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Filey 2.7: 13 – 19 May


[* Gansey Nation is taking a short break and will be back on Monday 3 June*]

How steady are your hands? Steady enough to wipe your eyelids with a cotton bud without poking yourself in the eye? Mine, alas, aren’t, as I’ve been finding out this week to my cost.

You see, I’ve been diagnosed with a chronic dry eye condition (“chronic” just meaning it will never go away). So every night or so I have to soak a cloth in cooled, boiled water and press it against my closed eyes for ten minutes, and then wipe the inside of the softened-up lids with a cotton bud dipped in baby shampoo.

F20519bCleaning the lower lids is easy; but I find it impossible to negotiate the upper lids without obscuring my line of sight with the bud, which makes aiming it something of a matter of guesswork, like trying to open a high window with a pole while blindfolded. At least once a night I jab myself in the eye, making the cure so far worse than the disease. (On the other hand the sharp pain makes my eyes water, which may be part of the treatment?)

By the way, did you know that the great Isaac Newton –“great” in the sense of stark, staring mad – once conducted an experiment to see if changes in pressure affected the way the human eye sees colour by inserting a darning needle into the back of his eye and wiggling it about? (This is one of those facts that, once known, can never be forgotten.)  There are times when I stand before the bathroom mirror, cotton bud poised, when I fear I am just one sneeze away from replicating his experiment…

Heb0519aIn gansey news, I’ve reached the start of the gussets of my Filey gansey. As usual, I shall be increasing at a rate of one stitch either side of the gusset every 4 rows. It’s always encouraging to reach this stage as it means that dividing front and back isn’t far away, the gansey equivalent of the coming of springtime.

Also in gansey news, congratulations to Lynne for completing a rather stunning Eriskay gansey, which you can see pictures of here. (And, if that wasn’t enough, she tells me the temperature was 25C when the photos were taken; it’s a brisk 10C in Wick and the buds on the trees are shrinking again in the sharp north wind like reverse time-lapse photography.)

Heb0519bThere won’t be a blog next week – Margaret will be whooping it up in Edinburgh and I plan to spend the weekend in a paralytic alcoholic stupor – but we’ll be back on Monday 3rd June.

Finally, the cardiganification of the cream cardigan is finally complete. Here’s Margaret to tell us if the operation was a success, and whether the patient will live…

– <> – <> – <> – <> – <> – <> – <> – <> – <> – <> – <> – <> – <> – <> – <> –

Heb0519ce finito!

The patient will, I think, survive.

Ends have been darned in, front bands have been severely steamed several times, and the buttons have been sewn on.  The buttons are unobtrusive, and not as small as feared; they look about right.  As can probably be seen from the photos, they’re two-hole pseudo-shell plastic buttons, with a bit of a ripple (from Ribbonmoon. More buttons than you can shake a stick at. And ribbon.)  One side is shiny, the other matt, and I chose the matt to be the upward face.  I’ve also sewn them on with a wrapped stand, due to the thickness of the fabric.

In the last photo, you can also see the herringbone stitching to secure the facings so they don’t flop about.  This should also further protect the cut & sewn edges from wear.  I’ll be delivering it in Edinburgh later this week.

23 comments to Filey 2.7: 13 – 19 May

  • Carolyn

    Are you talking about blepharitis?? If so, I have also struggled with the cotton bud cleaning thing without any success. But what did work was a simple regular (few times a day) application of fake tears, from a chemist, (not sure what they are called for you in the UK). No flare up since, for years now. All the best.

  • Gordon

    Hi Carolyn!

    Yes, that’s the little devils’ name, apparently—though I have to take my optician’s word for it, as I hadn’t noticed anything (certainly none of the rather horrific images I found on the web when I read up on it, like foolishly looking in my Dad’s 1950s medical dictionary when i was a nipper—ah, so that’s what a a tapeworm looks like).

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll give it a go, though asking a chemist for a bottle of fake tears sounds suspiciously like asking a grocer for a box of swans’ sighs…


  • Nigel

    I’ve started my gansey again!

  • Judit M./ Finland

    Gordon, fake tears are usually not in a bottle but packed into small ampoules ( about 0.5 ml,just some drops) for single use. This is to avoid infection of the fluid (may easily happen with an opened bottle ).

  • =Tamar

    In the USA they are sometimes called Artificial Tears. Formulas and thicknesses vary considerably, as do prices, and there are several preservative-free brands.

  • Gordon

    Judit, Tamar, thank you. I’ll have to talk to my optician and a chemist, I think.

    Given that I cry very easily—hell, I even have to brush away a manly tear at the end of Shrek, for God’s sake—you’d think I’d be able to keep my eyes naturally moist!


  • Nigel

    I’m wrestling with it Gordon. Like a drunk man with a garden hose. I’m going to have to knit back and forth for a bit until it settles down and I can make sure it isn’t twisted. I am expecting plenty of challenges!

  • Judit M./ Finland

    Nigel if you knitted the first 3 rowes open and close the garment after that, there were no twist at all :).

  • Nigel

    Thanks Judit. I shall try that x

  • Nigel

    It worked Judit. Thanks

  • Judit M./ Finland

    Hi Nigel, I was happy hearing that you succeeded without any twist . See your gansey later :))

  • brenda

    Gordon… you have some outstanding pictures at the top of your page. I would like to know where these places are if that is possible. Hope I am not being a pest but they are so appealing that I would like to see them in person. thanks

  • Judit M./ Finland

    Where are you Gordon ?

    • Gordon

      Hi Judit – still here, but taking a week off to recharge the batteries while Margaret runs wild in the modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah that is Edinburgh. Or something!

      Thanks for reminding me – I’ve added a note at the top of the blog to that effect.

      All the best,

  • Gracie

    Hello Gordon and all,

    I’ve been out of touch due to normal life enormities – job, moving homes and the search for both. I missed so much here.

    The cardigan is finished and it is a real knock-out – truly outstandingly beautiful!! Of course I’d love it for my own. It is marvelous, and so is the start of the new gansey, which is a lovely shade of blue.

    Here in the states, they have a new drug for chronic dry eye, but the ad for it runs with a long, rapidly-read list of side-effects of course. Simple sounds the way to go. Good luck.


    • Gordon

      What ho, Gracie – good to hear from you.

      I think I need to talk to my optician again – but then again I don’t have a huge amount of confidence in him, as he tried to sell me a new pair of glasses while I had cataracts, even though within a few months my eyesight would be back to normal! Mind you, second opinions aren’t easy to come by up in Wick, where opticians and dentists have been hunted almost to extinction, and now live sheltered lives in nature reserves while still free to roam in their natural habitat…

      And as Slartibartfast says to Arthur Dent in the immortal Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, hope the lifestyle comes together!


  • Gracie

    I just laughed so loudly that my neighbor, who is rooting in my garden as we speak, asked, “What’s so funny?” and turned to inspect the seat of his jeans.

    I hope it comes together too Gordon. Yes indeed. Thanks.


  • Judit M./ Finland

    This is the one I use :
    It´s easy to use and helps a lot. Good Luck to you too,

    • Gordon

      Thanks for the link, Judit – that looks just the kind of thing I’m after, especially on holiday.


  • Cathy

    How do I get in touch? Your Capcha code won’t let my message through?

  • Gordon

    Hi Cathy,

    Yes, sorry about that—sometimes it spends so much time filtering out spam, it ends up filtering out the humans too. You can drop me a line directly at gordon@ganseys.com, and now that your post has come up you will be able to post on these discussions without being moderated in future.

    Look forward to hearing from you,

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