Grey, grey, and oh! red!

Ok, so to start out, here’s my Saturday Sky photo:

Somehow, it’s capable of looking like that all morning, and NOT RAINING. I don’t understand. Where I’m from, a sky like that means “Close your windows, stay off the portable phone, and expect a good thunder-boomer.”
Not here. It doesn’t thunder-boom here. Can you believe it? No thunderstorms in Alaska. Or so I’ve been told by people who have lived here long enough to have a respectable say on the matter. It’s one of the few things I miss.

In other, non-weather related news, I’ve discovered the Addiction of Joining Swaps. I found a website called Swap-Bot and signed up for a Knitting Book Swap, a Knitting Magazine Swap, and the Hot Socks Swap. The first two are very simple, fast “mail out an unwanted book/magazine, get one in return.” Hot Socks is a swap for sock yarn and the makings for a hot beverage (coffee, tea, or cocoa.) I’m up for that! Sign-ups are open until 21 October, go sign up!
I also signed up for a Spinning Roving Swap I found out about at Keyboard Biologist’s blog. I send out 4 oz. of roving along with a handspun-friendly pattern, and get the same in return. I’m really digging this swap thing. Almost all the wool and books and needles I get mail-order, and spending immense amounts of time researching on the internet and paying exorbitant amounts of postage is gettin old. It will be nice to try new things, and to send stuff from Alaska (cause who wouldn’t want Moose Swizzle Sticks? Yes, they are what they look like, well shellacked.) (Seriously, in case any potential pals are reading this, I won’t send you those.)

So, I promised you a Gansey Story a few posts ago.
Some time ago (last year) I was having a rare adults-only dinner at a local restaurant with my husband, who is generally a Non-Sweater Guy. He prefers hoodies when the weather permits, synthetic high-tech gear when it doesn’t. That’s okay with me. Much as I like the idea of wrapping my man in thousands of love-filled woolen stitches, it is merely an idea which is easily put aside in favor of lovely (more colorful) knitting for myself. Don’t feel sorry for him, he’s got socks and hats out the wazoo.
So, we’re having dinner, and Andy notices a man at a table across the room is wearing what he (correctly) identifies as a Fisherman Sweater. Conversation ensues (greatly paraphrased):

A: That’s a Fisherman Sweater, right? Do you think it’s handknit?
Me, craning to get a good look: Mmm, probably not. It’s a nice commercial one though.
A: You could knit one like that though?
Me: You mean, could I do it, or can it be done? Cause if you’re asking me to knit you a sweater… (holding my breath, excitement mounting…)
A: Yeah, I’d like one like that. Or kind of like that. Would you?

I was overjoyed, and he was probably regretting the offer to let me buy yarn request as I launched into a conversation monologue about the history of “Fisherman Sweaters,” construction techniques, cables, the virtues of drop-shoulder versus raglan sleeves, ribbing, and various necklines.
In the end he decided to leave it all up to me, and promised to wear it as long as it 1) fit well and 2) was grey and “not too feminine.” (He keeps trying to convince me to knit him a hoodie, but I’m not too hot on the idea.)

I did enormous amounts of enjoyable research and decided to make him a Traditional Gansey (stockingette to the ampits, manly-patterned chest.) He approved.
I bought yarn from Schoolhouse Press, some lovely two-ply wool from Bartlett Yarns, which Andy immediately dubbed “Man Wool” for its burly feel and lanolin content. (He even exhibited some yarn sniffing behavior. I’ve got a good one, I’m tellin’ ya.) I wound up a ball, swatched, got my 5 stitches to the inch, did some math, and cast on 224 stitches for a 45″ sweater.

I frogged 5 inches of k2p2 ribbing and stockingette two days later.

My swatch-gauge was fine, but I was getting 4.5 stitches per inch in the round instead of 5, thus knitting a monsterously large 50″ sweater.
Non-plussed, I cast on the correct number and knit another 4 or 5 inches before I realized I’d twisted before joining in the round. I’d never done that before, had scoffed at the cautionary directions at the beginning of most projects, and yet…

I decided the Man Gansey and I needed a short break from each other. I started a huge lace shawl, and when I was done with that, I knit some mittens. And socks. A few hats. The gansey kept migrating to the south of my Works in Progress list.

I picked it up and cast on again a few weeks ago, because Andy was reading over my shoulder as I read the Yarn Harlot’s blog:

A: So she’s knitting a “gansey”, huh? Whatever happened to my sweater?
A:How come the Yarn Harlot’s husband gets a sweater and I don’t?

I frogged the evening of the day I cast on because I’d twisted when joining in the round again!

And here is that dratted gansey now:

I’ll get to it, I have to; Andy bribed me with some new Addi Turbo needles. (He’s kind enough to chalk the Gansey Curse up to cheap needles.)

In the meantime, I’ve started this:

It’s Salina from Rowan’s Vintage Knits book, which I’ve wanted to make for a long time. I’m changing the pattern to knit in the round, and I’m knitting it in Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, colored Black Cherry Heather (I know it’s a “worsted” yarn, I’m getting 5.75 st./inch on US size 5 needles. It works. Don’t jinx me.)
I really will get to the gansey soon, someone remember to bug me about it in the comments every now and then.

And, hey, what do you know? It’s started raining.


One thought on “Grey, grey, and oh! red!

  1. Thanks for the suggestion on my blog. I feel much better now because several people have told me i need to downsize. You are my new best friend.I will be checking your blog regularly from now on, it’s very entertaining.By the way, how’s the gansey coming? You told us to ask!

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