Wednesday, March 09, 2016

A new follower! Welcome!

A certain amount of exuberance remains, even writing so late.

B. has bought the “Tannehill” madtosh DK and shipped it off to my sister. Grand news.

Flipboard included me yesterday, perhaps because I had included a plug for them. I am grateful to them, not for that, but for directing me to Ella Gordon’s blog entry about the conference at the Lerwick Museum last Saturday.

She muses about “authenticity”. Ella Gordon is undoubtedly “authentic”. She was in the shop – Jamieson & Smith, of course – that wonderful day when I was there, but I scarcely spoke to her, being so overwhelmed by having actually spoken to Oliver Henry and by the whole experience. And she says, in effect, that you don’t have to be as authentic as she is, to be authentic – Sarah Don and Gladys Amedro and Sharon Miller and Kate Davies and (I will have to include) Susan Crawford  and even you and I, are authentic if we are publishing or knitting  a Shetland pattern with love and not just exploiting the name.

I had not really thought about it before – all those are the names of outsiders. Of them, only Amedro even lived on Shetland. And I had also not reflected on the fact that the recent “Legacy of Shetland Lace” which Ella mentions, is something of a breakthrough in the fact that it is a book of Shetland patterns by Shetlanders.

But apart from all that, there are two things I want you to notice in Ella’s blog. One is the picture she includes of the little girl with her knitting and her cat. I had seen it before. It is enchanting. But now that I am living with a cat again, I looked at the picture again: that is a real Shetland cat. It knows that you don’t interfere with knitting, if you are a cat. You don’t even think about it.

And the other thing is the link Ella provides at the end to Kate Davies’ essay about Mrs Gaugain, written back when KD was a mere university lecturer in history rather than an internationally-known knitwear designer. The Dean Cemetery is not far from here. I must try to find the grave.

The other thing that filled me with enthusiasm yesterday morning was KD’s appeal for people who had knit a Paton’s leaflet from the 50’s of a Shetland shawl designed by Mrs Hunter of Unst. I knit it for Rachel, in the months before she was born. I emailed KD to this effect. I was touched to see your comment on her blog entry, Knitlass, recalling the fact that I had mentioned it here on my blog.

And I was horrified to discover that the pattern itself is not where I thought it was, inside Amedro’s “Shetland Lace”. Where could it possibly be? And another even more distressing knitting loss was discovered yesterday. More to follow.


  1. The Paton's leaflet is mentioned in Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting - I keep my copy tucked in there, and I have a feeling you once mentioned doing the same.

  2. I guess I've had Shetland cats all my life. For some reason none of my many cats have messed with the knitting aside from laying on it. The dogs on the other hand......

    1. Anonymous3:20 PM

      Same here!
      -- stashdragon

  3. Permits is not a native of Shetland, then? I thought of you immediately when I saw KD's appeal, as I was sure you had discussed it over the years. I hope you find it

  4. I also wondered if you had knit that shawl when I read Kate's blog post. You are going to have a double influence on Kate's new book on haps. First the obituary, and now the shawl you have knit!

  5. Gah! I went back to Ella's blog and looked again more closely at the picture of child and cat. That tiny wee sprog is wearing a knitting belt and turning out masses of ribbed fabric. I doff my (watch)cap.

  6. I always thought Athena had a bit of cat in her, cause she'd lie on paperwork or knitting so you'd have to cuddle her and pet her to get to what you needed to work on. Sigh. I miss my fuzzy baby.

  7. Thank you Jean for the link to Ella Gordon's blog, reading your blog is always pleasant, educational and interesting. One of my cats is zero percent Shetland; she ingests the skein, the knitting and even the pattern whenever she can (however much I feed her, I promise!) and the other one is 100 percent Shetland - I'd been wondering about his peculiar meowing accent, now I know. Cheers!

  8. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Another blogpost about the conference at the Shetland Museum

  9. thank you for the kind mention of my blog, I remember the day you were at J&S! I'm heading to edinburgh next week with Shetland Wool Week so hopefully see you there xx