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Wick 2: 9 – 15 December

WK131215aThere are pros and cons to living this far north in the winter. The biggest con is of course the lack of daylight, with the sun effectively starting to set just after it’s risen (9.00 am at this time of year). On the other hand, we do get some very spectacular sunrises and sunsets. On a clear morning the sunrise can last over half an hour, the sky filled from horizon to horizon with vibrant streaks of red and gold (or “God’s nosebleed”, as I like to think of it).

IWK131215c was off last week on holiday and a cold promptly invaded me like a barbarian horde, so in fact I spent quite a lot of my time in bed with a chest infection, practicing my wheezing. It felt as though an invisible cat was sleeping on my chest, and I discovered my inner 80 year-old every time I climbed the stairs. (It’s back to work this week, so of course I feel much better.)


Finally finished!

I probably got sick from the weather. In the last week we’ve gone from temperatures of -2º to +10ºC, and from blizzards to blue skies. In fact, the only constant has been the gusts of 70-80mph, and if Mary Poppins ever tried to pay us a visit, odds are she’d end up somewhere over Norway before she could say “spit-spot”. (Out of curiosity I just looked it up the Norwegian for “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”; apparently it’s “superoptikjempefantafenomenalistisk”. You’re welcome.)


L: How it looks on the pattern leaflet. R: How it looks knitted up. Not happy with the colour difference.

Still, one thing about being ill, but not too ill, is that you can knit and spray yourself with mucus at the same time (I believe it’s called multi-tasking). So I’ve got rather a lot of knitting done in the last few days, as you’ll see from the photographs. The body’s plain as far as the yoke, and plain knitting always goes quickly; I’m trying to knit a little looser than I usually do, but I’m still slightly stunned at how well it’s going. Maybe I should be sick more often?

WK131215bAnd it’ll soon be Christmas. We went to get our tree on Saturday, a six-foot monster all the way from Dunnet Forest. Manhandling it into the house felt a bit like teaching a yeti how to waltz, and now it looms in our lounge, massive as a troll from a Harry Potter movie (albeit a very twinkly troll), exuding a scent of pine so strong it’s like living in an air freshener commercial. I think it’s living on woodlice careless enough to venture in reach of its branches.

See you next week for the last blog before the Christmas break—by which time the solstice will have passed, and the nights will already be getting longer (who said I was a pessimist?). Now it’s time to go toss the yule log and go deck someone with a bough of holly, or whatever the damn’ custom is…

11 comments to Wick 2: 9 – 15 December

  • Laura

    Wonderful knitting Margaret. I enjoy seeing your travel log of knits. No one does it better. I am taking my gansey knitting on a Panama Canal Cruise. I am concerned about the neck. It is my first gansey and he does not want the neck tight fitting.
    Seasons Greetings to Gansay Nation!

    • Gordon

      Hi Laura,

      It’s a spectacular jumper, isn’t it? Though it does involve more than one colour, which is dangerously close to witchcraft as far as I’m concerned… Anyway, good luck with the cruise, the gansey, and the neck!


  • =Tamar

    A twinkly troll–granite with a lot of mica? Congratulations on the gansey progress. Commiserations on the Fair Isle color bait-and-switch. What company was it?

    • Gordon

      Hello Tamar,

      The Fair Isle colour mismatch was from Jamieson’s, which is kind of shocking, like finding out that the Teletubbies do drugs, or Pope Francis is a gambling addict. Not what you expect from a company with their reputation at all.

      As for the troll, I was going to make a joke about it driving a Nissan Mica, but couldn’t quite make it work!


  • Dave

    Unless you are importing your nights from the southern hemisphere, I believe that you will find them becoming shorter after the winter solstice.

    • Gordon

      Ha, Dave, you’re obviously invoking the laws of physics, which I’ve had no truck with since primary school—whereas I was referring to the Dostoevskian depths of my black Russian soul, where long winter nights stand as a metaphor for the meaninglessness of existence in a Godless universe, and the endless desolate wasteland of existential nothingness that modern society has come to represent.

      Plus I was born in the southern hemisphere and old habits die hard…

      Спокойной ночи!

  • Marilyn

    Hello Gordon, a gift to myself arrived today with nary a large red suited person in sight. Dutch Ganseys- woo hoo, a real treat, thanks for calling it to my attention.
    Margaret, lovely jumper, even in shades of grey instead of brown. Don’t tell Gordon how easy it is, it would challenge his world view.

    p.s. I found this tidbit from the book to be charming: stockinette areas are “low tide” and textured areas of the gansey are “high tide”. Did you know that?

    Stay warm, Marilyn

    • Gordon

      Hi Marilyn,

      I haven’t seen the Dutch ganseys book yet, but I have hopes that Santa will have taken some broad hints dropped his way recently. I like the “low tide” concept—though in my case, it could stand for “furrowed brow”…

      And no matter what anyone says, women knitting in more than one colour would have been burned as witches 300 years ago, or about 75 in Caithness…


  • Dave

    I never went to law school, so we’ll go with your Dostoevsky theory.

  • =Tamar

    “And no matter what anyone says, women knitting in more than one colour would have been burned as witches 300 years ago, or about 75 in Caithness…”

    Um, no. See the website http://www.dumfriesmuseum.demon.co.uk/knithist.html for
    the article.
    “in 1807 a local publisher, Thomas Brown, gives us one of the most descriptive accounts of the garments produced in Sanquhar:
    ‘The knitters by the dextrous use of two threads, produce a substance resembling an outside and a lining. Most of the stockings are parti-coloured and of great variety of patterns.’

  • =Tamar

    Happy Christmas!

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