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Humber 20: 6 – 12 February

If you open your window late one night, when the traffic has died down, the bars have closed and the midnight drunks have run out of passers-by to abuse (you can tell I used to live in Edinburgh, can’t you?), if you stick your head out and listen very closely you might just hear a faint whisper, like a breath of wind, or a very old ghost whose lottery numbers still haven’t come up: that will be me, sighing in relief at having finished one cuff and successfully picked up the stitches around the other armhole without mishap.

So great is my relief that it will continue to resonate through the universe of time and space, like the background radiation from the Big Bang, and in the coming centuries puzzled scientists will wonder what is interfering with their instruments.

Just a short blog this week, as starting Monday we’re finally moving in to our new house in Wick; so all our possessions, including computers, are packed in boxes and shoved in the back of a lorry – so we’ll probably be offline for a few days. Meanwhile, lots to do.

But there’s time for a couple of parish notices. First of all, many thanks once again to Judit for sending us another one of her splendid ganseys to display in the Gallery. It’s the light blue gansey with horizontal bands, based on patterns from Beth Brown-Reinsel’s book.

Secondly, thanks to Mary Morrison and Catherine Mathieson (hope I’ve got your name right, Catherine – I haven’t got access to my emails up here) for bringing my attention to “They Lived By The Sea”, a little 32-page booklet by Henrietta Munro and Rae Compton on Caithness fishermen and their ganseys. The book’s long out of print, but Margaret was able to turn up a second-hand copy.

As it happens, Henrietta (“Hetty”) Munro was a keen local historian from Thurso and her notes and papers are on deposit with our archive – so the book has an extra meaning for me. And how lucky is this? The book came with a letter from her dated 1984 tucked inside the cover, to the person who bought the copy, in which he’s obviously asking if he can get a gansey knitted. Hetty replies, “I can easily have a gansey knitted for you and a pair of hose. BUT it would have to be in one of the patterns in the book. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a gansey.” (Ha! In your face, Cornwall…)

Finally, after my haiku triumph in the comments last week, I’m now thinking of renaming the blog “Another Fine Mesh”. What do you think?

7 comments to Humber 20: 6 – 12 February

  • =Tamar

    Funny but it might confuse people who are looking for a netting blog. Maybe a section of the blog could have that as a subheading.

  • Nigel

    Fancy knitting me some hose Gordon? My wife says I have “pit pony legs”.
    Pattern is optional by my favourite colour is blue. Thanks. The cheque is in the post …

  • Dave

    As a long-time fan of Laurel and Hardy, I think “Another fine mesh” is wonderful. I do agree with Tamar that it wouldn’t be the first thing that one might Google . . .

  • Gordon


    I must respectfully beg to decline. The last time I got involved in another gentleman’s inside leg measurement led to that unpleasant incident that ended up in the Edinburgh sheriff’s court – though, as they say, a fairer judge would have been content with a mere reprimand…


  • Linda Confalone

    Dear Gordon; I was just reviewing your notes on “knitting ganseys” wherein you confide that you are a slow knitter. After whizzing along in continental style knitting I am now so humbled by my snail pace knitting on my first gansey. Today, my lovely welt is one inch long and I feel like setting off fireworks! Thankyou so much for sharing this bit of knitting history with us all.
    Again, probobly belabouring the point, but your website is absolutely essential to any one desiring to tackle this wonderful project. Also, how I love the beautiful pictures of Wick, and all the great and sometimes hilarious notes you have posted.
    Many thankyous once again, linda

    p.s. I like to listen to Shubert’s leideren [I just cry along as I knit…]

  • Lisa Mitchell

    Is a “fine mesh” up there with “who’s on first”?

  • Gordon

    Hi Linda,

    As it says in Ecclesiastes (9:11), “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

    In the original it went on, “Nor yet is the gansey to the fleet of needle, for lo! the time of the sluggard is at hand, and the voice of the unhandy knitter is heard in the land, who bewaileth the dropping of stitches, and great is the lamentation thereof”.

    Schubert is a fine choice. Did you know that Radio 3 is going to have a week soon when they play nothing but Schubert all day every day?