Support Gansey Nation -

Buy Gordon a cuppa!

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

Gansey Nation on Zazzle!

Week 7: 2 – 8 November

m7nz001What a week! One of those that makes you wonder if God wasn’t on to something when he thought of Noah’s flood, and you kind of wish he’d seen the job through. Come to think of it, one of the wilder theories about the universe suggests that time constantly runs forwards and backwards, never ending, so we live our lives forwards (to the last syllable of recorded time, as the poet said), and then all over again but in reverse – then forwards again – etc. This is hard to believe, and not just because it’s stupid, but also because anything that would cause me to relive the last week at work has to be unthinkable.

(If I say that the best thing to happen last week was a flat battery in my car, resulting in a visit by a friendly RAC patrol man and a hefty bill for a new battery, you’ll get the idea.)

The end of October and the beginning of November is always fireworks time in Britain, so in a city like Edinburgh you just get used to the whiz and bang of various high explosives being let off in the small hours, and try to look like you enjoy it. Actually, there are two advantages to living on the top floor: first of all, you get an excellent view of the displays on Calton Hill (which happen so frequently we scarcely even bother to open the curtains, so jaded are our palates); and secondly no Trick-or-Treaters would have the stamina to climb all 55 stairs, even if we released the door.

nzchartI heard a great – though nasty – trick to play on Trick-or-Treat practitioners the other day. Get some small, raw brussels sprouts, and wrap them in the gold tinfoil that normally holds those Ferraro Rocher chocolate truffles. Put the cunningly disguised sprouts back in the original packaging and hand them over, and await results with confidence.

It seems pretty clear to me, what with things at work being the way they were, that emigration was at the forefront of my subconscious mind. Hence the decision to switch from the rigid linear pattern I showed you last week to a representation of the land of my birth, the land of the long white cloud itself, New Zealand (pattern courtesy of Margaret, since I was preoccupied with dodging the guards and tunnelling out of the National Archives of Scotland to able to concentrate on charting knitting patterns).

It doesn’t quite work – of course – but it’s not that bad a first attempt. I’m going to play around with other combinations to find one that stands out (this will probably form a panel on the yoke) so if anyone has any suggestions I’d like to hear them – just bearing in mind that it’s all in one colour, and it’s relatively small, so I’m limited in what I can do.

3 comments to Week 7: 2 – 8 November

  • Suzanne

    Hi Gordon!

    To pick up where we left off, I have not yet had a chance to pick up any Ted Hughes (library is on a side of town I rarely get to), but am most intrigued by the excerpts you furnished.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think the NZ outline can be made to work in one color. My first thought on seeing the swatch was that you had decided to attempt impressionist knitting (a depiction of a tear in the space/time continuum?), or that perhaps I was glimpsing a creation from today’s pre-distressed clothing trend, or something that the cat got into. Even when I saw the chart at the bottom of the post, I was not quite able to correlate it with the piece of knitting at the top. I know. That is a very harsh assessment. Perhaps too much so after your ordeals of last week but I could not come up with a sugar coating that would still ring true.

    When first one dips the toe into the charting pond and nothing disastrous happens, it is very tempting to begin charting every shape or image that has ever taken one’s fancy. Alas, few of them actually work well in solid knitting or lace. (I have a small plastic tub full of weeks of unsuccessful motif sampling to prove that assertion)

    A gansey is a fairly small canvas. Unless you deliberately wish to provoke traffic accidents and rubbernecking, it would probably be preferable to stick to Maori ornamental motifs in a harmonious arrangement. My understanding of the project was that it was to be a gansey that would appear traditional at first glance. Closer scrutiny would then reveal the exotic nature of the decoration and the technical mastery of the knitter.

    That’s my 2 cents’ worth. I hope that somebody will contradict me and tell you that the motif is just a couple of stitches from being perfect.

  • Nigel

    What about a Silver Fern?

  • =Tamar

    Look at the ganseys with initials knitted in them; shapes that are intended to remain visible have to be done in seed stitch. Remember, blocking does a lot, too. If seed stitch works, the NZ design could work as a scarf, maybe repeated to make an overall pattern.