Is it spring yet? It’s been another week of strong winds, rain and sleet, and personally I think it’s time for a change. I don’t even bother looking outside now to find out what the weather’s doing: if the water in the toilet bowl has waves with white caps then I know it’s windy.
During a lull in the storm on Saturday I risked an expedition to Tesco, just 10 minutes up the road. By the time I got there I looked like an extra from one of those Deadliest Catch shows on TV, where trawlermen risk life and limb for a handful of lobsters; though my catch was a box of vegetable protein imitation fish fingers from the freezer aisle, which doesn’t carry quite the same element of manliness and danger. Still, if someone had been sailing just a few feet above me in a hot air balloon tipping buckets of water over my head I couldn’t have been wetter.
But what do I care? For we finally have a roof over our heads we can call our own, or will do by the end of the week. We’re (finally!) on the verge of buying our house in Wick, in what everyone refers to as the “posh part” down by the river, not far from where I’m living now. I’ll say more next time, not least because the purchase has dragged on so long I can’t remember which house we’re buying any more; but we won’t be moving in till mid-February, to give us time to sort ourselves out.
Meanwhile, on with the gansey. As you’ll see from the photos, I’ve embarked on the first sleeve. I’ve learned to keep the armholes to about 8-9 inches including the shoulder straps, because with the drop shoulders the sleeve already effectively starts an inch or so down the upper arm, and with the gussets you don’t start to decrease the sleeve for 3 or 4 inches. So you have to be careful not to make the sleeves too baggy.
I had a total of 159 stitches for the whole sleeve, excluding the gusset. What patterns to choose? I opted for the central star, flanked as before with double cables, and then on each side of those a diamond panel and another double cable, all exactly as per the yoke. There weren’t enough stitches to replicate the entire yoke, so something had to go: reluctantly I abandoned the little diamond panels and the chevrons, and stuck with the moss stitch panel, which I hoped would make a strong contrast with the other patterns.
I have to be careful with gansey sleeves where the yoke is patterned but the body is plain: if I’m not careful, the pattern can run down the sleeve too far, so that it covers the elbow, which doesn’t look quite right to me (unless, of course, you’ve opted to pattern the sleeve to about halfway down the forearm, which they sometimes used to do). In this case I restricted the length to the length of the centre star, and then added the 3 purl rows to delineate the end of the pattern. But I thought it would be a nice touch to add the hanging half-diamonds from just below the yoke to the sleeves as well, and give it all a sort of unity.
I’d already decided not to replicate the way the body has the moss stitch and chevron panels running the whole length of the seams, though with some regret. As I said above, there weren’t enough stitches to do everything (and I wasn’t sure they’d work so well in a tube); plus I feared lest the decreases down the sleeve would ruin the effect – so in the end I chose to knit the rest of the sleeve plain. But it could have gone either way.
So there we are. Now it’s time to wrap up in my oilskins, brace my feet against the heaving deck, wipe away the salt spray stinging my eyes, and prepare for another day’s hard cataloguing. Coming soon to a channel near you – Deadliest Archive…