My mother, who is a fund of old folk wisdom, told me when I phoned her on New Year’s Day that “what you have at New Year’s stays with you all the year long”. Now, when you consider that I’d just told her I had a rotten cold, and that she went on to laugh heartily, I think I’m justified in feeling, as PG Wodehouse would say, if not actually disgruntled, then not exactly gruntled either…
So what did Santa bring you? Apart from the cold I got a 4-day migraine and – a nice Dickensian touch, this – a notice by our landlords to vacate the flat by March (but the joke’s on them, given that we’re hoping to move out before then anyway). Still, I also got a centenary box set of all Mahler’s symphonies (well, you can never have too many, can you?) and a season of the fabulous old black-and-white tv series The Avengers with Diana Rigg on DVD (“Mrs Peel, we’re needed”). So that’s my 2012 sorted.
We watched the Hogmany fireworks from the comfort of our living room window this year, which was very civilised. Apart from the weather – very blustery and showery – there was the whole question of 80,000 people jammed into the city centre like passengers on the Japanese underground; and besides, the whole occasion was spoiled for me by the bizarre decision to turn the official street party into a deafeningly loud rock concert with Primal Scream pounding out till 1am. Bah. And possibly humbug. (On the other hand, I did discover that there’s a Scottish band called the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, leading exponents of bagpipe rock, so there’s still hope for the human race, I feel.)
What with all this sitting around and listening to Mahler and all, I’ve got rather a lot of knitting done. All of the back yoke, in fact, and two-thirds of the front. I’ve kept the armhole length short this time – 8.5 inches including 1 inch of rig ‘n’ fur shoulder strap – on the grounds that the moss stitch will open up and stretch a bit once it’s blocked (I’m learning!). You will also see from the photographs that, now I’m home, I’ve gained access to my stash of spare yarn from previous ganseys, so I can finally put the gusset stitches on proper holders!
In other gansey news, many thanks to Lynne for pointing out a really interesting Radio 4 programme on the ganseys of the Moray Firth in Scotland. You can listen to it at Open Country – the BBC usually has its programmes online to listen again for 7 days, so this should be available till Thursday. It was of more interest to me than it would otherwise have been, too, since the presenter talked to knitters in Helmsdale and Dunbeath, communities not so very far from Wick. I now have some useful contacts for my own research!
Also, if you haven’t already come across it, Wendy Johnson recently knit a Filey pattern in Rowan yarn – you can see pictures on her blog from last November – or click on the link in her “completed work” section and sign in with a Ravelry account to see more details. Which just shows how effective gansey patterns are however they’re used.
Finally, a special hello to Song, poster of this parish, who took time while she was over in the UK to come up to Edinburgh and pay us a visit. It’s always good to meet people after corresponding through the blog – so that makes two now, along with Judit (hello Judit!). Like the old joke about what do you call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the sea, it is, I feel, a good start.
So, here’s to a great 2012. And I hope that whatever you saw in the New Year with will be with you the rest of the year – always providing, of course, it wasn’t a cold…