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Week 9: 2 – 8 March

9how9aWell now, imagine our surprise when Margaret opened her March edition of Slipknot, the journal of the Knitting and Crochet Guild, and found a picture of one of my ganseys on page 22 (the one modelled by my friend Gavin, in fact, though it’s the photo where all that can be seen of poor old Gavin’s face is the grey of his beard).

9how9bFame at last, I thought. But no; it’s obscurity again, I’m afraid. The picture has actually been lifted from this website (uncredited, which is a little bit naughty) to illustrate a new gansey project taking place in Scotland, organised by one  Kathryn Logan of the Moray Firth Partnership. The stated aims of the project are to locate, conserve and record old ganseys of the area and their patterns, and to get more local people interested in knitting and in their coastal heritage.

They’re going to hold a four-day “gansey and maritime craft event” at Portsoy near Aberdeen on 2-5 July 2009, which sounds like a lot of fun. There will be gansey master classes, exhibitions and “demos and tips from the World’s fastest knitter (Hazell Tindall from Shetland)”. I’m going to try to get along, thus creating a unique photo opportunity where the world’s fastest knitter meets the world’s slowest…

9how9dBut as the photos this week show, this is where it all starts to pay off: just doing a row or two each night builds up to an inch or two each week.  So that, almost without my noticing it, my embryonic gansey is about a foot in length – the gussets are perhaps only a couple of weeks away, and it’s almost time to think about working out the pattern.

9how9cAnother way of measuring progress is in yarn used, and I’ve included a picture here of the cone I’m working from alongside an untouched 500g cone – which looks remarkably fat in comparison!

Finally, the gansey’s big enough to make it worth taking a picture of the fake “seam” stitch from the reverse side, or inside, so you can see how it stands out (or at least you can at the bottom, where the image is in focus). It’s scarcely noticeable from the outside but from the inside it’s better than using a stitch marker.


Hmm. Not sure what to make of this. Margaret’s found the Moray Firth gansey project’s website, and it looks as if my gansey picture is being used as the main illustration for the project. I wouldn’t mind – in fact if I’m honest I’d be deeply flattered – but I’d rather they’d asked me first, or at least given me the credit!

2 comments to Week 9: 2 – 8 March

  • =Tamar

    Credit would be nice. They seem to be using the old tale about “family patterns” too, though the only proven instance of identification by guernsey was during WWII, reported in Knitting from the Netherlands.

  • Hi Tamar, I’ve been in touch with Kathryn Logan of the Moray Firth project and their use of my photo seems to be an error made in good faith which they will rectify, and which is fair enough. More on this next week. I think it will be really interesting to see if any traditional ganseys emerge, or anecdotes and particularly patterns that haven’t been recorded yet. If so, hopefully they will then go into the public domain, and everyone will benefit.