It’s week two of Margaret’s absence, and so far things are holding up pretty well. I haven’t reverted to savagery yet, and have even figured out how to make fire by rubbing two of the neighbour’s children together.
(Idea for a story: a bunch of dyslexic satan-worshipping archivists get stranded on a desert island and revert to savagery—working title—“Lord of the Files”… Thank you, I’m here all week, try the nut cutlets.)
I have also, as you will see from the pictures, finished the shoulders of the gansey—12 rows of “rig ’n fur” pattern on each side, joined and cast off using the standard 3-needle bind-off technique.
The curved neckline on the front is achieved as follows. I wanted my neckline to be indented by 2 inches, which is 24 rows at my stitch gauge. So, I started the neck 24 rows from the beginning of the shoulder rig ’n fur. I divided the total number of stitches across the front of the gansey by 3 (216 stitches / 3 = 72: 72 for the left shoulder, 72 for the neck and—are you paying attention at the back?—72 for the right shoulder). Then, I slipped 12 stitches from each side of the neck onto each shoulder needle; and, as I worked my way up, I decreased them at a rate of one stitch every 2 rows over the 24 rows (or 2 inches).
Now, this might leave you with the misleading impression that I know what I’m doing…. Yeah. Let me stop you right there.
You know when you finish a shoulder you have a little rat’s tail of yarn left dangling, to be darned in at the very end? Well, when I went to cast off the left shoulder (you can see where this is going, can’t you?) instead of using the new ball of yarn I’d prepared specially … I absent-mindedly used the rat’s tail, and even got two inches cast off before I realised what I was doing and had to unpick the lot, stitches pinging off the needles like a fat man’s waistcoat buttons.
All of which would just result in just a wry chuckle and an amusing anecdote for the grandchildren on long winters’ evenings, if I hadn’t done the exact same bloody thing on the other shoulder too. I don’t suppose you remember a song from 1978 called ‘Jilted John’ by, er, Jilted John? (You can look it up on YouTube if you’re curious.) At one point the band all join in the catchy refrain, “Gordon is a moron”—and, you know, there are times when I rather think they’ve got a point.
Funny how things stay with you. I was 18 when the song came out, and had to live with it all through university; someone thoughtfully gave me a badge. Even now old friends occasionally remind me of it, and we laugh for old times’ sake, and smile a little sadly for the passing of our youth, and wonder what became of the people we were all those years ago, and then late at night I sneak out and let all the air out of their tyres. (You know, I have an idea that when I die and stand before the throne of judgement, a chorus of sniggering angels will be pointing their fingers at me and singing that exact same chorus.)
I have a friend who, like me, has spent many years having his novels rejected by the publishing industry, and who decided to self-publish for kindle last year. He writes under the name of D.M. Mitchell, and—proving that the publishing industry couldn’t recognise talent if it burst out of a birthday cake and danced naked in front of them—not that I’ve tried this—maybe I should? (looks in mirror; common sense prevails)—he’s been as successful as he always deserved to be, with over 80,000 downloads. Anyway, he tells me he’s putting at least one of his books, “Max”, on a special free promotion sometime round about the 4th July; so if you have a kindle, and feel like reading something different, I can recommend it.
Finally, here are the statistics for this website for the month of June: 158,231 hits, resulting from 16,903 separate visits. Isn’t that incredible? The Gansey Nation will soon get recognition from the UN at this rate, and before you know it we’ll be threatened with sanctions if we don’t hold democratic elections.
So, thanks to everyone for all your support; see you next week—when Margaret will be back (hurrah). I’m off to listen to some music—doesn’t matter what—anything to drive that blasted song out of my head…