Support Gansey Nation -

Buy Gordon a cuppa!

Many, many thanks to those of you who have already contributed!

Week 6: 9 – 15 February

9how6aI keep having to remind myself that I’m really making progress, since the body with its garter-stitch welt has started to lose its resemblance to the sort of hats worn by the English soldiers who burned Joan of Arc – progress of a sort, I guess.

I spent part of the week clearing my desk at work, as we’re getting ready to evacuate the building next month before we close down – all very depressing. Yellow Post-it notes are blooming on the backs of chairs like early daffodils, as people who’ve found jobs with the “new” MLA are claiming furniture for their futures, when they’ll be working from home. And I doubt there’s been so much paper shredded in an organisation since the days of Oliver North.

9how6bWe had one fun day last week, arising from our imminent closure. We’ve put a sum of money into an arts programme (“New Expressions”), and got some Arts Council money to match it, so we’re funding 10 museums to employ a contemporary artist to use something in their galleries as inspiration, and produce a new work of art. On Wednesday, we all got together in Taunton, and the artists showed us what they’d come up with.

Well, speaking as someone who is, let’s be honest, on the sceptical side when it comes to modern art, it was both interesting and fun. Sure, there were some projects that reinforce the old prejudices (the artist who is inspired by seeing museum objects in storage mostly obscured by tissue paper, who’s arranging T-shirts in a pile of tissue paper so only a few words of the logo can be seen, enigmatically peeping out, for instance!) but others were really creative. So Porthcurno Telegraph Museum is using an artist who’s taking her inspiration from their galvanometer to create a sculpture you can stand inside that will stand outside and reflect the sun onto a contoured wall (what do you mean, you don’t know what a galvanometer is?).

9how6cAnd Plymouth Museum’s artist is creating a circular display based on all the little cardboard labels from their natural history collection, each one taken from a species that is now extinct. (We joked that they should add a label for us too…) But the best of all is from the wonderful Falmouth Art Gallery, who’ve employed a surrealist painter to create a surrealist frame for one of his pictures! If you’re ever in the vicinity, you really should look it up.

And now I’m off to Edinburgh for a week, to try to find somewhere to live during the coming months, and to move things along with the new job. Four nights on my own in a hotel, eh? Sounds like fun. But at least I’m taking the knitting (not as hand luggage!), so I can be bored creatively.

3 comments to Week 6: 9 – 15 February

  • =Tamar

    Your perseverance is an inspiration. Someday I will knit a gansey.

    FYI, your Cornwall gansey is mislabeled. It is from the Lizard, but it is not Jim Curtis’s gansey. A different one is correctly labeled Jim Curtis’s but doesn’t have the page number that is with the mistaken label.

  • Nigel

    I have decided to quit thinking about when I might find time to knit a Gansey and actually get on with knitting one. It might take me some time, but you have inspired me. I’ll follow this Henry Freeman pattern and see how it turns out. I would be interested to discover how you started because I have read Compton Rae’s book but still don’t feel confident enough to follow the pattern to finish product. I get confused with talk of increasing/decreasing not to mention gussets and knitting collars and so forth. Still, here goes… Hell might have frozen over just in time for the first wearing!

  • Hi Tamar,

    Thanks for the heads-up on the mislabelling of the Cornish gansey. I haven’t had a chance to check the books but I think you’re right. (You see, I used to list the ganseys in the gallery by name of person they were knit for, but thought I should change it to the pattern type as it’d be more useful to readers of the blog than knowing who my friends were! I think I may have done it too quickly…)


    Hi Nigel,

    Well, as you’ll see from this week’s photos, I’m going through a rather slow phase myself at the moment – the secret, I think, is just to accept it takes a long time, and not worry about it. If you get hung up on tangible progress you’ll probably go mad – but a little and often and it’s amazing how quickly it builds up.

    Once you’ve cast on for the welt you don’t have to worry about increasing or decreasing for ages, so I’d suggest giving it a go. In any case, with Henry Freeman’s pattern, you can accommodate the pattern easily to the number of stitches you have – it’s not like a fancy pattern with diamonds, cables etc. – so you can leave worrying about that for months – as I’m doing with this one (I’ll sort out what I’m going to do with the pattern when I reach the armpits).

    Obviously if I can be of any help, at any stage, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line (though as some of the other comments on this blog will show, I’m not necessarily the best person to be giving advice!!).

    Good luck and keep in touch,