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Filey IV, Weeks 5-6: 26 March

When I was at university, round about the time Queen Victoria was celebrating her diamond jubilee, I went out for a time with a girl who was a devout Christian. One evening at her flat, when the question arose as to what two young people of mixed gender without a television set might profitably do to pass the time, she proposed we try the sortes Biblicae, the exercise of opening the Bible at random to seek divine guidance. Now, this was not exactly what I’d had in mind, especially as I knew the chances of striking one of the riper passages in the Song of Solomon were fairly remote; but her mind was made up and she went first.

Drying in the sun

I can’t remember exactly which passage she hit upon: one of St Paul’s, I think, about it being a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Then she pushed the book over to me. ‘Your turn,’ she said. I didn’t give it a lot of thought, but opened it about halfway through at Isaiah chapter 13, verse 15, and to my horror read aloud: ‘Whoever is found will be thrust through, and whoever is caught will fall by the sword.’

Unsurprisingly the relationship didn’t last. And ever since I’ve taken the message to heart, determined not to be found, moving from place to place like a latter-day Job (but profiting by his example and staying on dry land; though I did have some anxious moments at Seaworld a few years back). But always secretly hoping for a sign of forgiveness.

Violets on the canal bank

Well, I’m delighted to say that last week it finally arrived. We were in the Milton Keynes shopping mall—as good a place as any to receive a missive from the Other Side, it being a near-death experience in itself—and I bought a couple of greetings cards. I didn’t think any more about it, and used the receipt as a bookmark. Happening to glance at it a few days later I received a sudden shock: for on the receipt were printed the words: Stay Positive. We Need You To Do Stuff.

Now, a cynic might suggest that all this means is that the receipt showed an abbreviated version of the text on the cards; but I absolutely reject this: I think it’s a sign. It may have taken almost 40 years, but I think my celestial amnesty has finally come through. 

I expect some of the stuff they need me to do is to knit ganseys, and another one has just rolled off the production line, gleaming with polish and ready to be taken for a test drive. (I did take it with me to my parents’ after all, and got a whole sleeve done.) Seeing it whole, blocked out to size, it really is a splendid pattern, one of the very best, and the deep colour of the yarn sets off the pattern beautifully. By the way, I made the cuffs 6 inches long, instead of the usual 3, so that the recipient can roll up and adjust the cuffs to achieve his desired sleeve length. I have, inevitably, already started my next gansey, but I’ll say more about that next week.

In the meantime I am, of course, staying positive: well, it would be flying in the face of providence not to.

11 comments to Filey IV, Weeks 5-6: 26 March

  • =Tamar

    A great message and a great gansey.
    Welcome back!

  • Jukie

    That is beautiful! My fingers are twitching. Must stay my course of finishing up other projects, but seeing your gansey makes it difficult. Well done, Gordon. Are the daffs opening?

  • Sandra Cottingham

    The sweater is gorgeous and your story is a hoot as we say in Michigan. If I didn’t have so many young friends having babies I would start a Gansey for my husband but I must keep on with the baby afghans. Keep on knitting and telling your wonderful tales.

  • Lynne

    Wow! that pattern ‘pops’ in the Claret color! Very nice, and I see you chose to shape the collar on this one, my preference.
    The Blipfotos that Margaret took of your parents home reflected on the canal is really nice – as is the B/W of the canal boats. Love those two.

  • Lois

    I’m glad that you finally received your marching orders after all these years. There must have been some celestial backlog in place.

    And the latest gansey is proof that the stars are now properly aligned. More power to you!

  • Lorraine

    Gordon- Hey, I’ll take divine intervention wherever it happens to be. I see you have been doing stuff.

    And splendid it is too.

  • Gordon

    Hello everyone, and thank you all for the kind words. It’s hard not to feel a bit of a fraud receiving praise for knitting a gansey—after all, I didn’t invent the pattern, that was done decades ago by a Yorkshire lady with a great eye for effect; but I look on it like you’re an actor reviving a neglected masterpiece of a play from years ago—you may not have written the script, but you still have to turn in a performance on the night…

    Anyway. As the spirits told me, stuff to do—though I hadn’t anticipated it would involve quite so much washing up…

  • Elizabeth

    He he he! Good to hear! All the best Gordon.

  • Dav x

    It looks stunning, both here and ‘in/on the flesh’! Many, many thanks.

  • Jennifer

    Oh what a joy to come upon this pattern and especially the reminiscing of the search for divine guidance. I am searching also-for a pattern to make my first gansey. Thank you for sharing this amazing pattern that seems to have a heavenly glow. I hope I do it the justice it deserves.

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