This week’s question: does echinacea work? This week’s answer – given that I’ve just spent the best part of 2 days in bed knocked out with a wretched cold, with power to add – is a resounding “no”. This week’s blog is therefore brought to you by the purveyors of quality paracetamol and codeine, aka “real drugs”.
And so, before those drugs wear off, here is this week’s record of progress. I’d kind of hoped to get the gansey finished by now, but the weekend passed by in a sort of blur and I wasn’t able to get much done. All the same, I’m only 2-3 days away from the end – literally – of the sleeve. I’ve just got 6 more rows before I decrease into the cuff, followed by 3 inches of ribbing, which is tedious, but quick.
The Maori gansey is looming large in my mind, overtaking the current project like Darth Vader’s massive ship overhauling the princess’s cruiser at the start of the original Star Wars movie. (I’ve just looked this up on Wikipedia – not that I’m easily sidetracked, you understand – and am somewhat stunned to learn that the model ofthe little ship was actually bigger than the model of the star destroyer chasing it, and they used camera angles to make it look much smaller. Not only that, but it was originally going to be the Millennium Falcon, before they decided to change the design of that ship. And – best of all – the model makers decorated the cockpit with a miniature Playboy centrefold as a joke, which, as all the online articles are at pains to state, is not visible in the final film… Look it up, people, if you don’t believe me. I always knew that self-denial thing the Jedi had going would lead to trouble.)
Where was I? Oh yes, the gansey. I’ve been researching Maori patterns extensively, which is a euphemism for a quick Google image search, which, taken with the designs on my old wooden ruler from I brought with me from New Zealand 150 years ago, has given me something to work on. The next step will be to buy some graph paper, maybe a pencil and then get down to it. I think most of the patterns I end up with will require a fair bit of amendment, as (as others have observed) Maori patterns are usually strongly coloured and starkly contrasted. Whereas mine will all be in white. So there’s a challenge there from the start.
Then I have to grit my teeth, buy a bottle of whisky, develop a taste for it, and then drink enough to summon up the courage to start swatching, if that’s a word (“you better swatch out, you better not cry”, as the song almost says).
But for now I think it’s back to bed with a good audiobook (iTunes in the UK is selling some astonishing value unabridged readings of Charles Dickens’ novels done by the RNIB, the Royal National Institute for the Blind, at an unbelievable 95 pence each. So I’ve downloaded more than a few and am happily drifting in and out of consciousness to the travails of John Harmon, Eugene Wrayburn, Bradley Headstone, Jenny Wren, and Mr and Mrs Boffin. It’s almost worth being ill.)