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Filey 2.2: 8 – 14 April

F20414aI don’t know if your satellite navigation system has a setting called “drunken ant wandering across a carpet”? Ours has, and the dial seems to be stuck on it.

We drove back to Southport this weekend (900 mile round trip, 2 days—but still 3 days shorter than a cricket match) with a view to collecting our now repaired car. On the map the final stage seemed straightforward: down Road A for a mile, then left up Road B for another mile, garage on the left, sorted.

But like one of those fairy will o’ the wisps that lure unsuspecting strangers onto the moors at night, never to be seen again, the sat-nav seduced us onto little known byways, into housing estates, up people’s drives and in one instance, unless I was hallucinating by then, into someone’s front porch. (I couldn’t swear to it, but at one point I thought I heard the computer’s tinny voice sniggering.)

Of course, it’s also possible that Wigan is the secret location of Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry and the roads rearrange themselves when you’re not looking. (I did see some odd-looking people in fancy dress who I naturally took for wizards but, disappointingly, they just turned out to be football supporters.)

F20414cIn the end we found our way to the Renault garage by the simple expedient of winding down the windows and driving towards the sound of the howls of anguish from the other customers who’d just been presented with their repair bills.

F20414dSo once again, I’m afraid, we haven’t been able to turn our attention to the cardigan and the ancient ceremony of the Cutting of the Steek—usually done to the accompaniment of a noble bagpipe pibroch—but we’ll do it next week, hopefully. Till then, I’ve been working on and off on my new Filey project, and have now reached the point where I’ve started the pattern.

This is based on Matt Cammish’s gansey recorded in Gladys Thompson on pages 21 and 24 of her book. I’ve always liked the look of it, and the fact that a member of the Cammish family wore it in the Navy in the Second World War gave me an extra reason to want to try it.

FileyIICammishThe pattern is in two sections: one of a diamond of 13 stitches and the other of ribs flanking a central cable, comprising 28 stitches. I wanted to keep the ribs and cables exactly as they were, so that meant that any tweaking of the pattern to fit would have to be done with the diamonds. In order to fit my total of 210 stitches per side, I ended up with 5 panels of ribs and cables, and 4 panels of 19-stitch diamonds (see charts).

Nigel has alerted me to the fact that Eyemouth Museum currently has an exhibition on called Casting the Nets, part of which involves a “gathering of the ganseys”—see their website. Eyemouth is a lovely little town, well worth a visit anyway, so if you’re in the vicinity it would be rude not to drop in.

I’d love to go myself, but at the moment I’m frightened that if I programme it into my sat-nav I’ll end up plunging off a cliff into the North Sea, on the grounds that it’s probably slightly quicker to float there…

16 comments to Filey 2.2: 8 – 14 April

  • June Jones

    The gansey is looking great, one of my favourite patterns too and love the colour.
    I’ve heard of sat navs that don’t recognise large bodies of water and I think I might have one but what I know it does is mistake land drains for roads and not count one way streets. I can spot the error with drains not so lucky with one way streets.
    I changed the voice from the installed supercilious female to one that sounds like Morgan Freeman. I still get lost but it matters nowhere near as much.

  • Gordon

    Hi June,

    We just have a choice between “prissy British dominatrix schoolmarm” and “constipated BBC newsreader”—so a Morgan Freeman soundalike would be heaven!

    Personally I’d rather go for a Kathleen Turner as Jessica Rabbit voice, but then I’d probably drive into things through not concentrating on my driving…


  • Dave

    I’ve always fancied myself as a old-school navigator, and I tend to dismiss GPS as a toy. Give me a paper map, and I can chart my own course, and can get good results. My crowning achievement was when I was planning a 900-mile trip to Ohio from Kansas. I sat down with my atlas, dividers, and slide rule (I’m REALLY old school sometimes)and calculated the time at which I should cross each state line. The most that I was off was 4 minutes.

    True confession time: There have been a couple of times when I’ve gotten off of my pre-planned route (road construction, aggressive drivers, etc.) and couldn’t stop to read the map. At times like those, I would have loved to have an on-dash navigation aid!

  • Sue

    No you wouldn’t! You would have got frustrated and fed-up with the robotic voice chanting ‘Recalculating, Recalculating’ at you every time you had to take the diversion from the route the machine thought you OUGHT to be taking. I have a friend who has satnav in his car but always believes he knows better and there are times when I would have loved to ‘recalculate’ the damn gadget by chucking it out of the window! My constant plea to either do what it says or switch it off if he won’t, falls on deaf ears.

