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Humber 16: 9 – 15 January

Ha, luckily I never claimed to have much of a short-term memory!

You see, I’ve been back in Edinburgh this last week (for work), and I thought I might as well bring my knitting with me, even though it’s now as big and unwieldy as a medium-sized orang-utan. I carefully packed my bag, making sure I remembered everything (charts, needles, tape measure) … the only problem was, I forgot the extra yarn, which I set aside specially. Turned out I just had enough wool to finish the collar, and to pick up stitches around the edge of the sleeve (D’oh!). Not my finest hour, as I prepare to pack my bags once more and head back north.

Wick airport is rather sweet. It’s one big room, really, with a bell to ring when you want to check-in your bags, like hotel reception. You get a good view of the runway from the departure lounge, and it was with great delight that I saw the stewardess notify the attendant there that they were ready for boarding, by coming out onto the top of the steps to the plane and giving her a thumbs-up and a big grin. I even got to watch them slinging my bag into the hold, causing me to regret buying all those duty-free eggs.

The plane was so small I think it was remote controlled by some retired guys down by the harbour. I watched the undercarriage descend as we came in to land, and for the first time saw the puff of smoke as the tyre touches the tarmac, which was fun in an oh-my-god-we’re doomed kind of way. All in all, 50 minutes from Wick to Edinburgh beats the 6 hours’ drive hands down (though the £180 fare not so much – at least I only live fifteen minutes’ walk from the airport, so I save on taxis).

And like a sailor on shore leave I’ve been bingeing, though in my case I’ve been frequenting coffee shops instead of taverns and brothels, trying to get as much overpriced caffeine into my system before Starbucks and Costa fade into just another memory; the nearest branches to Wick are in Inverness, 100 miles away, and I know people who will make a weekend of it just for the coffee. (If you want to be really cruel to someone in Caithness, just walk up to them and whisper “Starbucks” softly in their ear, and you’ll see their eyes grow dim and fill with tears, and their lips will form the word silently, like Charles Foster Kane remembering his childhood sled, or a Joss Whedon fan who’s just been reminded that Firefly was cancelled prematurely.)

Where was I? Oh, yes, knitting. Well, the collar only took a couple of days to finish. With the shaping at the front I had 5.5 inches to pick up on either side, which equated to two lots of 59 stitches. All in all, I had 204 stitches around the neck, or 21 knit 2 / purl 2 ribs. I knit 12 rows, or an inch, before casting off in pattern before I ran out of yarn.

Also on the subject of knitting, many congratulations (and thanks) to Judit who has given us permission to add a picture of her latest gansey to the Reader’s Gallery. It’s a Sheringham pattern in cream, and very effective it is too. (It’s a pattern that always reminds me of lots of crabs moving in formation, or sand dunes, which is appropriate, I guess.)

Right. One more meeting on Monday and then it’s back to Wick on Tuesday. Time to man up and start picking up those stitches round the sleeve…

7 comments to Humber 16: 9 – 15 January

  • Lynne

    Well, there’s a little side business for you – rent a kiosk station for Starbucks in the local market!

  • Sue

    Oh Gordon, stop playing for the sympathy vote – you know that it’s not THAT hard to pick up the stitches! You’ve surely done it enough times by now to know exactly what you’re doing 😉

  • Gordon

    Hi Lynne, somehow I feel that if a franchise was viable up there, then one of the big chains would already established! I read once that the vision of the CEO of Starbucks was to have so many stores in big towns that you could throw a football from one front door to the next. Though if you did that, you’d probably spill your coffee.

    Sue – well spotted! I do this wimpy thing every time, don’t I? In truth I guess it’s no worse than, say, a week’s worth of ironing, or doing your tax return. It’s usually OK, but it builds up in my mind to the equivalent of Frodo taking the Ring to Mount Doom – unless I’m overreacting?


  • Sandra

    Hi Gordon I am so glad to have found your blog. I am 6 inches into my first gansey and was losing heart a bit until a little recreational browsing led me to your website. I’ve enjoyed reading about your ganseys they’re an inspiration. The main body of the gansey I’m knitting is plain so lots and lots of stocking stitch!! I can’t wait to get started on some pattern. I suppose that’s the trouble with knitting for someone else, it’s their choice! Anyway I’m off to read some more about underarm gussets, as it won’t be too long before I start them hopefully. Thanks for a great read, Sandra.

  • Lisa Mitchell

    The more I look at the body of the jumper the more I like the half diamonds extending into the plain part of the body. *sigh* Guess I’ll have to screw up my courage and do a little gansey for one of my nephews before he grows up and I have to do a big one!

  • Gordon

    Sandra, hi, good to hear from you! The important thing to remember is, once you get to the armholes and divide front and back you really make progress – it’s like you’re digging under the enemy walls week after week, everything looks the same, and suddenly you spring the mine and they all come crashing down. So hang in there!

    I find it’s important to find a pattern I want to knit that is also acceptable to the recipient – though most people are just so grateful they don’t quibble too much!


  • Gordon

    Hi Lisa, you can see another example of those half diamonds on the gansey I knitted some years ago for Margaret (see the Gallery under “Howey” – sorry I can’t give you a link as I’m back in Wick and typing on my iPad again). Just goes to show how effective these patterns can be in different combinations.

    My problem with knitting a gansey for a youngster would be that they’d have grown out of it by the time it was finished!