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Flamborough II: 12 April

2W150412aWell, what a difference a few days can make! We spent the week before Easter at my parents’ house in the Midlands: the main Wick-Northampton superhighway passes through the Cairngorms, and on the way down we had about a hundred miles of snow to contend with in temperatures of -1ºC. (Just past Inverness we ran into something of a blizzard, crawling along at about 20 mph with fat snowflakes smacking into the windshield like a ghostly flock of kamikaze sparrows.)

150331But when we came back just five days later the weather had broken and it was 20º, and we breezed through the Highlands in our shirtsleeves with the windows open, watching the buzzards wheeling against clear blue skies high above the forests, holding out our hands to let butterflies alight on them, that kind of thing. Temperatures got so warm that for a time we had to tape together two of our Caithness thermometers just to find out how hot it was.

2W150412cIt’s all changed back again now, and there’s a sharp north wind with rain spattering the window as I type, but change is definitely in the air; it may still feel like winter, but it looks like spring. And who knows—short-sleeved shirts may once again be part of my life. (If my toes didn’t resemble rheumatic parsnips I’d even consider dusting off the old sandals, but out of respect for my fellow men I’ll hold off for now.)

2W150412bA new season, a new project: this time, it’s a traditional Flamborough gansey in Frangipani Claret yarn. I’ve always found the patterns of the north-east of England to be among the very finest, a perfect combination of aesthetics and function. And after all the fine detail of the Wick gansey, I wanted to knit something simple—where I didn’t have to study the chart every three minutes—and, of course, it was time for another pattern with cables.

The body consists of 364 stitches, and the pattern alternates diamond panels with moss stitch and cables. (I’ll hopefully post a pattern chart next week, but—get me—I haven’t actually drawn one up yet; that’s how easy it is!)

Finally this week, Judit’s been busy again, with a jumper that cleverly uses old yarn in coloured pattern bands. As she says, ”The colours are those of the sky, blue with white and gray clouds. I put a little flower on it, just a sign of spring.” It’s a very effective combination, with something of a nautical air about it, too—and, of course, perfect for the changing of the seasons…

9 comments to Flamborough II: 12 April

  • Lynne

    Love the Claret color – is this one for yourself?
    Nigel – where are your photos??

    • Gordon

      Hi Lynne, yes, this one’s for me—I’m trying out an old pattern in my new looser stitch gauge. The colour should match my bloodshot eyes…

  • Jane

    Nice to see you back. Hope you and Margaret had a good break and isn’t the weather wonderful. Here in the South it is similarly lovely, quite remarkable for the time of year. I have seen daffodils, primroses, violets and even bluebells! Deer and birds all very cheerful and bouncy.

    The choices for the new gansey are excellent if I may say so. What a lovely colour and fine pattern, Gladys would be so proud I am sure! May I also send congrats to Judit, such good work and a super use of spare yarn!

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane, yes, alas in Northampton the weather was a bit cold and grey, except when we went to Milton Keynes, which to be frank needs a bit of sunshine see it at its best (Northampton doesn’t have a best, so it didn’t really matter); the sunshine didn’t arrive till the return journey. But I see from the forecast that it’s going to be 8 or 9º up here this week while London and the south get up to 25ºC, which hardly seems fair!

      This gansey is a combination of that lovely gansey introducing Flamborough from Gladys’s book, with the diamonds from Rae Compton, so it’s a bit of a composite, but all from Flamborough.

  • Marilyn

    Hello, sorry for my radio silence- a big project here of moving all books and furniture away from the walls for new paint. Not much knitting here, so I’m pleased to see your progress, Gordon. The claret is a lovely color.
    Judit, the sampler gansey is really beautiful.
    Back to my task! Later, ‘gators.

    • Gordon

      Hi Marilyn, I think there’s an opportunity for a series of Sistine Chapel-like frescoes around your walls showing the growth and decline of the herring fishing industry around the coast of Britain, as depicted by a series of fishermen in their ganseys. That way you wouldn’t even have to open a book to knit a gansey, you could just turn your head and there you were—a Cromer pattern, say, or Appledore.

      Best of luck anyway!

    • Judit M. / Finland

      Many thanks for your kind comment Marilyn !

  • Lynne

    All right, Gordon, you’ve talked me into it and I just ordered Michael Pearson’s revised edition to add to my collection of gansey books: Michael’s first book, Rae Compton’s, Beth Brown-Reinset, Gladys Thompson, Mary Wright, Sabine Domnick, The Moray-Firth Project, plus a couple of Alice Starmore gansey and aran books. I can think of a name we could be called by people who don’t understand the obsession but I won’t mention it here. I don’t have a knitter in my family to pass these down to when I keel over with a gansey on my needles . . . .
    Love the Claret – oh, yeah – I own one!

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