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Flamborough, Week 2: 14 May

Work has taken me south this week, to Oxfordshire, but within commuting distance of the ancestral home in bosky Northants. And what a change six hundred miles makes.

There are trees – no really, actual trees – growing all over the place. And everything’s green, everything’s blooming. The trees and hedges are out, there’s hawthorn blossom, lilac, horse chestnuts, cow parsley and nettles, and so many dandelion spores floating in the air you can’t help wondering if it isn’t time God changed his dandruff shampoo. Spring is literally in the air, displaying the kind of fecund profusion that would’ve had DH Lawrence lying down in a dark room until the shivering stopped.

Delapré Abbey Park, Northampton

The air is very still, too. I’m used to the uncompromising winds of Caithness, but here smoke from a distant fire rises almost vertically, eventually becoming lost in a smudge of haze and cloud. Back home, the wind acts like a sort of celestial leaf blower; when you stop to think about it, it’s not hard to imagine why smoke signals never really took off in Caithness.

Rain, Caithness

In the fields, lambs are – to use my favourite old Scots word – friskling. We learned a new ovine term this week: “hefting”. It’s a northern word for sheep that’ve been bred and trained to graze within a defined pasture, so they don’t go wandering off. One day a Sockeye salmon from Idaho will encounter a north British sheep – in a bar, say – and the salmon will do the piscine equivalent of a facepalm when it realises the whole arduous business of travelling 900 miles and climbing 7,000 feet just to spawn can be avoided by simply staying at home and watching tv – and a continent’s ecology will change overnight…



This pattern is taken from Michael Pearson [2015 edition, p.71, Misses Major’s Pattern]. Basically, it’s just as Michael describes, with a couple of minor tweaks. (And why would I want to change it anyway? It’s such a perfect combination.) I’ve always liked double moss stitch diamonds, just because of the way they seem to recede into the fabric, rather than sitting on the surface. All I’ve really done is adjust a couple of widths.

But first of all, my standard 46-inch-in-the-round ganseys have 368 stitches (at a gauge of 8 stitches per inch). These days I usually add an extra stitch for each cable, to compensate for the way cables pull the garment in. So, this gansey needs to be 368 + 8 stitches (i.e., one stitch for each cable) = 376. So that’s roughly how many stitches in the round I need.

The original pattern has just one purl stitch either side of the cables, but I prefer to have two, so I’ve changed that in my gansey. Finally, after some experimentation, I found that if I increased the width of the diamonds from 15 stitches in the original to 17 it gave me 378 stitches in total. Close enough for jazz! (N.B., I’m cabling every seventh row – the cable is the left-hand panel in my diagram.)

The yarn, as I said last week, is Frangipani Breton, a beautiful coppery rusty orangey red. For some reason I’ve always thought of the Flamborough patterns in shades of red – the consequence of the photos in the books all being black and white, I suppose: I supplied my own colours in my head – and this seems like a perfect match between colour and pattern.

6 comments to Flamborough, Week 2: 14 May

  • “and this seems like a perfect match between colour and pattern ”
    yes, you are perfectly right Gordon.
    Very nice colour and very interesting pattern.Thanks for sharing it with us.
    Did you already give the white large pullover to the happy owner ? And how does it fit ? It would be very nice to see a picture.
    Imagine summer is here in Finland with + 29 C degrees.
    Happy knitting and greetings to both of you .

    • Gordon

      Hello Judit, and happy summer to you. I can’t actually imagine 29 degrees because my friends have promised to humanely dispose of me if the temperature reaches my cut-off point of 28 degrees. The last time I experienced those temperatures I exchanged physical mass with the sofa and ever since I’ve been strangely attracted to throw pillows.

      The jumper reached its victim yesterday, I’m delighted to say. No pictures yet, but if I get some I’ll certainly share them!

  • =Tamar

    snerk… good thing the neighbors have left for work already, so they won’t be disturbed by my giggles. I like the color and the pattern.
    We had a bit of wind here over the weekend, and the trees are positively shedding pollen. Should I wipe off the car, or wait for the predicted rain? Decisions, decisions.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, rain is nature’s car wash: always worth waiting for, I’d say!

      I’ve been in Caithness long enough to forget just how hot and sticky England can get. It occurred to me that Norway is probably full of our dandelions and other plants, because that’s where all the seeds and pollen end up…

  • Lois

    Spring has finally reached here too. But with it came catastrophic flooding to levels never known here before. Just devoutly thankful that we live in an old house and the old timers always “built high”. Many of those affected have lost everything. I can’t imagine how they will cope.

    I might be slightly prejudiced, but you just can’t beat classic Flamborough!

    • Gordon

      Hi Lois, we’ve never been flooded, and pictures of people affected are always heart rending. The rain this year has come in violent bursts interspersed with long dry spells – no flooding, but after one of those you know you’ve been in a fight…

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