Well, here we are in 2017, so let me begin by wishing everyone a very happy New Year; and a special welcome to any new readers who found a do-it-yourself gansey kit in their Christmas stockings only to realise that batteries were not included… Here’s to another year of bunting and frolic, though not necessarily in that order.
It’s been another pretty good year for this blog: we’re currently averaging over 100 visits per day to the site, and overall last year we had over 30,000 visits. So if you thought you were the only one, nursing in solitude your secret shame, be comforted: you are not alone. (Our name is Legion, for we have many cones of 5-ply.)
I knit more ganseys in 2016 than ever before—five complete and two half-ganseys (one finished off, the other—this one—begun). It’s quite impressive, of course, but it’s a record I don’t plan to match anytime soon. As I’ve been knitting to help manage stress at work, the sensible plan is to have rather less of both.
I think of the current project as alchemy in wool: bad stuff came in, and by the magic of knit and purl stitches it was transformed into something positive, all the poison drawn out. I think there’s a good story to be written of all the thoughts and feelings that have been knitted into a gansey, all the hopes and dreams and aspirations that went into each stitch and pattern; for nobody knits something like a gansey with anything other than good intent. It’s like an arrow of hope loosed into the future.
This particular arrow is almost finished—I reckon another fortnight will see it done (I’ll slow down now as it’s back to work this week). As I’ve mentioned before, the switch to Wendy yarn has distorted my stitch and row gauges somewhat, so that instead of knitting a large / extra large gansey, I’ve got an extra-extra large on my hands. It’ll come in handy if I ever put on another three or four stone in weight, or if my knees get cold…
Because it’s a bit larger, the armholes are slightly deeper than usual, 9.5 inches per side. On the other hand, the stitch gauge is only 7.7 stitches per inch, so I’ve picked up 147 stitches in the round. I’m decreasing down the sleeve at a rate of 2 stitches every 5th row.
And so we bid farewell to 2016, and raise a glass of soluble aspirin to 2017, in the hope that it really has to be an improvement. Still, let’s look on the bright side: it probably all depends on how you look at things. To quote Hamlet, “there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. And things worked out pretty well for him, I believe…