Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Chloe, that’s an awfully interesting question – when did Unst get electricity? I was surprised, after an admittedly not-very-strenuous search, at how reluctant the ever-helpful Google was to tell me. Shetland is still not on the National Grid. I think Lerwick got electricity at some point between the wars, like the rest of GB. But Lerwick is a long way, and two ferry rides, away from Unst. Well-off households will have had their own generators before WWII  -- at least, that’s how I imagine things.

But in any event, the amazing lace in the Lerwick museum (and the shawl here in Edinburgh, of which Sharon Miller’s “Princess” pattern is a simplification) were knit in the 19th century.

All the promised delights arrived in today’s post – plus the new VK. Liz Lovick’s book has a couple of real possibilities for the new great-grandchild. I considered knitting it the Christening dress she offers, but I think I’ll go for a more utilitarian hap. Lovick says in her introduction, as I said yesterday, that spinning was done in the winter and fine lace knitting in the summer when you could see what you were doing.

The knitting of North Russia is going to take some reading, but looks interesting. The knitting is largely bright and cheerful with fairly simple geometric patterns. I have already discovered that “sweater” is not a Russian word – they use the English, which strongly implies that they haven’t been knitting sweaters for all that long.


Here’s today’s picture.

When we lived in Birmingham, we had what I suppose would have to be called a French window in the sitting room, with glass nearly down to the floor. There was a radiator set into this window, with a little bit of space between it and the glass. In the winter, in the hours when the central heating was on, our Dear Old Cat Poussin would sit there, between the radiator and the window, warming her furry bottom and surveying her domain.

The old cat next door soon learned the secrets of the timing of our central heating, and would come to call. The sound of their caterwauling filled the house. But with glass between them, no harm was done.

I used to think this was a game of their own, but I am beginning to wonder if it might not be a cat-thing: to have a fight with the parties on opposite sides of a barrier, minimizing damage. 


  1. I love that picture! And yes, it's definitely a cat thing to fight with a barrier in between. My two (brother and sister) often do this with ME as the barrier between.

  2. Anonymous9:56 PM

    This is when Unst got electricity.

    1. How interesting...and how wonderful of you to answer the question. Much better than Google!

  3. Fascinating. So Unst got electricity before my family on a farm in rural Cumbria. This was in 1961. Before that we used a combination of gas and oil lighting. No TV, of course, and no fridge, but plenty of time for reading and gazing into the open fire.

  4. Anonymous11:39 AM

    Thanks,Jean, that explains it. Apparently i lost the thread of which lace you were discussing and thought you were speaking of modern times. The 19th Centiry would have made sense and it is amazing what they were able to accomplish back then. Elaine, thank you for the link, but despite proofreading it twice, it could not be rcognized by Google. Maybe that rascal auto-correct sneaked in to subvert your kind intention? I appreciated it all the same. Chloe

    1. I just copied the link and pasted it into Google...and it worked.