Tuesday, February 23, 2016

No progress on the big question of getting my husband home. The hospital says that re-starting a care package is usually a lot quicker than starting one from scratch. That is at least encouraging.

I made a good start on the leg of the second Arne & Carlos sock. Maybe for Helen’s husband David? She thinks he wouldn’t mind the bright colours despite working in a bank.

And I knit peacefully on, on the Tokyo shawl. Even if I don’t have it to wrap around myself against the February chill, I do have its warm and comforting presence on my lap. Like a knitted cat.

I’ve cut out Lucy Kellaway’s FT page about Shetland, of course. Oddly, it seems to have disappeared from Flipboard where I first read it. To her credit, she tried to get to Fair Isle but was prevented by the weather.

The bit that irritated me comes right at the end, where she is writing about Jamieson & Smith. “…at the back the fleeces were sorted by the same man who has been doing it for 40 years. On the shelves were the same colours I used to knit with, the only difference being that back then they were skeins, now they are disappointingly ordinary-looking balls.”

The man who was sorting the fleeces was (surely) Oliver Henry, a director of the firm. I think she might have mentioned his name.

And the colours are not all the same as they were. J&S, in conjunction with the Shetland Museum, have fairly recently put out a line of “Shetland Heritage” yarn, imitating as closely as possible the bright colours of the Fair Isle pieces in the Museum’s collection. The ballbands are signed with a facsimile of Oliver Henry’s signature. There is also an equivalent fine lace yarn, imitating handspun, wonderful stuff and far superior, in my estimation, to the fragile, single-ply cobweb yarn which used to be the only option for those wedding-ring shawls.


  1. Anonymous12:22 PM

    I agree, Jean, about that very dismissive comment. I noticed it at the time but was so dazzled by the rest of the article that my mind glossed over it. I imagine that man is so happy and satisfied in his job that he doesn't care what comment is made about him, even though you and I are indignant on his behalf, as well we should be. Dismissive-ness is far too common nowadays. Chloe

  2. Anonymous12:39 PM

    Hmm maybe it is time to compose a letter to the FT editor!
    Only if you have time and inclination.

    I can dream of the J&S lace yarns.
    best wishes for as calm a week as possible

  3. I find it rather nice to think that a company sticks to colours for more than a season or two - nothing is more annoying than finding that the yarn I bought a year ago has been replaced by a colour I can't stand:( and you'd think that a man who has so many years of experience would excel at his job - isn't that a good thing? or maybe it's just a sign that I am getting old:)

  4. Regarding the article: Am I the only one who thinks £900 for a jumper designed, yarn spun, and knitted by someone, is a bargain?

    I hope you husband situation is resolved quickly.

  5. Anonymous6:11 PM

    I too would have liked Oliver's name to be mentioned, as others were. However, I took the reference to ordinary looking balls more as a reflection on how things had changed with modernisation but the colours were reassuringly the same. Just as plastic bags are now used for mail order rather than the brown paper mentioned in the article. My impression was that the author had run out of steam a little as she neared the end of her article.

  6. One thing's for sure, everyone's talking about THAT article! In the main, it was very interesting, especially to someone like me who yearns to go to Shetland. The only thing I did mind was the use of the word 'span'! 'Spun', surely. Quick recovery for your husband and home soon.