If you open your windows and listen carefully – assuming there isn’t a howling gale blowing rain and sleet in your direction – unlikely if you live anywhere near Wick, but you never know – you may just hear the faint sound of distant trumpets carried on the breeze.
This will be the fanfare I have arranged to be blown every hour, on the hour, throughout the day, to celebrate the end of the knitting phase of the gansey. The garment has now been handed over to our Cardiganification Department for washing, blocking, scissoring and buttoning, and probably an anti-glare coating and wax for the finish as well.
I didn’t expect to get it done so soon, to be honest. But it always catches me out how quickly you get to the cuff once the end is in sight. And, as ever, I can’t really remember knitting most of it (if it wasn’t for this blog I’d just have assumed the Gansey Fairies visit me in the night every 6 months and leave me ganseys in exchange for my youth and some of my hair, like something from Grimm’s fairy tales).
Looking back on this blog, it occurs to me that I’ve been doing this for rather a long time. T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons – in my case it’s ganseys. There’s a classic Welsh novel about a man who comes back to the house he grew up in after his mother’s death to sort out her effects, and every chapter is based around the memories of a different object – the mangle she used when she had to take in washing after her husband died, etc. I feel a bit like that with the pictures in the gallery, except there are still so many patterns yet to try.
I had a (predictably) fun day on Saturday at the Caithness Science Fair Family Fun Day. We took a bunch of photographs of old maps from the archives and put them on my iPad so people could look up their neighbourhoods in 1903 (of course several children tried to use it to hack into the internet instead, but I found I could reach their ankles quite easily under the table – a steel toecap is the gift that keeps on giving – so that was all right). But oh, it’s been years since I spent a day on my feet like that. All day Sunday I needed a sort of block and tackle system to get me out of my chair, like Henry VIII in his armour having to be winched onto his horse.
I’m publishing another book on Amazon kindle for Easter, The World’s Midnight, the long-awaited sequel to The Wraiths of Elfael, in which Mair, my heroine, journeys to an alternative version of medieval Wales to recover the stolen spirit of her friend. It’s a fairly dark little tale, I must admit, but I like to think of it as my Empire Strikes Back before the final part of the trilogy ends happily with cuddly child-bears armed only with spears and rocks overthrowing a ruthless totalitarian regime (hey, it could happen).
Speaking of Star Wars, I wonder why no one had invented the laser equivalent of a machine gun by then? Or even carried machine guns and grenades? (Bit tricky for even a Jedi to deflect the splinters from a fragment grenade or even a flamethrower with a light sabre, you’d think!)
Where was I? Oh yes, books. All four of my other books plus the new one will be on a free promotion on Amazon from Friday to Tuesday over Easter, so if you know anyone who might be interested please let them know: you see, the more people read them for free, the more reviews they’re likely to get, and the more reviews they have the higher they go in the rankings. So it’s a win-win for me (so long as the reviews are positive!).
Finally, Judit has sent pictures of another splendid gansey she’s made, which you can see here. This one is based on a Filey pattern in Rae Compton’s book (page 64); note the initials above the welt.
In fact, maybe if I give my trumpeters an extra shilling they’ll play something from Sibelius’s Lemminkäinen Suite as a kind of joint celebration for both our ganseys…?