Support Gansey Nation -

Buy Gordon a cuppa!

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

Fife 18: 22 – 28 March

The clocks have gone forward an hour, so I guess it must officially be Spring. It certainly feels like it, what with having the windows open and (reader, avert your maidenly gaze) flourishing my upper torso brazenly in a t-shirt. (One week a Fair Isle sweater, the next shirtsleeves – it’s all very confusing.) At the same time I feel like I’ve been strapped to the machine from The Princess Bride, and aged several decades overnight, all thanks to waking up an hour early.

What news from the front? (Incidentally, did you know that the use of the word “front” for describing a war only came in after meteorology caught on in the late 19th century? Previously soldiers called it a “line”.) Well, the news from the line is, I’ve finished the back and – wonderful to relate – the neck too.

I had another of my brainfade moments on the back, when I knit an extra half an inch. (I don’t know why – I was convinced without checking that it was right. If I hadn’t noticed, who knows what might not have happened? Odds are, I’d have kept on going until the cardigan developed a train as long as a royal wedding dress, and Margaret would have had to wear it accompanied by a troop of pages just to lift it out of the dirt. Not that I didn’t think of it.) So that had to be ripped out and re-done too.

The back is joined to the front-plus-shoulder-straps by a 3 needle bind-off on the back. (The cast-off row on the back forms a ridge which equates to the ridge of 2 purl rows on the front. It’s not exactly the same, of course, but it’s close enough for jazz, as the saying goes.)

The neck consists of 246 stitches in the round, including the 20 stitches for the steek. The ribbing is the basic knit 2/purl 2, and the neck is some 13 rows, or just over an inch high. The tricky part is picking up stitches along the edges of the shoulder straps and, especially, along the edges of the decreases on the front yoke, where I indented the neck for a more rounded effect, a total of 60 stitches per side. (This isn’t really hard, but you have to concentrate to make sure you’re picking up the whole stitch, as well as evenly distributing your stitches along the edge, while making sure you pick up the right number of stitches. I got one side wrong first time and had to do it again. Sigh.)

Since I’m in the process of printing out sample chapters and synopses and sending them off to literary agents, I’ve also been doing some research into the odds of getting published. Turns out the average agency receives over 200 submissions a month. Of these, perhaps 6 will be invited to send a full manuscript; and only 2 of them, on average, will be accepted. That’s a 1% chance of getting accepted, folks – and even then the agent still has to persuade a publisher to take you on.

I’m starting to think it will be simpler just to place the waste-paper basket behind the printer, so the paper slides into the basket as it emerges from the machine. Well, at least that way I’ll save on the postage. And if you know anyone who’s writing novels just now, perhaps you could ask them to take up fishing for a few months, to give us other fellows a chance…

No bread this week, as we’re still living off our supplies from last week, with all the fresh yeast baking I did. And after taking account of the various observations on classes, my current thinking is, I’ll hire Margaret out for £300 a day, since she’s the one with the expertise, with the option of an additional £150 for me to come along too and tell jokes over lunch. I think that way all bases are covered…

6 comments to Fife 18: 22 – 28 March

  • Lynne

    Wow – your sure pulled that neckline off well! Is the neckline lower cut on this cardy than it would be on a pullover?

  • Gordon

    Hi Lynne – and thanks. Yes, it is a bit lower than usual, well spotted. It’s not that I’m trying to create a new fashion in plunging necklines on ganseys (what will be known to future generations as my “regency” period) – rather I didn’t want to half-start another diamond panel. In fact it’s not quite as low as it appears in the picture, as the picture shows the cardigan angled to show the whole of the shoulder straps. In real life, it will hang a little higher, so long as Margaret stands up straight and doesn’t slouch.


  • =Tamar

    Whee, a completed neckline!

    I notice that you have left a plain triangle at the neck end of the shoulder straps and similarly have plain sides next to the completing points at the end of the shoulder straps.
    Is that a traditional element for horizontal chevrons?

  • Gordon

    Good morning, Tamar.

    Yes and no. It was a deliberate choice when I knit the central band, I thought it would make for an interesting effect to have only whole chevrons in the pattern, and not fill in the blank triangles either side with partial ones. You can see the effect in the top photo – the right-hand edge of the central panel looks like it’s plain for the gusset, but it’s really the blank space left by the first <.

    I believe the traditional approach was to fill all available space, so as far as I'm aware this is "non-trad", though I could be wrong.

    I decided to replicate that effect on the shoulders, for consistency, but also I had the idea of making them into sort of epaulettes! (I'm going through a military greatcoat phase just now.) Hence the fact that each side points in a different direction, <<<>>>. (I think it would be interesting to try a gansey where the shoulder chevrons continue all the way down the sleeve, like the cables in some of the Whitby ganseys. Hmm…)

    Best wishes,

  • Lynne

    I, too, noticed the little side triangles and thought they resembled the neck side gussets in Ruth Brown-Reinsel’s book.

  • Gordon

    Hi Lynne,

    I like to think of them as “go faster” stripes!

    I’ve never made a neck gusset, but I’m told they help keep a traditional high collar from sagging, also the Scottish buttoned collar