Support Gansey Nation -

Buy Gordon a cuppa!

Many, many thanks to those of you who have already contributed!

Denim 12: 24 – 29 June

D140629a One of the side-effects of the kind of migraines I get is that I find myself doing really dumb things. Incredibly stupid ideas suddenly seem not only sensible, but imperative. It’s a bit like being drunk, only much cheaper, and you don’t have to queue so long at the bar.

I’ve mentioned the time a few years ago when I decided to explore the depths of a light fitting using a screwdriver without turning off the electricity first. I was blown across the room, and spent the next several minutes wondering if I was dead, and my brain just hadn’t realised it yet, like a decapitated chicken. (Sometimes I wonder if I’m still lying there, and this is all just a dying hallucination.)

D140629bThis weekend’s migraine-induced stupidity was nowhere near as dramatic as that. I decided to try on the gansey, needles and all, just to reassure myself that I’d got the fit right. Apart from looking like I’d come from an explosion in an acupuncture clinic, there were no alarms until I turned my head to see how the shoulder looked and got a double-pointed needle up the nose.

Two thoughts came to me then. The first was, For God’s sake, don’t sneeze. And the second was, would this be the most humiliatingly stupid death since Hans Steininger of Austria, who died when he tripped over his own beard in 1567 and broke his neck?


Orkney from near John o’Groats

Very slowly I drew my head back and freed myself. I managed to extricate myself from the gansey, struggling like a man fighting off a swarm of invisible bees and, possessed for a minute by the ghost of Buster Keaton, in the process managed to stab myself in the ear. When I’d got it off I discovered that one of the needles had fallen out, dropping all its stitches. In some ways a screwdriver in the light socket would have been simpler.

Moving on. Usually by the time I get to this stage of a gansey I just want to get it finished, and this time it’s no different. So I’ve got my head down, knitting when I would otherwise be reading, or writing, or honing my celebrated impersonation of a narcoleptic trying to cocoon himself in his own drool.

Duncansby Stacks

Duncansby Stacks

I’m about halfway down the arm, the hard yards behind me, and enough stitches decreased to complete a row in less than 10 minutes. Next weekend I expect to reach the cuff, and then it will be, as Private Hudson from Aliens would say, Game over, man, game over. So long as I don’t get any more migraines.

I got an email from Ben yesterday telling me this site is a Googlewhack. I looked it up, assuming it was something illegal in Texas involving rubber goods, but apparently it’s a real thing. I’m not sure we count, but it’s a fun idea.

9 comments to Denim 12: 24 – 29 June

  • Jane

    Fret not, I sometimes think I was born with foot firmly in mouth. If the social pit opens anywhere anytime I know it’s meant for me. Rise with grace above it all. Pretend it is all absolutely fine. Best that way. At least I tell myself that.

    My husband is also a migraine sufferer. At this moment the dishwasher is cleaning some bits of a filter from his car in an attempt to remove traces of the little fire he had when he wasn’t feeling quite himself. You are not alone as they say!

    Super progress on the gansey. A very good looking garment if I might say, and the winning post in view. I do like how the pattern of the shoulder strap merges with the top of the sleeve, very elegant. Tricky little things at times, those double pointed needles, I believe rubber bands can be used to keep the stitches in place, but they wouldn’t help with the nose and ear!

    Ducklings now bigger than their mother, but she remains completely devoted to her little band.

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane,

      Well, I’m more than capable of making an ass of myself in any given situation, but a migraine removes my common sense/inhibition chip and lets the Devil take over my mouth—and brain—as his plaything for a few hours, like Mr Hyde, leaving my normal self, Dr Jekyll-like, having to go round afterwards and apologise for all the axe murders,

      Margaret in fact keeps a bottle of chloroform handy for these occasions, and many’s the time when I’ve felt the symptoms of the hideous transformation come over me, only a for a chemical-smelling pad to be pressed over my nose and mouth from behind; and the last words I hear before darkness engulfs me are “Nighty night”.

  • Marilyn

    Once upon a time when I thought I was so very cool, I took a sip of my lowball beverage and stuck the little stir stick up my nose. I didn’t have a migraine to blame. So sad. My coolness forever fled at that point, game over.
    The gansey rocks, Gordon. Happy knitting.

    • Gordon

      Ha, brilliant! In fact, by a happy coincidence, I’ve just been going through some old boxes of stuff and found some photographs taken in a restaurant about 30 years ago—one of which features a shockingly young me with 3 coloured cocktail umbrellas in my hair. Tell you what, if everyone behaves themselves this week, I’ll post it in next weeks’ blog…

  • Lisa Mitchell

    Hi Gordon!
    Gansey’s looking mah-ve-lous! I’ve come into a large supply of 2 ply mulespun yarn. Do you think i could get away with it for a gansey?

    • Gordon

      Evening, Lisa, I’m still not entirely sure what mulespun yarn is—how do they manage to get the yarn on the spools with hooves? Unless somewhere in Montana there’s a field of mules each with a thread tied to their tails, winding yarn by dancing an intricate ballet to the music of Johann Strauss played over loudspeakers, while dusty cowboys ride in and out of the herd looking for breaks and unsnapping tangles?

      Anyway, far as I’m concerned ganseys are a state of mind, not yarn—and long before they became a “thing” I doubt if the knitters of yore would have been too troubled by ethics. Go for it, that’s my advice, and damn the torpedoes!

  • Charles

    Hear ye this, hear ye this: I am 5 1/2 inches up this Geansaidh! Of course I do nothing but knit now and have lost my job, the family have left and even the dog’s moved on but wow it’s coming on.

  • Lisa Mitchell

    You’d be surprised what those deft Canadian spinning mules can do! Thanks for the advice.

  • Gordon

    Whoa, Charles—that’s very impressive. If I may borrow for a moment the patois of the younger generation—Dude!

    As for lost family, pah, let ’em go. Remember Kipling’s sage advice: “A woman is only a woman, but a good gansey is a jumper!” (Or words to that effect…)

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.