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Whitby, Mrs Laidler Week 9: 24 July

I am not, let’s be honest, one of nature’s travellers. I get carsick, seasick and airsick, and even going up in an elevator leaves me shaken like a cocktail. (When I read that the sailors on the Mayflower called the pilgrims “pukestockings” I felt a stab of fellow-feeling—you and me both, Miles, I thought grimly.) And yet I managed a new low last week on the train from Birmingham to Northampton.

Sunday was a hot, sticky day—well, hot for Caithness, around 25ºc—and I’d flown down from Inverness. I was stupidly dehydrated to start with, then the plane was delayed so I had to dash to catch my train, which was also hot and sticky, and pretty crowded. After a while sitting there I began to feel a little faint, then I realised with alarm that I was about to actually black out. I leaned forward to rest my forehead on the seat back in front of me, and tried hard to stay conscious. I began to sweat profusely, my whole body apparently curious to see what would happen if the 97% of me that is water was on the outside of my skin for a change. In a sort of stupor I watched station after station glide past, until it dawned on me that there was a chance I’d be unable to get up from my seat when my time came.

Well, luckily after 20 minutes or so I was able to sit up, and finally stagger off the train, though God knows what I must have looked like: I was so sodden by this time I could have wrung out my socks and saved myself the price of a bottle of mineral water. I admit I am occasionally—just occasionally—guilty of exaggerating slightly for effect; when on a management course some years back we took a personality test, while others were rated “completer-finisher”, say, or “debater”, mine came back “drama queen”. But this really was pretty ghastly. The moral of the story is, I think, to drink lots of water when I travel in future: no, scratch that: the moral is, don’t travel.

Sarclet Harbour

In gansey news, as I mentioned last week I didn’t take my navy gansey down with me, but I managed to finish the first sleeve once I got back. Hopefully another fortnight will see the whole thing done: already the nights are drawing in and I need a light to knit after about 9pm. The nights, alas, are drawing in, and it’s not even August: I would say the leaves will soon be falling from the trees, but it’s been so windy most of the trees have been stripped bare already. Oh, well—soon be Christmas…


I picked up 68 stitches along one side of the armhole, then the 24 stitches of the shoulder strap with its cable (which I cabled on the pick-up row) and then another 68 stitches down the other side. I knit the sleeve for 18 inches, pick-up row to cuff, and decreasing at a rate of 2 stitches every 5 rows. My row gauge was 11.44 rows per inch. The cuff consists of 92 stitches in a knit 2/ purl 2 rib, and was knit for 6 inches so it can be rolled back to suit.

8 comments to Whitby, Mrs Laidler Week 9: 24 July

  • =Tamar

    25-C is 77-F. I have my A/C set to that. I’m glad you recovered but I do think you should mention it to your doctor. Heat exhaustion is not something to fool around with.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, I have a trip to the doctor coming up soon, as I expect to be off my antidepressant meds shortly (it’s been 6 months, or almost, hallelujah), and will mention it to whichever locum the roulette wheel spins up then.

      I live in Wick. It’s 17 degrees outside. People are sunbathing. Nuff said…

  • Jane Callaghan

    Sorry, it’s me again. When you cross on the pick-up row, are you just picking up or picking-up-and-knitting? Because if you knit as well as pick up, aren’t you going to have an extra row at the top of the sleeve? Is it just the cable you cross to get it out of the way and start afresh, or do you continue the rest of the pattern immediately too? Yes I know I should try knitting it but it would take me about a week and I am hoping you can type as fast as you knit!

    • Gordon

      Hi Jane, if it’s any consolation, it does my head in too.

      Yes, I pick up stitches around the armhole until I get to the 20-odd stitches of the shoulder strap, which are on a holder. I then knit those stitches in pattern, cabling the centre cable, then pick up the rest of the armhole stitches down the other side.

      And yes, this is just to get the cable cross out of the way, so that the first row after the pick up row is the start of a new cable.

      But you’re also right—I have to make sure that the pattern stitches i knit on that first row after the pick-up row are the same as the ones in the shoulder strap pattern, so everything is in perfect alignment moving down, thus ensuring that cosmic harmony and balance is restored.

      • =Tamar

        Doesn’t that give you an extra row just at the strap? Or do you mean you pick-up-and-knit the rest as well? To me, “pick up” means putting an existing bit of yarn onto the needle by simply poking the needle through an already-knit stitch, while “pick-up-and-knit” means poke the needle through and knit a new stitch onto it through the previously-existing stitch.

        • Gordon

          Hi Tamar, I never said I knew what things were called!

          I do the “poke the needle through and knit a new stitch” thing up the armhole till I reach the shoulder strap stitches which are on a holding needle and ready to go. These I just knit another row to (crossing the cable when I come to it). Then, I revert to poking the needle through and knit new stitches down the rest of the armhole.

          The next row is the first pattern row and first cable row.

          • =Tamar

            Thanks, that’s clear. Now I just have one more question. Does the pattern all around the upper sleeve match the pattern on the yoke? Or is it a repetition of the pattern on the shoulder strap? Or are those two the same? They look very much alike in the photograph.

  • Gordon

    Yes, the pattern on the sleeve is exactly the same as that on the yoke. The shoulder strap is basically the cable panel with its flanking stitches (7 + 6 + 7 = 20 stitches) plus a couple of plain stitches on each side. The only difference between the sleeve pattern and the yoke is that I have 4 plain stitches either side of the gusset.

    So, just as there is a cable in the centre of the yoke, there’s a cable at the centre of the sleeve pattern too. Keeps it in balance, or something.

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