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Lopi Interlude I: 22 November

SF151123-1Apologies for the short blog this week—it’s another semi-migraine day, I’m afraid. (Nothing very serious—I just feel like I aged about 30 years overnight.)

Anyway, I’m taking my traditional Christmas break from ganseys to experiment again with Icelandic Lopi Alafoss wool jumpers. In many ways these are anti-ganseys, being big and chunky and soft, as well as very quick to knit—well, you can see how far I’ve got in a week; if I’d been knitting a gansey I’d barely have finished the welt by now. (Also, wearing a Lopi jumper is so warm and cosy it’s like being intimate with an Ewok.)

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Lopi & Gansey

Now, you may remember that the last time I tried this it played merry hell with my stitch gauge when I eventually went back to ganseys. So this time I’ve come up with a cunning plan: I’ve also cast on the stitches for another gansey, and every night I knit a row, just to keep the memory in my fingers of what a 2.25mm needle feels like. So far so good: the transition is always strange, but the stitches look about right.

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Sunset by the river

In parish notices Judit has been busy again, this time knitting a cap using the classic Betty Martin pattern as a Christmas present. Congratulations again to Judit for creatively using gansey patterns in new ways and for producing such a natty garment.

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A grey afternoon near the castle of Old Wick

Meanwhile winter has arrived at Caithness, coming via the Arctic Circle. In the last week we’ve had sunshine, rain, gales, sleet and snow—sometimes all on the same day. The Met Office temperature today had the cheerful message, “feels like -1ºC”. Even the seals in the harbour look mournful (or more mournful than normal; they usually just look at me with a sort of hopeless disappointment, like my old classics master waiting for me to give the plural of “domus” in Latin class—though there the similarity ends, for to the best of my recollection I never saw Mr Pennycook dive for fish…).

7 comments to Lopi Interlude I: 22 November

  • Sue

    Looking good, Gordon! Makes me want to go back to colourwork as soon as I get this grey Aran finished. The recipient is 6ft 5ins and has arms the length of a gorilla’s so it’s taking rather a long time! I’ve become quite taken with the Icelandic practice of doing the welts in a different, darker colour than the main body if only because it hides the fact that the cuffs in particular get grubby before the rest of the sweater needs washing ;-). I have some Rowan Cocoon in the stash, which because it is a roving yarn as well, could make a good substitute for Alafoss Lopi Let. Must look it out.

  • Gordon

    Hi Sue, I have on occasion been accused of having the arms (and posture) of an orc, so I can sympathise! The Lopi style seems to be to use a contrasting colour to the body, so a white body will have dark cuffs and vice versa. But I’m not going to set myself up as an expert on Lopi jumpers! I’m really just slumming it, taking a rest cure for distressed gansey knitters; like having home leave in World War One, in a few weeks I know I’ll be back in the trenches, casting on another gansey and preparing to go over the top again…

    Best of luck with the Aran!
    Gordon

  • Lois

    My grandfather was subject to migraine.

    I would only share this special cure with a fellow gansey knitter, so consider yourself to be a privileged individual of a higher order of beings!

    The cure is to rub your forehead with his secret formula of horse liniment, and lie down in a dark room until it takes effect. The first ingredient of the formula is turpentine. On receipt of your entire life savings, I will confide the remainder of the formula.

    Suffice to say it really works.

    Probably because the odors wafting from his room guaranteed that none of us would go anywhere near it to disturb him.

    • Gordon

      Hi Lois, as I work for local government my entire life savings are about 50p, so it sounds like a bargain to me! (But then, when I remember that sniffing turpentine got me into the “unpleasantness” in the first place, maybe it’s not the best idea at that…)

  • Lois

    Well, it worked on the horses ………

  • Lois

    Ah, that’s the secret part!

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