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Week 5: 18-24 August

The exciting news this week is that, as a reward for much patient toil and not having a social life, I’ve reached the gussets, the underarm triangles that make the finished gansey that much more flexible when doing aerobics or any other outdoor winter workouts.

I usually start on the gussets after about 14 inches or so, keep going for another 3 or 4 inches, and then divide for the chest (at which point I stop knitting in the round, but switch to back-and-forth). If the chest (which is also the sleeve depth) is 10 inches long, that should make the overall length of the finished pullover 28-plus inches (i.e., quite long. Maybe it’ll be a cold winter.)

The gussets are done by increasing either side of the fake “seams”, the purl stitches (one each side of the body) to mark the demarcation between the two halves, front and back. The increase for each gusset is at a rate of two stitches every four rows (i.e., you increase a stitch at either end of each gusset every fourth row). The close-up photo shows this better – and, as I have to remind myself, the first few rows of a gusset always look awful: the stitches look uneven, the gussets appear lopsided, and some of the increases create “holes”. But by the time they’re finished they always seem to look just fine, so the thing to do is not worry about it and press on.

I usually increase the gussets to about 23 or so stitches, more if it’s for a big person. It also depends how my nerve holds as I look at how long it’s getting overall…

This week, Gordon read what is perhaps the most insane novel ever written. It’s called The List of Seven by Mark Frost, co-creator of Twin Peaks (perhaps my favourite ever TV show), and features a young Arthur Conan Doyle mixed up in a spiritualist-cum-Satanist conspiracy to put Satan on the throne of England. It features a Sherlock Holmes analogue (who is so much better than the rest of the book!), numerous Holmes- and Dracula-pastiches, a zombie army, giant, carnivorous, genetically modified slugs, and even Bram Stoker, whom of course they meet in Whitby (favourite quote: “my name is Abraham Stoker…my friends call me Bram”). Utterly barking, and really quite endearing.

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