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Mrs Laidlaw 8: 21-27 October

FrontFirst of all, apologies to anyone who tried to access the site on Sunday 27th. I’m afraid we were hacked again by another bunch of Middle Eastern crazies (their motto: ‘Bringing down decadent western imperialism, one knitting blog at a time!’). Anyway, Margaret and her friends in the US did their best Captain Philips impersonations and repelled the invaders with water cannon and barbed wire, and we’re back in business, at least for now.

This week’s blog is mostly about knitting the neck and shoulders, so perhaps you should go make yourself a strong coffee at this point and soak a towel to wrap around your head. (Warning: blog may contain some mild maths, bad language and cartoon violence.) Ready? Sure? All right, here we go.

As you’ll see from the (pretty lousy, but Margaret will be back soon) photos, I’ve done quite a lot of knitting this week. This is largely down to jet lag, which has filled my head with something like cotton wool and morphine, and has left me tired and remarkably stupid. (This week’s highlights included putting the laundry and detergent in the drier instead of the washing machine and switching it on; and also carefully setting my breakfast tray of porridge on the floor, removing my slippers, and then turning round and treading in the bowl. It’s like being a possession horror movie, where it turns out the house was built on the ancient burial ground of Laurel and Hardy.)

The completed back

The completed back

Anyway, to business: I’ve finished the right shoulder, including the ridge and furrow shoulder strap, and just have to join the two halves together before moving on to the left shoulder. (You can of course put the shoulder stitches on a holder at this point and go ahead and do the other half; then do the whole joining/casting off thing for both shoulders at one go. It doesn’t matter: I just find it easier to join each half as soon as it’s completed.)

I follow the traditional practice of dividing each side of the gansey (i.e., front and back) equally into 3 sections at this point (left shoulder, neck, right shoulder); therefore, as I have 204 stitches, that gives each of these sections 68 stitches.

Front Detail

Close up of right front shoulder

As the dedicatee requested a relatively deep neckline I decided to make the neck a whole tree deep, consisting of 32 rows. If I decrease 1 stitch every 2 rows that’s a total of 16 decreases. So, I took 16 stitches from the central neck section, and added it to the right shoulder, giving me 84 stitches on the needle (68 + 16 = 84). By the time I reached the shoulder strap I had made 16 decreases and was back to the correct number of stitches on the needle (68, for those still awake), to match those on the back shoulder strap top which it will be joined. Hopefully by next week I’ll have finished the other shoulder, and maybe even the collar.

Red Brook Pond

Happy days – autumn on the Cape

In other news, it’s shameless self-promotion time again. My Victorian detective story, The Cuckoo’s Nest, is on a free promotion on Amazon kindle till Friday. It’s the one of my books that’s sold the most copies and received the best reviews, so if you’re idly curious and would like to give it a go, now’s your chance. In fact, let’s be honest, it would be rude not to.

Now it’s time to man the water cannon and prepare to sell our lives dearly as we await the next cyber-attack. And if you’re uncertain about whether the site has been hacked or not, here’s a simple test: mildly irreverent persiflage about life, the universe and stitch gauges – that’s probably us; extreme propaganda about the condition of the Middle East and global jihad – well, that could still be us, to be fair, but best to assume it’s hackers unless they also mention 5-ply.

12 comments to Mrs Laidlaw 8: 21-27 October

  • Dave

    Who is your supplier of 5-ply barbed wire?

  • Cathy

    If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Isn’t knitting supposed to be an Islamic invention?

    • Gordon

      Hi Cathy,

      If this keeps up I think I might have to! My intention now is to try hacking some of these fundamentalist websites and replace them with pages advocating Guernsey knitting and good patterns for beginners – that’ll teach them!


  • Nigel

    Thanks for the neck lesson. I’m not sure what to do with mine once I get there.

    • Gordon

      Morning, Nigel.

      I should have added that I always leave a stitch on each edge of the neckline and do my decreasing on the next 2 stitches in from that – then, when I come to pick up stitches for the collar, it’s much easier, because those edge stitches form a clear line into which I can insert my needle.

      You’ll see how this one comes out in a week or two, hopefully!


  • nora

    I really enjoyed your book “Cuckoo’s Nest” and wrote a comment on amazon.com. I liked the pace and the character development, reminded me slightly of Anne Perry or Barbara Hambly. Good job!

    • Gordon

      Hi Nora,

      And thank you – for the kind comment and the review. Mind you, I worked on that book over about 10 years: I’m not sure I could do it again!

      All the best,

  • =Tamar

    Stepping in the porridge… (inelegant whoops of laughter). I guess I’m not the only one having a little trouble with the Mercury Retrograde this time.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar,

      It’s amazing how tiredness makes one stupid. Either that or I’ve been applying too much of that stuff you put in your ears to get rid of excess wax: it’s gone through my eardrum and is now acting directly on my brain, dissolving it one drop at a time…


  • carol giddens

    Thank you for your help, l can now finish hubbys jumper

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