Oh, that’s right, now I remember why I prefer to start my ganseys with a ribbed welt.
It’s Week 3 and I’m a couple of inches into the body, plain knitting in the round: and the garter stitch welt-flaps flop around like sheets hung out to dry on washing day in a strong gale. The thing is, ribbed welts naturally concertina inwards, which makes the stitches easy to manipulate round the needles; but a garter welt remains actual size, and that makes it harder to manage the stitches. So I’m forever stopping to coax them round with both hands to get them distributed evenly.
And then, just to make it more interesting, the plain knitting curls over the tops of the needles like a very frothy head on a freshly-drawn pint of beer… So all in all progress hasn’t been quite as smooth as I could have wished!
You’ll see from the pictures that I’ve decided to add my initials to the front of the body, just above the welt close to one of the fake seam stitches. The letters are adapted from those in Rae Compton’s Complete Book of Traditional Guernsey and Jersey Knitting, page 60, which I find work pretty well. Adding your initials is, of course, a high-risk strategy – if you’ve miscalculated and the gansey turns out to be way too big or too small you can’t easily give it away to someone else whom it fits without having to explain yourself, which can be awkward. So this is something of a declaration of intent on my part. But I’ve always wanted one in this pattern, so I figure it’s worth it.
Now I’m knitting in the round, I’ve also been reminded of another problem of hand knitting directly from these 500g cones – the yarn naturally twists and twists until it’s twisted itself into knots, and keeping it constantly untangled can be a right nuisance. I’ve devised a cunning plan to overcome this, however, which involves placing the cone on the top of our window curtain rails after each session, and letting the knitting dangle freely below. After a very few minutes it’s untangled itself, and you’re ready to go again. (The only thing to remember is to ensure that the stitches on your needles are pushed far away from the points, so they don’t pull off and drop as your knitting spins and untwists. Oh yes – and make sure your cone weighs more than your knitting…)
Finally, here’s a question: has a gansey ever featured in a novel?