At times like this, when we divide front and back and dedicate ourselves to progressing with the yoke, it is comforting to think of the words of Our Lord when he said, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew, 11:30).
Mind you, he may have had one of those simple repeating patterns in mind, like Henry Freeman of Whitby, and not one of these fiddly Scottish fleet yokes, such as I am embarked on here. Verily I say unto you, “For my yoke is sort of complicated, and my burden is a pain in the posterior” (Gordon, 16:29pm).
For this gansey we have divided the yoke into 6 panels, each separated by a cable (6 stitches across, flanked with 2 purl stitches either side, and cabling every 6th row to keep the maths simple). The centre of the yoke is marked with a double cable, one either side of the central steek on the front here. (On the back, of course, these will just sit side by side, separated by 2 purl stitches.)
Each panel is 25 stitches across. The pattern repeats on the panels are all 32 rows high, and each will be separated by a 4-row horizontal strip (1 row knit, 2 rows purl, 1 row knit). There will be 3 pattern repeats, and 2 horizontal strips, for the height of the yoke. (In other words, the yoke will be about 104 rows, or just over 8 inches, and will fit 3 trees or equivalent.)
As you will see from the photographs, we have opted for 3 patterns for the yoke, chosen to contrast (to an extent) with the pattern on the body, which was very busy; these are plainer and larger. The triple cross-bar comes from Thompson, p.99; the double diamond comes from Pearson, p.64, and the tree of life from Pearson, p.80. (All adapted to fit the width of the yoke minus cables.) All are from Scotland, if not necessarily from Fife – but it’s close enough for jazz, as the saying goes. (The shoulder straps, when I get to them, will consist of the same chevrons as appears in the centre panel.)
In other news, I celebrated the completion of the rough first draft of my novel at the weekend – consisting of 78,000 words. I’ve got to rewrite it now, and edit it ruthlessly into shape (down to c.70,000). I’ve set myself the target of achieving a completed first draft by the end of March – though of course it won’t be finished even then. As it stands it’s pretty terrible – but even so, I can see a halfway decent novel buried inside, like the thin handsome person I know is in there when I look in the mirror…
On the rare occasions I raise my head from the keyboard, I notice that spring seems finally to have arrived, crashing into Edinburgh like a dawn raid by the police, kicking in the door and letting in the light. As the song says, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter. I’m declaring this officially the start of the New Year – 2011 starts here.
Meanwhile, to quote the medieval monk whose poem Carl Orff set in Carmina Burana (the track is In Trutina, and it’s just beautiful): ad iugum tamen suave transeo (“to the sweet yoke, however, I submit myself”)…