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Week 12: 15-21 February

First of all, I apologise for the poor quality of the pictures this week. You see, Margaret’s off on another of her jaunts to the States, leaving me to wipe up the cat vomit for once, and has left me without a camera, save for the one in my iPhone. (Actually, there is a camera, but the truth is I just don’t know how to use it. Apparently you have to press buttons and everything, I mean, come on.)

The cat has developed an annoying bleat over the last year, like a cross between a sheep who’s discovered from that her ram’s been unfaithful with other ewes, and a police siren. She’s taken to roaming the flat making this noise – sometimes it’s quite strident, a ma-waaaah!, like a triumphant seagull who’s just made you drop your ice cream; other times it’s utterly forlorn, and you hear it echoing from distant uninhabited rooms, and you imagine a cat who’s lost all hope, alone in a hostile universe, with nothing to do but cry herself to sleep at the inhumanity of man to cat. (She’s been doing it for seven minutes solid, since I started typing this, and my nerves are like shredded tin. Now she’s decided, oh, what the hell, I suppose I could just eat the damn food he put out for me after all, that’ll show him, the bastard.)


Last week I was woken up by that same cry from a distance of about three inches, as she had climbed up onto my pillow as I slept and leaned over my face like a dragon on a church steeple about to consume a town in flame, and let rip. This was at 5.00am. When I my eyes jerked open I found myself looking right up her nose, which isn’t the ideal way to start the day. Plus she could do with trying a different brand of mouthwash.

Anyway, in spite of the lousy pictures – which for some reason look like I’ve been dyeing the gansey with pastels (probably sunlight, come to think of it – it’s been so long since I’ve seen the sun I didn’t recognise it at first) – this last week’s seen some real progress. So hopefully you can see the shape of the yoke pattern, and last week’s geometry and algebra lesson begins to make a bit more sense. I’ve been immersing myself in The Count of Monte Cristo as an audiobook, all 50 hours of it, which is ideal for knitting to. (Well, that and all the violent dvds Margaret won’t let me watch usually, like Alien and Apocalypse Now, and The Little Mermaid.) The only problem now is I’ve started to talk with a slight French accent…

 

The cat’s off again – I can hear a despairing wail from the bedroom, as she realises once again that without an opposable thumb it’s a hopeless task to tie the belt on my dressing gown into a noose, plus I’ve taken her shoelaces away. So I’d better go and cheer her up by reading her some Dostoevsky. Or play with a piece of string. Both are good.

9 comments to Week 12: 15-21 February

  • Suzanne

    Hi Gordon,

    Your extremely entertaining prose more than made up for the poor picture quality.

    Have you tried talking to the cat? Aging felines can become quite strident. Sometimes making sympathetic noises will appease her for a while. Or not.

  • Gordon

    Hi Suzanne,

    I do talk to her, but mostly I find myself saying “Shut up. Please shut up. Yes, thank you, I heard you the first time. Look, do you want to be introduced to my good friend Mr Disposal Unit?” Etc. (In fact, we suspect she may be growing a bit deaf and isn’t aware she’s doing it – or else she knows very well and goes to bed each night sniggering…)

    Gordon

  • =Tamar

    Now we can see the yoke pattern begin! I see the gusset continuing on the needle – I take it you will be steeking for the sleeves, am I right? Commiserate with the cat, and give her a scritch for me.

  • Gordon

    Hi Tamar,

    I’m not sure about steeking – is that where you knit it all as a tube and then cut down the seam and stitch the ends in? If so, I’m afraid that’s a bit too advanced for the likes of me! I’ve cheated this time around, you caught me, and have started the yoke an inch or so before the end of the gussets (it’s not traditional but I wanted a deeper yoke): so when I post next week you’ll see the gussets on stitch holders and the front and back being knitted back and forth separately, as usual.

    Will happily scritch the cat on your behalf – just so long as I’m sure it’s visited the litter tray recently (“Get back! She’s gonna blow!”).

    Gordon

  • Gail

    Hi Gordon,
    Had a great visit with M and now she’s off on her second leg of the trip. She pointed me to your blog (somehow I forgot you did this) and I have read them ALL, and am now inspired…especially with this current project. I love these patterns you have put together, and anxiously await the finished photo.
    Am sorry to hear Piff is still having trouble adjusting, or it’s her age, and now she misses M. It’s not easy getting old, as my mother used to say, but it beats the alternative.

  • Suzanne

    Cats despise change in routine. Aging cats mostly will not stand for it. No doubt part of the problem right now is that Margaret is away. The old, diabetic cat we lost last October was very vocal in her later years. Flatly refusing to come downstairs and be sociable, she would sit upstairs on the landing giving loud voice to her loneliness.

    At the time, it was most annoying. In retrospect, it was probably preferable to the current lanky teen feline with attitude who, on arriving in the living room, greets each of its occupants in turn with a friendly bite. The poor dog, already completely cowed by the vicious attacks from the parrot, takes this very personally and almost bursts into tears. If she isn’t biting us, or tramping all over us with muddy paws (I thought cats were supposed to be fastidious!) she is bringing large vermin in from outdoors for us to play with. Bill and I are getting rather good at the mouse team roping event which, invariably, seems to take place in the middle of dinner.

  • Gordon

    Hi Suzanne,

    I’m sure the cat is annoyed at Margaret’s absence, but she’s fallen into this habit over the last few months. Like she’s navigating by sonar.

    I remember once making the mistake of writing a long, handwritten letter to an old friend on eevening down by the fire, only for our late cat to wander in from outside and track dirty pawprints over the paper and smudge the (water-soluble) ink. Then demand attention for being cute. (And then there’s my variant on the old joke: what’s worse than finding your cat’s brought a mouse into the house? Answer: half a mouse…)

    Gordon

  • =Tamar

    I’m probably being dim, but I thought the upper half of the gusset was supposed to be part of the sleeve, and it looked to me as though the gusset had begun to narrow again. Probably I’m misinterpreting the photograph. I have no problem with adjusting the location of the yoke, as there are plenty of examples in books of variant placements. If I ever knit a guernsey, I’d probably place the gusset even lower.

  • Gordon

    Hi Tamar,

    No, you’re not being dim at all, I’ve just misled you by my appalling photography. I see exactly what you mean now – yes, the photo does look like the gusset’s started to decrease again. (Just like the central diamond looks like it’s going to be heart-shaped, but it’s not. D’oh!) I do apologise – you can see the difference when Margaret takes the trouble to get a good and accurate picture! The gusset in the picture is just about at its widest point, but I think I got the ends scrunched up when I laid the gansey down to take the picture.

    The size of the yoke-to-gusset ratio is an interesting one. The books always suggest yokes in the region of 10″, from the end of the gusset to the shoulder strap; sometimes longer. But I find this gives hugely baggy sleeves and I can’t decrease fast enough as I go down the sleeve, so I end up with a cuff twice the normal size! So now I go for 8″, plus 1″ for the shoulder strap, which seems to work.

    Best wishes
    Gordon