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Wick II: 29 March

2W150329a As promised, here is the finished Wick gansey, blocked and ready to go. The pattern still remains something of an enigma, but it is what it is, and so I send it out into the world to take its chances, in much the same spirit as my teachers parted with me at the end of my schooldays: unsure if I’d end up as prime minister or on death row—or possibly both.

We’re just starting our Easter break, and will be spending the next few days at my parents’ house in Northamptonshire, out of reach of the modern world, or at least that part of it that involves the internet. So apologies: I won’t be able to respond to any posts or emails this week.

2W150329bThere’s just one parish notice: Bobbins of Whitby have moved—please see their comment on the Suppliers page for further information, and we wish them all the best in their new home.

As it’s not a regular blog this week I hope you won’t mind if instead I share something with you. One of my favourite books is a slim little volume by the German author Hermann Hesse called Wandering, published in 1920 and consisting of brief essays, sketches and poems inspired by a walking tour he made over the Alps into Italy.

2W150329eIt’s a sentimental, naïve, thoughtful, wise and touching collection, out of print now as the values Hesse espoused are seemingly out of fashion in our materialistic age.

Here’s one of my favourite passages, inspired by a mountain pass, in which he reflects on how his response to nature has changed from when he was younger:

2W150329dEverything belongs to me more than ever before. It speaks to me more richly and with hundreds of nuances. My yearning no longer paints dreamy colours across the veiled distances, my eyes are satisfied with what exists, because they have learned to see. The world has become lovelier than before.

The world has become lovelier. I am alone, and I don’t suffer from my loneliness. I don’t want life to be anything other than what it is. I am ready to let myself be baked in the sun till I am done. I am eager to ripen. I am ready to die, ready to be born again.

The world has become lovelier.

Gansey Nation will be back on Monday 13th April; till then—happy Easter from Gordon and Margaret!

9 comments to Wick II: 29 March

  • Jane

    Lovely work, absolutely super. Do not worry about sending this one out into the world, it will do very well indeed!

    Have a good trip south, the weather in the far south is fairly kind at the moment, very windy but not terribly cold or wet. The wildlife is quite well, lots of peasants, deer, peacocks and little wild birds.

    Thank you for your thought, it was very fine. Take care.

  • Lynne

    Wonderful gansey! Thanks for the close-up of the fiddly stitches of the center panel, I don’t know how you kept your sanity in that panel but it certainly is effective.
    Safe travels, watch for chocolate rabbits.

  • Kersti

    Just catching up with you after a few weeks – Gordon, what you need for those colds of yours is blackberry oxymel, which is easy to make yourself. Immune system in a bottle. Note this down for the end of the summer:

    Pick blackberries when they are ripe (heel of blackberry, where it comes off the stem, is white, not dark), place them in a china or glass bowl, pour on white vinegar to just cover, cover the bowl with a plate or cloth, leave for a day or two, then crush with a potato masher. Strain the juice (sieve or jelly bag) into a measuring jug, then pour into a saucepan. Add half the volume of honey, then heat to melt the honey. Brng to the boil and boil for 5 min, bottle, and label. Dosage: 1 tablespoonful in a mug of hot water. Drink frequently to relieve a cold. [Big hat tip to Julie Bruton Seal, whose book Hedgerow Medicine provides this recipe.] You cannot overdose on this, unless you find that after a couple of litres your stomach is objecting to the accumulation of vinegar.

    It may not look like much, but seriously we find it more effective than Lemsip or anything else, and so do the increasing hordes of friends and rellies who come back for more every year. We’re having to resort to giving them the recipe to make it themselves, and calling in help at blackberrying time.

    Enjoy your Easter trip!

  • Kersti

    PS By ‘white vinegar’ I meant ‘white wine vinegar’ – not the clear distilled malt vinegar.

  • Nigel

    Lovely work Gordon.
    Thanks for the recipe Kersti. I’ll try that.

  • Jenny nr Seattle

    Exquisite and handsome gansey Gordon. I hope you and Margaret had a lovely Easter holiday.

    I started my hebridean gansey using your cast-on method which I have never done before. I am now 12 rounds into it and observed that the cast-on round appears to be wavy. I tried my best not to cast on too tightly. Will the waviness straighten itself out once I block the gansey? Thanks for any tips you can pass on and looking forward to tomorrow’s blog.

    • Gordon

      Hi Jenny,

      I must admit, I’m not sure what you mean by wavy! In my experience, any unevenness tends to vanish as the gansey progresses, and certainly once blocked, as the eye has lots of other things to look at. But then, I find blocking eradicates a multitude of sins—speaking as a frequent sinner… It’s the only cast-on method I’ve ever used, so I can’t claim that it’s better or worse than others, just that it seem stop work for me, if that makes sense?

  • Jenny nr Seattle

    Gordon, what I mean by wavy is it appears at the moment not to be flat or even as it sits next to my k1, p1 ribbing. Maybe once I block it, it will look just fine. Unfortunately, I’m not one who likes to sin. My husband asked me if I’ve settled on a pattern yet. I said no. I’ll just create it as I go along. But I do have the yoke charted. You’ve inspired me to move along on this gansey and hope I can catch up with yours or at least make progress.

    • Gordon

      Jenny, I can’t speak for k1, p1 ribbing—all of mine are k2, p2—maybe that’s what’s making the difference, the k2 ribs are more robust in flattening the cast-on row? I was off work last week, and feeling a bit under the weather, so I got more knitting don ethan usual. Expect much slower progress in future! Best of luck with your on-the-hoof patterning.

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