Saturday, July 4, 2009

Gansey Saga Part 1

Thank you for all the compliments on the mittens in Knitted Gifts. Ann, yes, the model is wearing the mittens front to back in the photo. That is why I deliberately labeled each side in the blog post.

Today I'll start taking you through the process I am using to create my son's gansey. I started by looking through a number of gansey books, and completed ganseys on the web for inspiration. My library contains the books in this photo, as well as some of Alice Starmore's books that contain ganseys. But I didn't look through the Starmore books because I was familiar with them and they weren't the type of design I was interested in. Looking through all these books was a lot of fun.

I decided to recreate a historical gansey for this sweater. One that caught my eye was Matt Cammish's gansey from the Gladys Thompson book. It has a lovely elegant design that is also interesting to knit.

But one of the patterns in the gansey is called 'Betty Martin' and it isn't charted. It is not even written out by itself. Instead it is part of the overall pattern and I would have to chart the whole thing. Here's the pattern as described in the book. You can see 'Betty Martin'. It is on either side of the cable but the photo isn't clear enough for me to re-engineer it. That was still definitely a possibility.
Next, I found this lovely gansey in Knitting From the Netherlands. The fisherman on the left is wearing it and you can see a diagram of it on the right side of the book. I liked this a lot and it was charted. That decided it and I went ahead.

I charted the design to my satisfaction - with a couple of minor modifications and started swatching. I set off the cables with purl sts on either side and changed the center diamond to seed st (it was originally reverse stockinette). I also worked out the ribbing to make it flow into the design. The swatch is done and is washed and dried.
I was playing on Picasa and decided to make a collage of the two sides of the swatch to give you a closer look. This is half the front/back with the center on the left. The triangle is actually half a diamond. I adjusted the chart so the point of the seed st diamon nestles into the mid-point of the two diamonds on the right. This gives me a clean repeat of all the patterns at 26 rows. The seed st diamonds will have a few plain stockinette sts dividing them.

Next up is measuring the swatch and coming up with a pattern. I will add either more of the garter st waves or stockinette if I need more width. The yarn is Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran in the color Parchment. It is a dream to knit with and the swatch feels lovely. I am knitting it a bit tighter than called for to make the sweater last longer and to add more definition to the st patterns.

I am going to try an experiment next weekend from Retreat 2.75. I am going to try blogging from my Blackberry so that I can give you a day-by-day recap. Wish me luck. The gansey saga will continue after that.


vanessa said...

love the swatch, jaya.
what gauge are you getting?

Colleen said...

If you are looking for a challenge, then of course blog from your blackberry...but the hotel has a nice computer room, and I'd let you use my laptop to blog, if you want! You'd have to do online blogging, instead of local software, but it works...