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Seed Panel Gansey: Week 7 – 7 December

It’s December, and the days are getting shorter—by which I mean that sunrise happens later every day (8.45 am today), while the dial on the old sunset-o-meter will hover around 3.20 pm for the next month or so. I assume there’s a good reason for this, probably something to do with physics or whatnot, but it catches me out every year. It’s something of a moot point up here in Caithness anyway, “hours of daylight” being something that happens to other people. I tried to change my phone settings to reduce the brightness of the screen at night and was disconcerted to hear Siri cry despairingly, “How on earth am I supposed to tell?“, before muttering something about Cornwall being nice this time of year and what time did the pubs open.

Well, thanks to the miracle of electricity—a miracle in the sense that I don’t really understand it, despite numerous electricians patiently explaining to me why it doesn’t leak out of the sockets if you leave the switch on—I have enough light to knit by. Just. And as I’m still trying to rest my ankle as much as possible, I have the means, motive and opportunity to clock up a few rows. So I’m well advanced on the first sleeve and should finish it this week, when the end will definitely be in sight. By the way, I made the two pattern bands on the sleeve slightly narrower than their counterparts on the body, otherwise they’d have reached further down the sleeve than I like.

Winter Sunset

In parish notices, Judit has lapped all us once again and has finished another gansey: this very attractive reddish number. It’s the classic Eddystone lighthouse pattern from Cornwall, and I particularly like that the intended recipient is a sailor: how thoughtful is that for a Christmas gift? It’s another triumph for Judit, many congratulations again to her, and a reminder of all the cracking patterns hidden away in the books, just waiting to be unleashed and turned into ganseys.

Distant Rainbow

Now, winter is the season for ghost stories, and I had a dream about ghosts the other night. Not that my ghosts were the scary kind; in fact they were just an ordinary family—mum, dad and two kids. Now I think of it, they were obviously inspired by some old photos from the nuclear industry I’d been looking at (I’m trying very hard not to use the phrase “nuclear family” here, but—well, too late). Anyway, I met them in a friend’s house, and they explained that ghosts like staying in people’s houses after the owners have gone to bed, “otherwise it seems such a waste”. They were particularly pleased with internet television, because it meant they could watch programmes on catch up.

St Fergus Church

I bade them good night and walked home, and when I got inside I was surprised to find them in my own living room. “How did you get here so quickly?” I asked. They told me that they used to have to travel on the wind, like the tormented spirits in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol; but now they used electricity cables, which was so much faster. The only thing that worried them, they said, was the change to wifi, because they couldn’t travel wirelessly. At which point I woke up. I honestly don’t know what to make of it. On the one hand, it wasn’t the kind of dream that leaves you too traumatised to risk going to sleep again—I’ve had quite enough of those, thank you very much—on the other hand, I can’t help feeling a touch shortchanged if the movie of my life has the tagline, “I can see dead people… mostly they watch tv…”

4 comments to Seed Panel Gansey: Week 7 – 7 December

  • Judit M./Finland

    Many thanks Gordon for showing my last gansey. I thought that this simple pattern is the best for somebody who was sailing a lot. I will write on the gift card about this light-house and as usual the “Old Celtic blessing to a handmade garment” will be in the gift box too. Have a nice week and happy knitting to all of you who are knitting just now.

    • Gordon

      Hello Judit, a belated hello and you are, of course, very welcome. I mostly curse while knitting ganseys, but your way of adding a blessing is doubtless better!

  • =Tamar

    Poor Siri. It gets cloudy-grey here and what with streetlights, some days it’s hard to tell day from dusk.

    Speaking of light, I recently obtained a copy of The Old Straight Track, in which I read a statement that the place name “Wick” has something to do with ancient trade in salt. Somehow I would have assumed candles were involved.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, in Scotland the “wick” element has something to do with the Old Norse “vik” (as in Viking) meaning a bay, so maybe hence sea salt. In England “wich” probably derives from the Latin “vicus”, a fortified dwelling place, but eventually became associated with salt works.

      Take it with a pinch of salt!

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