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WEEK 2 – 28 July to 3 August

Week 2

As expected, things have settled down a bit after the heady rush of last week. I’m pacing myself, which is easy to do when 3-4 rows, representing a couple of hours’ effort, only adds a quarter of an inch to the total. (England playing so badly at cricket helps, too, as it means I can’t bear to watch most of the time… which makes it easier to concentrate on the knitting…)

After the heady excitement of finishing the welt in a rush, it was time for Decision Point Number 1: how big to make the body? At that stage I still hadn’t settled on a pattern, so I played safe and increased to 432 stitches for the body in the round, or 216 for each half (213 if you discount the 2 purl stitches marking the fake “seams” and a knit stitch on each side of the seam as a border). I have no idea what my stitch gauge is after the cataract operations, so this is mostly guesswork, but it feels like a good number. Time will tell. I can always diet.

At the moment the plan to use a different brand/dye-lot for the welt looks risky, as the new yarn for the body is a brilliant white in comparison: the effect is not dissimilar to a laundry detergent commercial (with the welt illustrating “before”). My current plan involves rolling in a lot of mud when I put the finished gansey on so it won’t be noticeable.

Now it was time for Decision Point Number 2: what should the pattern be? As expected, I’ve opted for Flamborough, based on the photograph on Page 58 of Rae Compton’s book, featuring a chap with a jaunty cap and rather dashing, if unfashionable, sideburns. The moss-stitch-and-cable panels come to 30 stitches in total:


so four of those = 120 stitches. 213 – 120 = 93.

At first I thought of 3 panels of 31 stitches each to sit between the moss-and-cable ones (3 x 31 = 93). The question was, what should they be? Flamborough features diamonds and hearts, so the obvious answer was a diamond, but the thought of a 31-stitch diamond seemed a bit overpowering. Then inspiration struck, and instead of 3 panels of 31 stitches I settled on 5 panels of 19: with a purl border at each side of them, and a knit-stitch at the edge, that makes a more manageable diamond of 15 (P-K-diamond-K-P). The only downside meant increasing by another 2 stitches when I started the pattern (19 x 5 = 95), but I reckoned this wouldn’t be noticeable in all the smoke and confusion. (The moral of the story, children: plan it all out from the beginning!)

Of course I managed to screw up even that simple task: in the first pattern row I forgot about including the 2 border stitches either side of the “seam”, so I had to add an extra increase on the second row (don’t ask). I think T.S. Eliot had the way I knit ganseys in mind when he wrote, “Between the conception and the creation…Falls the Shadow” , but never mind: what’s done is done. And if we keep it between ourselves, I doubt if anyone will even notice… What? Oh.

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