Support Gansey Nation -

Buy Gordon a cuppa!

Many, many thanks to those of you who have already contributed!

Flamborough III: Week 2 – 31 May

We had our second doses of the Covid vaccine on Saturday, and while I wouldn’t exactly complain about the side-effects—at least compared with the alternative—I do have a headache and a general fatigue bordering on lassitude, like a late romantic poet who’s been overdoing the laudanum after finishing a really tricky sonnet. I’m experiencing a curious sort of dislocation: my limbs seem heavier than I remember, as though someone turned up the gravity instead of the air conditioning, and my brain feels like it’s been stuffed in (and with) cotton wool. My face grew warmer as the shot took effect, until I blushed as though I’d been injected, not with a vaccine, but with embarrassment. (Of course, by the time you read this all these minor symptoms will be gone.)

Outside, spring is having another try at world domination—its third since March, by my reckoning. I realise that at this point I’m in danger of taking the leading role in my own folk tale, “The Boy Who Cried Spring”, there’ve been so many false alarms. But the temperature in Wick has reached double figures for the third day in a row, and it can now only be a matter of time before a nameless dread stalks our land, viz., Scotsmen promenading in shorts.


Ah, the weather. I’ve become quite media savvy down the years, and when I see a weatherperson smirking in front of a map of the British Isles saying, “And it’s going to be a beautiful day for pretty much all of us”, I note those weasel words pretty much and us, and direct my gaze to the top-right corner. There, sure enough, “us” becomes “them”, with a strip of cloud just fringing the coast of Caithness from John O’Groats down to the border with Sutherland, signifying the fabled east coast haar, also known as the sea fret, or other words I can think of beginning with f. So it is with us now, a dank, dripping fog drifting in from the sea like cannon smoke at Waterloo. You’d think I’d be complaining, but no: some like it hot, but not me; besides, Wick is one of those rare towns whose beauty is actually enhanced by fog. I’m still puzzled I didn’t land that job with the Caithness Tourist Board, with my prizewinning slogan, Wick: It seemed like a good idea at the time…



Flamborough III

After finishing the welt, I’ve laid the foundations of the pattern. It’s taken from Gladys Thompson, where it’s recorded as Flamborough III, and, unless I’m reading it wrong, it’s called “net mask and honeycomb”—a much more attractive name than my working title, “open diamonds and fiddly bits”. There’s a real pleasure to be had in taking a simple, short pattern chart and turning it into a real, live full-size gansey, a process that (perhaps fancifully) reminds me of cloning dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.

It’s not a quick pattern: every other row is mostly seed stitch, which really is fiddly; plus it’s a 48-inch chest, so this one won’t finished anytime soon. But it’s a lovely shade of blue, and the kind of pattern that should look very impressive running the whole length of a gansey; and anyway, who’s in a hurry? N.b., I’ve placed the seed-stitch rows so they start on the second row, not the first, so they will fall on the back (or purl) rows when I knit the yoke, leaving the plain knit stitches for the front; this will hopefully make knitting it easier (every little helps).

6 comments to Flamborough III: Week 2 – 31 May

  • =Tamar

    An adult-sized gansey with seed stitch all the way? Better you than me… a seed stitch baby sweater was more than enough for me.

    • Gordon Reid

      Hi Tamar, it is fiddly, there’s no denying, and you do have to concentrate. But it’s worth it. A little and often is my philosophy here, together with the Welsh proverb, “many drops wear away the stone…”

  • Every little helps – this is another reason why garter stitch features quite frequently. Not only does it become an active ingredient of the pattern, unlike vertical purl rows, but it also means half your rows are simply knit.

    • Gordon

      Hi Deb, exactly so, yes. (Except my brain is quite capable of drifting off into abstract who-knows-where, and before I know it I’m seed-stitching away on what should be a plain row…!)

  • Bridget

    I knit bereavement baby blankets with a seed stitch boarder; I think the seed stitch is more elegant. And YES, the brain needs to be engaged. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve had to tear back because of purling or knitting when I should be doing the seed stitch. I refuse to send out an item with that kind of mistake!
    My mantra: Only knit with a clear head!
    I hope you’re feeling better. I only had an itchy rash…both times!

    • Gordon

      Hello Bridget, first of all that sounds like a fantastic thing to do, well done to you.

      Sometimes I make mistakes and try to convince myself that no one will notice, only God will know, even if they do notice no one will care… And then I have to get it sorted, either by me or I hand it over to Tech Support (Margaret) who performs gansey open-heart surgery. Though if I only knit when my head was clear I fear I’d have to give up the blog because I’d only be knitting a few rows each week!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.