Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thank you for all the wonderful comments.

Donice, it is grand to know that you were listening to Kings College, too, on Christmas Eve – it’s part of the emotion of the moment, the link it provides to absent friends. I’m glad you agree about this year’s boy.

Philhellene, I’m with you on socks. I always do 50 rounds of ribbing for gents’ socks. I don’t greatly dislike doing it, but I’m always glad when it’s over – and I couldn’t possibly contemplate toe-up, with that much ribbing coming last.

I did cast on in anthracite last night, for the next pair, and am nearly half-way through the ribbing. I was astonished to rediscover how much I prefer conventionally spun and twisted sock yarn, after recent weeks with KF’s hand-dyed-effect. The jury will have to stay out on that yarn until we see how it wears. The finished socks are certainly lovely and soft. I did reinforce the heels – can’t hurt. And they look fine. But the gentle twist and the constant threat of splitting certainly diminished the pleasure.

“Anthracite” is a KF random-striped yarn. The fun of those, as you know, is the way they entice you to knit on and on to see what the next stripe is going to be, and the next after that.  But in my non-OTT-lit sitting room I find, so far, that I can scarcely detect the stripes. I discovered, by peering, that I had knit a couple without even noticing them. The effect is just anthracite, and that’s fine.

But I will try to arrange life, next winter, to have something brighter on the needles from mid-November to mid-January. Like madelinetosh scarlet. It does make a difference.


There was a program on Radio Four this morning, from 6 to 6:30, about the Moray Firth Gansey Project. The general title was Open Country, I think. You could probably track it down on the BBC website, but I doubt if it is worth your while. The point of the Gansey Project is to preserve patterns and memories. Much was made of that. But there was no mention of the fact that Gladys Thompson did it 40 years ago. I suppose if you’re applying for Heritage Lottery Fund money, as the Gansey Project did, it is more prudent to keep Mrs Thompson in the shadows.

The program could at least have said a bit more about colour. The word “mustard” did come in once. And they mentioned the herring girls and the fact that they, too, wore ganseys. I was alert to colour-references at that point, but none came.

One of the speakers mentioned “the book” – I wondered which one she meant.

Zite found me a hat-knitting app this morning – and seems to have taken the article down, an hour later. It cost $2.99 and had a simple and obvious name, so a search of the App Shop should find it. I was tempted.

And while we’re on the subject of the iPad, have a look at Flipboard if you haven’t already. It’s free. James introduced me to it, and I had the great pleasure of showing Thomas-the-Elder, barrister and iPad-owner, who needed to be told by his granny because he hadn’t discovered it yet. I still need Zite to cruise the web for me in search of knitting news, but Flipboard is good too.


  1. I listened to that Gansey story via podcast Coast and Country. Quite disappointing. Seemed a bit too much about chilly weather and squeaking snow underfoot, I wanted to hear about yarn and color as well. There was a mention of heather blue, and mustard, as you said but little else. I found Coast and Country a few weeks ago via a link to a horseback riding story. So far I have not been impressed.

  2. Just wanted to send you a Happy New Year message and to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. It gives me a warm feeling to read it with my morning coffee, hearing about your knitting and family and daily trials. Thank you!

  3. It's interesting they didn't mention color because if you check the photos of Ganseyfest on their website, there is lots of color to be seen. I wonder why the omission?

    And happy new year from Beantown!

  4. I went to the Moray Firth Gansey Project site - I agree Gladys Thompson is an odd omission. Funding, as you wouldn't want to seem redundant.

    They do mention that old saw: "fisherman lost at sea identified by his sweater pattern", which might point to a lack of depth of research, overall.

    But anything that protects and preserves knitting seemeth good to me.

  5. To correct myself -- Probing a little deeper into the MF Gansey Project website, I found a bibliography under "Patterns" then under "Further Information" - Gladys appears with several others (Beth Brown-Reinsel among them).

    As to yarn, on the "Competition" tab, in a page headed "Specification for Adult Gansey", the following:

    The knitted swatch or swatches you submit do not have to match the gauge and yarn specifications exactly, but should be in a smooth yarn in a light colour which will enable the stitches to show up clearly. The pattern elements can all be original designs created by you or a mix of your own and traditional designs.

    Your gansey should be designed for a 100cm / 40 inch chest measurement, knitted in 5-ply gansey yarn on 2.75mm needles, at a gauge of 28 stitches and 36 rows to 10cm / 4 inches.

  6. ahh you are back! Happy New Year! I will be ringing it in with a neighbor and eating 12 grapes right after the clock strikes midnight for luck this year (my Mexican grandmother taught me that. She also smudged the house every new year with sage. Gotta look into a source for sage.....)

    I got no knitting done this break. Went home and cooked for an army (over the past few years I have been taking on my mom's cooking for her. She's fine and all, but her arthritis is too bad for all the heavy cooking to be comfortable- thus, I cook.)

  7. =Tamar9:11 AM

    Maybe they didn't realize that ganseys in colors other than dark blue weren't well-reported until recently.

    Happy New Year!

  8. Happy New Year!

    I was at Ganseyfest too, and attended as many of the seminar sessions as I could. There was much talk of colour. Liz Lovick spent a session examining an old photo of a group of gutters wearing ganseys and found all sorts of colours, patterns and lace sections in them. At the archive in the Anstruther fisheries museum there are garments of all colours for men, including some in red and pink. I got the distinct impression from many of the speakers that there was a sense that knitwear researchers have sometimes applied their own artificial constructs onto what makes a 'true' gansey, in a sense creating it by reinforcing certain 'rules' above others - in reality, many of the 'rules' were not quite so hard and fast.

    Ganseyfest was an amazing experience, not just how-to sessions, but a lot about art and social history. It changed my perspective on knitting greatly.

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