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Filey 7: 30 April – 6 May

It’s a bank holiday, it’s Margaret’s birthday, and outside the sun is shining brightly, lasering in through the windows like some alien death-ray and threatening to incinerate us like ants under a magnifying glass. And yet the last couple of days we’ve woken up to find the cars covered in snow. It’s all very confusing: the weather’s gone bipolar, when we want it to be bi-tropical. (Hey, here’s an idea for new children’s tv series helping to highlight the issues around depression – Brian the Bipolar Bear!)

I’ve been aware for some while now that I’m not seeing as well as I used to. You know the way the old Star Trek television series would go all soft focus whenever a pretty girl was on camera? It’s a bit like that, it’s as if my eyes have been fitted with a soft focus lens. (So that’s why all the local girls suddenly look so much more attractive! Well, that or the whisky.) It makes night driving difficult as oncoming headlights just become a distorted blur, and everything is slightly murky, like looking through cobwebs.

I’ve been expecting this. You see, sometimes after you have cataract surgery, a thin film grows over your new lenses. It’s easily fixed – you just pop down to the hospital and they zap it with a laser, clearing the lens. It’s quick and painless and only takes a few seconds (my Dad had it done). Unfortunately for me, I have to wait a while longer till the film has grown to a point where it’s worth firing up the laser. So it sounds like I have a fun few months in store (the optician said, “I’ll see you again in April”; yes, I thought, but I probably won’t see you…)

Luckily I can still knit. You should be able to date progress on this gansey by counting the steps, like rings in a tree. I’m about a foot up the body now, and will probably start the gussets in a week or so. There’s not much to comment on a pattern like this, except to say that it’s going like a breeze, it’s delightfully tactile, it’s very red and I haven’t made any major mistakes (yet); and the Wendy yarn is definitely knitting up softer and bendier than the tighter Frangipani.

The prolific Judit from Finland has kindly allowed us to add another one of her splendid ganseys to the Gallery, here. As she says the tree of life represents the importance of the forests to the people of Finland, so I suggest you play a piece of music by the great Sibelius while you look at it – possibly the finale of his 5th symphony – to get you in the mood. (At least our snow melts!)

Finally, I’ve had an enquiry from Jeanette Baker looking for a traditional gansey pattern associated with Arbroath, just up the coast from Dundee. I’ve found mention in Gladys Thompson (p.109) to marriage lines from Arbroath, and Rae Compton (p.84) has a diagonal line, or bar. But I was wondering if anyone out there knew of any other references or patterns…?

9 comments to Filey 7: 30 April – 6 May

  • Judit M./Finland

    Hello Gordon ! Thanks for the Gallery ! For those of you who may be interested in the music Gordon suggested, here is a link:
    Have a nice time!

  • Elizabeth in Colorado Springs

    I read about those “secondary cataracts” before I had my cataract surgery, and how they zap them with lasers – sounds scary.

  • Sue

    Hi Gordon, re patterns associated with Arbroath I had the same problem when researching the design for my brother’s gansey. I could find none that were even remotely unique to Arbroath and hence why in the end I based it around motifs more associated with the East Coast of Scotland in general. So I incorporated marriage lines from the chart that Gladys Thompson noted in Arbroath, supplemented with others she records as being associated with Fife. So that’s why it has a yoke of vertical columns of zigzags, hearts and anchors separated by cables rather than horizontal bands of motifs, apart from the chevrons in the shoulder straps. It was about as close as I could get in geographic terms to Arbroath. Jeanette will get the general idea from the pics you kidnly loaded into the gallery.

  • Sue

    Hi Judit, another great gansey – have said more in the comments on your section of the “Readers’ Gallery”.

  • Gail

    Snow? A fluke or is this usual in May?

  • Sue

    Simple answer – it’s not a fluke! While it doesn’t happen every year it’s not that unusual up in the north of Scotland. Even in June it’s not unheard of on the mountians tops. My local supermarket started selling bedding plants a fortnight ago and now the trays and trays of them are in a sorry state because nobody’s buying them. Around me, nobody puts their bedding in until June because there’s too great a risk of a frost that will kill them all off! I never buy mine until the last weekend in May because the mini-greenhouse is still full of the frost tender plants I’ve been trying to get through the winter.

  • Hi all, things are a bit busy just now, for reasons I’ll go into in more detail next week. But briefly, Elizabeth, it’s not so much scary as just rather annoying. If my 80 year-old Dad can cope with having it done, I reckon I can (or so he tells me!).

    Gail, when the sun’s out and the wind drops, like it did today, it feels like early summer. When it’s cloudy and rainy and windy, like it was today, it feels like the fag-end of winter. Go figure! I’d bring a coat and a heavy jumper, and expect the unexpected…

    Sue, yes, I think the Fife coastal villages pretty much shared their patterns, so there’s a lot of common ground. And it gives you more choice!


  • Sue

    Just got off the phone from speaking with a friend who lives in Kirriemuir (where JM Barrie’s original ‘Wendy House’ is) and in the middle of our conversation she just casually mentioned that it appeared to be snowing again! Not heavy enough nor cold enough to lie for long was her prediction but they’re still skiing in Cairngorm and expecting fresh snow this weekend! So who knows? As it’s cold and pouring with rain today here on the coast, it’s an afternoon in front of the log fire with the knitting for me whilst catching up on watching a backlog of subtitled European detectives! Only thing left to decide is will it be gorgeous Italians or moody Scandinavians?

  • Hi Sue – what about gorgeous Scandinavians? Or did I spend too much of my formative years listening to Abba?