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Week 19: 5 – 11 April

Hurrah! With a bound he was free…

I’ve finally worked my last shift for the Scottish Council on Archives, and shaken the dust from my sandals, as we are advised to do when faced with those that will not receive us or hear our words. Technically I’m still employed by them for another couple of weeks (I’m using up my holiday right now) but in practice that’s it, and I can get on with my life (or what I like to think of as my half-life, like that of decaying nuclear particles). People keep asking me why I resigned, but I’m trying to be professional and keep that to myself, as far as possible.

In theory, I now have more time for knitting. Not that I’ve really felt like it yet (not a big surprise, perhaps under the circumstances). Though I’m looking forward to tomorrow, when I don’t have to get up and go to work! I’m still worried about the future, of course – I’ve been joking to people that if in a few months time they see a huddled figure on Princes Street with a cardboard sign which reads, “Will catalogue Latin documents for cash”, well, be generous, as that’ll be me!

You’ll see from the photos that I have resolved the Great Centre Panel debate of last week by deciding to knit a one-third diamond on the centre panel before cutting it off for the collar, which I think will look perfectly fine. I’ve reached the shoulder strap on the first shoulder (note the shaped neckline – this represents a decrease of 12 stitches over 24 rows, or one stitch every 2 rows, leaving the shoulder at 75 stitches; the last 6 rows are then knit straight). This should make for a nice loose neckline, avoiding the “Boston strangler” effect I experience with the traditional gansey.

I’ve planned out the shoulder strap now, which you will hopefully see next week. I wanted to stick to the patterns I’ve already used on the gansey to make it feel more unified, so I’ve adopted the trellis that runs across the middle and widened it out, so it’s 25 rows deep (i.e., 2 inches). As explained previously, I’ll knit it all as an extension to the front shoulder, and then join each strap to the back shoulder.

In the meantime, I’ve been listening to an awful lot of Gustav Mahler’s music recently, so I decided to read up on his life while I was at it. And I came across this quote from his wife, Alma. It’s about why he had to resign in the end from the Philharmonic Society in New York: “You cannot imagine what he suffered … to his amazement, he had ten women ordering him around like a puppet…”

5 comments to Week 19: 5 – 11 April

  • =Tamar

    Huzzah for freedom! I’m all in favor of avoiding the strangler effect, in knitting as in life.

  • Suzanne

    It is of no small comfort to know that even the famous and brilliant among us can be similarly plagued.

    Congratulations on your new freedom, and most of the front of the gansey. It is looking very nice.

  • Gordon

    Hi Tamar and Suzanne, and thanks for the messages, as ever. I’ve not really been able to celebrate my new-found freedom yet, finally succumbing to this blasted cold that’s been dogging my heels this last week. Plus Margaret left the house at 4am this morning to catch a flight down to Somerset for her bamboo pipes music event, so I’m inching my way into the day gradually.

    I realised you can’t really see the top centre panel, under the curl of the top row. Apologies for that – I tend to write the text and Margaret takes the photos separately, so the two don’t always coincide. Like the famous illustration at the end of the first published edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles, where the artist illustrated a clean-shaven servant, only for the next issue to describe his full, black beard! (D’oh!)


  • Nigel

    Isn’t Edinburgh beautiful when it is warm and sunny.

    ”The most beautiful of all the capitals of Europe.” Sir John Betjeman, First and Last Loves, 1952

  • Gordon

    Hi Nigel,

    As one of the hobbits says in the Lord of the Rings about Fangorn forest, in the sunshine he “almost felt he liked the place”. I feel the same about Edinburgh!