    And, oh yes, the new gansey looks lovely, Gordon. It has prompted me to consider, having taken a leaf our of your book and ordered extra cones when I made my brother’s, whether I could bear to knit one and donate it to the Reaper too. There’s enough left to make a traditional close fitting one for a medium sized salt. But the more I think about it the more I realise that once finished, they would probably have to rip it out of my tightly clenched fists 🙂

  • Gordon

    Hi Dave,

    I find travel on main roads without a sat nav is fine, you can plan a route and follow it, especially if, like geese, one navigates by the magnetic field of the Earth. But driving in cities can be a nightmare, and it’s great for foreign travel too. Just be wary if you ever decide to go through Wigan!


    I thought I’d publicise my intention to donate the finished gansey on the blog so that I’d be shamed into seeing it through! Otherwise I know what you mean, especially after 6 months of my life…


  • =Tamar

    GPS, Satnav, whatever they are… I found my cheap one very helpful last fall when I had to navigate my way out of a couple of cities. It was rather less helpful going in, but fortunately I guessed correctly. I do prefer to have paper maps with me for when the thing fails, as it did on the way home.

    The pattern shows up really well in that light blue.

  • Nigel

    At least you didn’t drive off Wigan Pier Gordon. And, as my dad, who was from Wigan, would have said: Owd on a bit, where’s this blasted thing tekkin us?

  • Marilyn

    Hi Gordon, sat nav is a new phrase for me and seems more of a piece in my mouth than g.p.s. Please return to the high lighted route and when possible make a legal u turn. The new gansey is a lovely color, and as always, I’m looking forward to watching it develop. G’day!

  • Gordon

    Hi guys,

    I think they’re great, especially in cities, but they also—dangerously—tell you how fast you’re really going, which is always slower than your car speedometer. There’s something rather daring about sailing insouciantly through a speed camera zone in a 70-mph limit with your dial on 75 mph, while the sat nav says 70…) and the police staring at you as you go by (my brother once overtook a police car at 70 mph on a dual carriageway, perfectly legally, when all the other cars were cravenly tucked in behind it doing 55; it pulled out and followed him to work and when he got out they came over and gave him the third degree: “in a hurry, are we, sir?”)

    Nigel, George Formby may have caught people out with that in the 1930s, but you can’t fool my sat nav so easily!


  • Lisa Mitchell

    Scary thing about sat nav/gps over in N. America is that we’ve had people follow the route slavishly and end up on stuck up to the hub caps on horrible back roads. A few have even ended up getting out and trying to walk out for help and getting in even worse trouble. They’re great as far as they go but horse sense is a good thing too! Gansey looks a treat so far, Gordon!

  • Gordon

    Hi Lisa,

    I think one of the issues in the US (he says, extrapolating wildly from experiencing roads in Massachusetts and other states in New England) is that your road signs are, well, bobbins. Over here, every little side road has a marker telling you how far to the next village; in the US they are just unmarked roads leading, well, anywhere. (Which is why you couldn’t have all those slasher movies set in England, as the carloads of oversexed teens in tight clothing would never get lost in the first place and end up spending the night in the scary old house with the creaking floorboards…)


    • =Tamar

      My theory about the road signs in parts of New England (especially Maine) and also in Pennsylvania is that they are secretly breeding for psychic talent. If you guess the correct turn, eventually you get a little sign telling you that yes, you are still on the route you hoped you were following. If you don’t get the little sign, you have to notice the lack of it and turn back and try the other way. In large cities the method is to pretend that someone has stolen the street sign, but I notice that the street missing the sign is always the one I am looking for.

  • Lisa Mitchell

    Sorry – didn’t mean to be a downer…

  • Gordon

    Hi Tamar, that’s brilliant. Except now you’ve revealed their secret plan you’ll have to go into hiding and change your name, or at least you would if there was a chance the authorities would find you with no road signs…

    Lisa, not at all. We’ve had stories over here too of truck drivers getting stuck in narrow cul-de-sacs and people driving into fields. Which I suppose goes to show that a computer in a car is only as smart as driver – or, as the old joke says, the most dangerous component in a car is the nut behind the wheel!


  • deb gillanders

    Hello Gordon, I have a Matt Cammish knitted for me by a retired trawlerman who learned to knit Ganseys in his 20’s. He does alter the configuration of the Betty Martin/cable/diamonds & his rationale is to get the pattern looking good for the size of the wearer. Gladys’s example is big enough to feature 4 diamonds & 3 cable. Mine has 3 diamonds & 2 cables flanked by Betty Martin so it looks balanced. Curiously, however the elements are put together it’s always recognisable as a Matt Cammish & always a popular design. Regards, Deb (‘Propagansey’)

  • Gordon

    Hi Deb,

    Wow, how authentic is that! Very cool.

    I think what you describe is exactly the way knitters would traditionally adapt a pattern to the wearer’s size; you have to tweak it to get it to fit. Because I knit smaller than most, I either end up with more pattern bands or I make the patterns bigger—whichever seems to work best. But the magic of this kind of knitting is that whatever you do, it seems to work!

    With all good wishes,

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