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December 08, 2009


Hmmm, perhaps I it is possible for me to reconsider my opinion of India Knight, I shall go and have a browse.

I remember being delightfully terrified by Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte many years ago, in fact as I read your post I felt a little chill down my spine.

Ha Ha! I think there is a country gal in all of us! I found mine one night while sitting on a yoga ball in the kitchen when in labour expecting our third baby. I had to switch to a different radio station as somebody had tuned into the mast ghastly techno dance - and I stumbled upon "Dublin's Country" which helped me through labour distracting me with all it's sad and lonely sob stories... so I sobbed my way through the contractions and have stuck with Country ever since!

Thanks so much for the link to India Knight's blog. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

I've had a couple of India Knight's books which I've enjoyed. I'll have to drop by her blog! x

My mother played the Clancy Brothers in heavy rotation when I was growing up. I was so sad to read about Liam, made me feel I'd lost an uncle.

Perhaps I shall knit an aran sweater in his memory...

As a teen I saw a picture of the Clancy brothers in those sweaters and fell head over heels - with the knitting. Eventually, I listened to the music and through it became interested in Irish culture and history. Eventually I moved to Ireland and began to learn the Irish language. I spent time in the Aran Islands and knitted many, many sweaters. In my language class at Conradh na Gaeilge I met a woman from Manchester who, like me, was teaching in Dublin. . My brother came to visit me and met my lovely Mancunian friend and six months later they married. After a few years I came back to the States, but the experience had changed me and my family permanently. All this for the love of a sweater!

If you're ever in need of something to read, you might want to try the autobiograhy Dolly Parton wrote several years ago.

It's very funny and sometimes touching -- she wrote about how she was nervous before giving a concert in London, not sure how she'd be received, but she was welcomed very warmly.

I would suggest Dolly Parton's The Grass is Blue...
I was not really enthusiastic about country music either, but this one is brilliant!

We recently took a family vacation to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee where Dolly grew up. She owns a theme park there (Dollywood) that we visited with my kids. It was all kinds of fun sharing Dolly with them. My 8 year old is a budding country music fan as she branches out a bit from the omni-present Taylor Swift. She wasn't overly enamored with Dolly's style, but it was fun to bridge her music with some I remembered from growing up in the 70's.

You're absolutely right about India Knight's blog - it's lovely.

And Dolly Parton is great. I have her 9to5 on my running soundtrack all the time, whatever else comes and goes.

Imagine how hot (in the old fashioned sense) they must have been on stage in those jumpers !
I once had a long running passion for knitting aran and the whole family had to have one. It was killed off after I spent a couple of months knitting my Dad one for christmas in pure new wool. He only wore it once and said it was too hot and too heavy, so that was that !

I had never heard of the Clancy Brothers either, but the sweaters were the first thing I noticed in the obit too! I also noticed that a couple of the brothers had their sleeves pushed up. It may have been a little too warm to wear them.

I'm also a closet Dolly Parton fan and was thinking about getting that new CD.

We were an aran sweater family - often to be seen eating sandwiches in the car, in the rain, swathed in carefully knitted jumpers and cardis. Those Clancy boys must have been very warm individuals.

Bette Davis was amazingly creepy as Charlotte. I generally don't care for the horror/mentally disturbed flicks but that is one I have seen. I can't say I remember it fondly, but I remember it.

We had a family arran that my mother knitted for all of us from when we were wee small through to our 20s. All in the same cables! It reached the point she could do it without a pattern and finish a jumper for a grown-up in two weeks. Lucky, lucky friends were knitted one for their 21st birthdays.

Nothing wrong with Dolly Parton. A brilliant songwriter with an amazing voice — and a how-does-she-do-that trill. No-one comes close.

In this world, I think you are an aran sweater fancier or you're not. No half-way point.
It may be because I live in a warm country, but while I admire the skill involved, aran sweaters are the epitome of dagginess.
I wouldn't touch a man in an aran sweater with a ten-foot pole! Shudder!

I secretly love Dolly, even her whiney, totally un pc, I can't live without you songs. Maybe ESPECIALLY those!

Once again we seem to be of the same mind at the same time - I've just requested the Zadie Smith from my brother for Christmas and (ok, so the odds were higher because I'm Irish, but) I've been mourning Liam Clancy's departure this week. You should get yourself a copy of the Clancy Brothers' greatest hits and whack on 'The Parting Glass', which was the song Liam invariably finished with at the end of the night -

'Oh, all the money e'er I had/ I spent it in good company.
And all the harm that ever I've done/ Alas it was to none but me'.

The whole song is a motto to live by - and a great alternative Christmas carol (each verse finishes with a version of the line 'Goodnight and joy be with you all', which somehow reminds me of one of my other favourites, 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen').

I also love Liam's own famous philosophy on life:
'No fear, no envy, no meanness'.

One for the dodgy blog commenters I think!

I've always loved Dolly and particularly love her stripped down, bluegrass albums, Little Sparrow and Halos and Horns.

Lovely aran sweater shots.I've just been reading a very good article in January's The Knitter about the history of cable knitting by Kate Davies. Well worth a read!

Hello, I just read "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery, and it made me think of you, especially when she talks about the meaning of Art. If you haven't already, try it! Also--love Zadie Smith. And Dolly's voice is angelic.

I learn so much from your posts Jane. Lots to keep me interested today, but particularly saddened to hear about the death of Liam Clancy. My Dad was a devotee, and although he died a few years ago, I've never forgotten the Irish household I grew up in. The music of the Clancy Brothers and the Dubliners was everywhere. I sat on my Dad's knees to learn the lyrics to Irish Nationalist songs which I've never forgotten, and was encouraged to sing at school! Times have changed.

Couldn't resist commenting on this post. I highly recommend JUST BECAUSE I'M A WOMAN (Songs of Dolly Parton) with covers of her songs by some great female vocalists. Her influence on them is great--as you can see from the liner notes. Dolly's image fools a lot of people. She's an incredible woman. (A quick story: She stood up to Colonel Tom Parker--Elvis's manager--when he wanted Elvis to sing I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. Back then if Elvis sung another writer's song he got a huge percentage of the royalties of it and any version done after that. Dolly had already had a hit with the song and didn't like the idea of him getting what was rightfully hers. So she turned him down. That song is of course, the one that Whitney Houston sang in THE BODYGUARD. Must have been hard to stand up to one of the most feared men in country music at the time.)

I met a young woman this summer in Washington, DC, who grew up in Dolly's hometown in Tennessee (name of the town escapes me.) This law student, who was taking a summer to intern in DC, said Dolly was her personal hero. According to her, Dolly will pay for college tuition for any student who graduates from high school in their hometown. I have yet to buy any Dolly music myself but I do love her duets with Emmylou Harris. Enjoy!

Hello there! I just bought your book at a book sale for $1 (sorry hope you are not offended)yesterday and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! The pictures are beautiful and I was exhausted last night but couldn't help but read a few pages. I can't wait to do some of the projects and make some of the food. Keep up the good work!

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