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Matt Cammish Week 4: 10 October

mainIf Doctor Who had decided to give up skimming through space and time and basically showing off, and instead decided to settle down in the far north of Scotland and convert the Tardis into a cross between a pawnshop and an antiques shop, he might have ended up with something remarkably similar to the wonder that is Wick Heritage Museum.


Wick St Fergus Church

Like the Tardis it is deceptively small on the outside. But once you start to explore inside you find there are always more stairs, more galleries, more unexpected levels, and each one crammed with a riot of objects and photographs. You may not travel through space—but you do through time.

I was there as part of a visit from a local school learning about World War Two. We told them about the bombings; and Harry Gray, who has lived through more of Wick’s history than I’ll ever know, told a great story about a tailor who was working upstairs in his shop when the bomb exploded—the floor collapsed and after the dust had settled he found himself standing on the ground floor, thimble and fabric in hand, but with his trousers completely blown off. Highlight of the museum for me is, of course, the gallery devoted to the fishing industry.


Smokey wonders how to get down…

They have a colour film from the 1930s showing the trawlers chugging into the harbour for the season, Lerwick and Buckie and Yarmouth boats, the harbourmaster pointing each one where they should berth. Workers heft sacks of coal and carry them onboard over a single long plank that makes tightrope bicycling look like a safe occupation. And there are the fisher lassies, the gutters, gutting and packing herring faster than your eye can follow, an endless blur of knife and hand and silver fish, some of them confident enough to grin shyly at the camera while they work (something I couldn’t have done and still been able to count to ten afterwards).

detailIn my own gansey I have divided for the front and back, put the half-finished gussets on holders, and am romping up the back, which I will finish in a few days. The armhole will be eight inches from gusset to shoulder strap. This will be another gansey with a traditional collar, so I will not be indenting the neckline and both sides will be identical.


Somewhere in America. (Probably.)

By the way, I should issue a disclaimer: Margaret’s still in America, so cannot be blamed for any of the photos this week (with one exception—see if you can guess  which it is).

Incidentally, after the schoolchildren had left the museum I got talking to Harry and told him how much I enjoyed his story about the tailor. There’s a spot of mischief in him: he said that on these occasions he usually asks the children to draw the tailor after the explosion—only for some reason they always depict him with his boxer shorts intact…

10 comments to Matt Cammish Week 4: 10 October

  • Jane

    Wonderful work, Gordon, and such a lovely colour. I love the way it matches Smokey! Gansey with cat, what a combination.

    Wick is truly a fascinating place!

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane,

      Wick really is fascinating. Part of the reason why I have a great job is having lots of opportunities to find out about it!

      Smokey is the neighbour’s cat, not that she lets that bother her, and if she had her way she’d be round our house every day curled on a gansey in the sun. (If reincarnation exists I’d quit like to come back as a cat. I feel the universe owes me after this lifetime, and that’s almost a cat’s mission statement!)

  • lorraine

    Wow, you are going great guns on this one- I am still on one sleeve, which is seeming to take forever.

    I like the pants blown off story- somewhat like Wallace & Gromit in “A Matter of Loaf and Death”.

    • Gordon

      Hi Lorraine, you’ll be glad to know that I’m slowing down at last. (I’ve started writing a ghost story for Christmas, which may or may not ever get finished but that’s the plan.) Plus what with my recent cut and an unfortunate incident with a door lintel removing a pullover yesterday my fingers are swathed in band-aids, which isn;t conducive to speed knitting!

      Ah, Wallace and Gromit, my heroes. It’s impossible now for me to say the word “cheese” without bringing my hands up to chest level and waggling them! (All together now…)

  • Lois

    Eye catching pattern and, as Jane says, a most ingenious way to conceal the cat hair.

    Unfortunately, none of my ganseys match my cocker spaniel in colour. I must keep that in mind for the future.

    • Gordon

      Hi Lois, Yorkshire has the best patterns for me—fancy but tasteful. (I dearly love the ornateness of the Hebridean ganseys, but the puritan in me feels that they’re almost showing off!) I’m always amazed I don’t have obvious Yorkshire ancestry—after all the traits are there—the flat caps, the love of their ganseys, the suspicion of sunshine, the desire to build dry stone walls and herd sheep….

      The navy blue Wick leaf pattern I knitted a few months ago used recycled wool from an old gansey. It is full of tiny white hairs from a variety of cats having used the original as a bed down the years, which I find rather sweet.

  • Sharon in Surrey

    Oh Gordon, what a delicious gansey this one will be!!! I love the pattern. Simple, yet complex in it’s simplicity. I can’t wait to see you wearing it.
    Museums are like old junk shops, amazing stuff up front for all to see but the real treasures are in the boxes in the back.

    • Gordon

      Hi Sharon, I was interested to see a post a wee while back on the Propagansey Facebook page which implied that this is one of the very popular patterns, and it’s easy to see why. Strikingly effective, yet a very easy knit, it’s almost impossible to go wrong—not that I haven’t tried, on occasion!

  • Lynne

    Really handsome gansey, Gordon, I DO love the ‘all over’ patterns and it’s so classic in the gray.
    I thought of you today when it was announced that Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel in literature. He certainly does well with words.

    • Gordon

      Hi Lynne, this is one of those patterns that you can’t go wrong with, I think. I deliberately made it a little longer in the body, but all the purl stitches pull it in just now and make it seem narrower than it really is (no, I haven’t lost weight, alas!).

      As His Bobness, the only question about the award is, Why? As in, “Why did it take them so long…?”

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