Sunday, April 30, 2006

Twenty-four hours later, we’re feeling much stronger. My hands even seem to have softened up a bit, although I think I’m sailing through the mid-project doldrums with my sister’s shawl. Land will be in sight very soon now, and the mood should lift.

Ketki’s Gansey

Maureen, I am enormously grateful for your comment of yesterday. Shall I forward it to my sister-in-law? Maybe. I’d love to see that picture of the herring girls in their coloured sweaters. The website of the Buckie Fishing Museum doesn’t seem to include it. Anstruther, on the other hand – where they have the original of the sweater Liz copied for Guernsey Wool – is within our striking-zone. I might contrive to visit that one. I also think I will find out about joining the Traditional Knitting List – Yahoo?

Anyway, here’s the current state of Ketki’s gansey, and I am very pleased with it. I think I’ve now done enough that I can be confident the garter stitch welt is not going to flare out, peplum-fashion. It won’t draw in, of course, like a ribbed welt. It’s meant to hang straight down, and I think it will.

The two welt pieces are overlapped by two stitches, front over back, and those two stitches then travel up the sides in purl as a mock seam. All according to Brown-Reinsel, and all fine. Except, as I think you can infer from the yarns hanging down, it would appear that I managed to reverse the back piece during the struggle. But I can’t see any difference between the two pieces. If I had reversed one, I would have had to knit across it in the same direction as the previous row, and when you do that to garter stitch, you get stocking stitch, and I ought to be able to see a difference. It remains a puzzle.

In the end, I dealt with the centering problem by eliminating one stitch front and back, so that there are an odd number and the spine-stitch could be centered precisely. That kind of thing is tough: if, as was the case, there are 139 stitches in the front of the gansey, and you want to center the stitch which is number 32 on the pattern chart as graphed, where on the chart do you start knitting? I got it in the end.


We have had a remarkably dry winter – global warming? – and the soil is wonderfully friable. [I love that word.] But it is still cool to the touch, and there are no seedling weeds yet. Plenty of grown-up weeds, you understand – but no new 2006 ones. So it’s probably too soon for seeds, and the village vegetable-growers agree. They haven’t even put their tatties in yet. I did that, and I don’t think they’ll come to any harm, even if they choose to wait quietly until the soil warms up before taking further action. I also sowed nasturtiums, swiss chard, and spinach, all tough characters and no harm done if they fail, because I’ve got more seeds.

The nasturtiums are to provide leaves and even flowers for salads, and, especially, seeds to use as capers.

Here is the current state of things. You can even see the red rhubarb, in the foreground. I have also put up the teepee for climbing beans and, to the left in the back, the netting for the peas.

I was interested to hear, Janis, that May 15 is ringed on the calendar in CT for getting started in the garden. It is in fact much the same here. Freak frosts are perfectly possible afterwards, but that’s the point at which one has to disregard the risk and get on with things. My husband threatens to persevere in his work here during much of May. That means I’ll have to leave him on his own once a week or so and go up overnight to commune with nature.

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