterday of doing small but vital pre-London tasks, like estimating yarn requirements. Today will be scarier. Tomorrow I think both Archie and his younger brother Fergus, now both at school here in Edinburgh, will be here in Drummond Place in anticipation of their mother's arrival late tomorrow night. Lunch for boys? It's fun, but needs thought.

You're absolutely right, Mary Lou: Eleanor Roosevelt. My grumble yesterday about powerful women whose name was pre-established by some man, completely dissolves when I think of her.

I think I saw her once. My Aunt Emma was much the same age, and in some other ways similar. Aunt Emma was a distinguished scientist, professor of chemistry at Mt Holyoke. Their modern chemistry building is named for her. Both she and Mrs Roosevelt had "homely" faces made beautiful by the intelligence behind them.

I was with Aunt Emma at her club in NYC – this has to be in the late 40's – when Mrs Roosevelt walked across the lobby. She was wearing an old-fashioned "costume" with the skirt very unfashionably below mid-calf. It was an electrical moment.

Memory has suppressed all else. Why was I in NYC with Aunt Emma, to begin with? But the memory is so vivid that I trust it.

One of the major regrets of old age, for everybody, I suspect, is that we didn't make better use of our own elders when we had them. Aunt Emma is the person I most regret not having talked to at length about our family dynamics. She was unmarried herself. She could have told me a lot – and would have, I am sure, had I asked – about her sister, my grandmother; and about my mother.

As for Bernie Sanders: I get my political shirts from Cafe Press. But I should have thought of going to Sanders' own website, once I had determined on him for the 2016 shirt.

(No – I've just tried his website and got tangled up. I went back to CafePress and ordered another shirt, a black tee-shirt with "Bernie Sanders Not for Sale" on it. That's it! That's the slogan I want to keep for 2016.)


  1. How thrilling a memory, clouded or not. I agree about asking questions of elders. Now that I am a member of the elder generation, I hope that the next ones will feel free to ask and I'll be as honest as I can.

  2. You are so right about regretting not asking more of the elder members of our family. I am especially sad that I didn't ask my grandfather more about his life in Denmark before immigrating to the US. What a wonderful memory for you to have of seeing Eleanor Roosevelt. Have a fabulous time in London, Jean!

  3. =Tamar2:31 PM

    It might be a good idea to put some things in writing now; if they're sensitive, they could be in sealed envelopes with specified opening dates (melodramatic as that may seem). The younger generation rarely knows what to ask about until they have more life experience. Also, older siblings may have heard or observed things differently from younger ones.

  4. Differently observed for sure. I still remember listening to my mom and her sister talk about their parents. It was like they grew up in different houses! Amazing. So you should ask everyone and hear all the different stories.

  5. And I forgot to add, apropos of your cat named Norman Thomas, there is an article in the Washington Post: The Daily 202: Bernie Sanders has a Eugene V. Debs problem. Interesting.

  6. ChiGail1:47 AM

    Have a wonderful time in London!

  7. Jean, I look forward most mornings to sharing my morning coffee with you, your observations, and your knitting. I often feel a lovely kinship with you and your world, through this blog. I was delighted to read today that we do, in fact, have something else in common.- As a chemistry graduate of Mount Holyoke ('80), I spent many happy hours in Carr lab, and occasionally even brought my knitting to the weekly department seminars. What a delight to find that you are related to Miss Carr, one of the truly legendary women in science.
    Thank you for the story.