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Wick II: 22 March

2W150322a There was a partial eclipse last week, and we were fortunate that the clouds parted just enough to let us see the sun reduced to a brilliant golden crescent. In fact, the clouds added to the spectacle, roiling furiously around the eclipse like smoke, as though some vast celestial weapon was being forged in the heavens.

In olden times, people thought of eclipses as harbingers of mighty events; and this is still the case today, as I bring you tidings of great joy: for lo, the Wick gansey is complete.


Ye Eclipse

I still have the ends to darn in, and then it has to be washed and blocked, but those are mere details. It’s done as done, the best use of a leftover stash of navy yarn as I can think of. We’re going to take a break over Easter as we go down south to visit my parents, but we’ll put up pictures of the blocked and bedarned gansey next Monday to round off this project.

Before then I have to pay a visit to the doctor’s to get my ears syringed. I’d never really thought much about earwax till now; it’s just been there, like nature’s play dough. In fact, as a result of reading a particular horror story as a child, I’d always assumed it’s main purpose was to act as a barrier so that tropical caterpillars couldn’t crawl inside your ear and lay its eggs in your brain.


New Keiss Castle

Now for no reason at all mine has caused me to go partly deaf, or makes a sound inside my head like a slug crawling over a microphone; it affects my sense of balance so that I tend to walk like someone crossing Niagara Falls on a unicycle. Sometimes it partially melts in the night and I awake to the sound of bursting bubbles, as though Fairy Earwax had paid me a visit and was sticking her index finger in her mouth and popping it out at me with a wet smack. (Sometimes I swear I can hear sniggering in the darkness.)

2W150322bThe cure isn’t much better, to be frank, consisting of a pressurised jet of water fired into the ear in the hopes of flushing out the offending substance, along with any caterpillar eggs that may be lodged in there, loose bits of brain, that sort of thing. Isn’t growing old fun?

Still, once it’s over I’ll be able to start rebuilding my life, planning the next project. Time to revisit an old favourite, I think—and looking at the dregs of my teacup and swirling the leaves, I think I can see cables coming back into my life after a long break…

15 comments to Wick II: 22 March

  • Nigel

    Hurrah! Jolly good show. It looks smashing and very intricate.
    I am also celebrating because … I have finished my gansey!
    I need to block it though. I’ll send a pic soon.
    Good luck at the doctor’s.

    • Gordon

      That’s great news, Nigel. You must be delighted! Congratulations. And remember, the first one is always the hardest…

      Look forward to seeing the pictures, and pour yourself a single malt on me!

  • =Tamar

    Congratulations on another gansey, and a lot of yarn put to good use.

    Good luck at the doctor’s. I wish my hearing difficulties were just from earwax; alas, it appears to be familial.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, I do know what you mean. In my case it’s a question of wondering why they broadcast tv and radio so much more quietly than they used to when I was younger… also now my ears have been syringed, I can hear my tinnitus so much more clearly…!

  • Lynne

    Yay for Gordon, and Yay! Yay! for Nigel !

  • Jane

    Superb work, Gordon, just superb. Excellent use of spare yarn – your stash must be interesting! Many congrats to you and also to Nigel, it’s no simple matter to knit an adult garment let alone a gansey!

    All the best with the ears. The doctor who whipped out the elder daughter’s adenoids some twenty-five years ago reckoned ear wax was a God-given precious gift which I suppose is all right if you have never been troubled! It has been a very long winter!

    Very pleased you saw the eclipse, here in the South we just had the spooky dimness, quite silent, no bird song, very eerie, absolutely fascinating. Otherwise it has stopped raining, mild sunny dryness reigns and mud receding. Have a good trip south!

    • Gordon

      Hello Jane, I accumulated quite a bit of navy at one time which it’s a relief to use up. But quite often when I knit gansey for other people they ask for navy because I suppose they think of it as traditional. (little do they know…)

      The nurse told me that alas, once you start to get troubled with the aural amber nectar like this it never goes away (neither a blessing nor a nurse, aha ha). Bugger seems to sum it up quite well, I think.

      The birdies are in good voice up here, you can hear the little devils warming up ready for the clocks to go forward, sipping mint tea and going “mi mi mi mi” and studying music scores so they’re note perfect. Sometimes I almost wish I couldn’t hear again…

  • Judit M./Finland

    Hello Gordon and congrats to the new gansey. As I could not see the pattern on the dark picture I photoshoped it and now I see how complicated was this busy pattern ! Still wondering how could you knit this wintertime. The next work should be from a light coloured wool, just for your eyes sake ! Wishing happy days with your parents and nice holiday to both of you!

    • Gordon

      Hello Judit, busy is right! I doubt if I’d have taken this on if it hadn’t been from Wick; and as I’m donating it to the museum, if they’ll have it, I though navy was more appropriate. But this may well the last navy gansey I ever knit. You’re right, it is too dark for winter, and besides, as I get older, I want more colour in my life! And thank you for the good wishes.

  • Nigel

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I could not have done it without this wonderful website, and the advice and encouragement from Gordon and Margaret.

  • Jenny nr Seattle

    Hats off to Gordon! Very handsome pattern. Bravo to Nigel for completing his first gansey. Well done, gentlemen.

    Good luck on the ears, Gordon. My husband has the same imbalance condition as you do and his ear doctor said he is suffering from vestibular neuronitis.

    Have a wonderful holiday with your parents and we all look forward to the posting of the finished Wick Gansey and maybe a photo of the handsome owner modeling it for Easter?

    In the meantime, I’m charting my next gansey, a Hebridean variety with the horseshoe imprint pattern on the yoke. Haven’t done this pattern before.

    • Gordon

      Hello Jenny, and thank you. Alas, I shan’t be modelling this one as I deliberately made it a size or two smaller because of the yarn at my disposal (cutting my cloth, as the saying goes!), and I’ll just be giving it away anyway. But Margaret washed it and blocked it out today, and i must say it looks pretty fine.

      Best of luck with your Hebridean gansey—do let us know how you get on. And happy Easter!

  • Christine Zachary

    Lovely traditional piece, great design and meticulous work. Congratulations!

    • Gordon

      Hi Christine,

      Thank you! It’s great to see something come to life from a chart on the page to a living sweater – though I’m not going to be in a hurry to try something quite this complicated anytime soon…

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