Gansey Questions

It’s cold here.

It would appear that fall has come.

This has not caused my roommate to cease with his incessant turning down of the air conditioning. (That really is the only thing that we actively fight over, the temperature of the room. I like it about 70. He likes it to be about 68 — which is cold.)

I wore a sweater today, the first time this fall I’ve slipped into a handknit. Oddly enough it was a Gansey — the only other Gansey I’ve made. (The green one that I made too big and too long with a weird neck, then fixed about one thing on it over the next six months — taking out some of the bottom, steeking it, etc.) Oddly enough, I’m knitting the other Gansey in KW now. And you also have no freaking idea how happy I am that there are only two ganseys in KW, and also that I’m almost done with ANYTHING in that book. It was warm and soft and comforting, like warm tea, and sunshine and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It made me think of my really nice friend who gave  me that yarn. It makes me think of the store I used to work at, where I got the buttons. It makes me think of how dumb I can be, because of the collar and things. It also has an afterthought pocket, which is really, really awesome. (Though this was my first one, and is a touch too small.)

I’m working on the Gansey yes, but not that much, a little, but not that much. I’m devoting most of my knitting time to a little hat that I’m knitting for a friend down the hall. Yes, I’m knitting for a friend, and no, I wasn’t terribly crazy about the idea at first. (Go ahead, say what you will, coughsilviacough.) And yes, I’m now making hats for our entire group of friends here, but they are people I like, and that I really care about, so really it’s not to much to ask for a little bit of knitterly love. (It’s not like they’re getting sweaters or little stuffed toys, but there is a touch of colorwork, just a touch though.)

I’m a little bit indecisive about the Gansey. Namely the gussets. I don’t know if I really should but them in there. I’ve got a lot of reasons for not putting them in there, but I’ve also got a lot of reasons for putting them in there too. Let me just hash out everything that I’ve been thinking about here. (Tell me what you think. I want to know. And I really want someone to tell me what to do.) Okay, on the last Gansey, I put them in, but I really don’t think that they did anything. They are essentially triangle hunks of knitting that are increased from about two stitches to twenty at the armpits, for ease of movement. But I really don’t feel like they make it any easier to move. However I’m not sure that I did them right , which means that they may make it a little easier to use, if you do them right.  (I think you were supposed to increase every third row, and I did every fifth for some reason, which also means that I stopped them early because I felt that they were making the sweater too long, and I was right by the way.) But, I also feel that they are a necessary part of the Gansey tradition and should be knit in the sweaters, however, I’m already blowing off tradition due to the cotton and it being knit at five stitches to the inch, whereas the originals were done at seven or eight to the inch, so what does it really matter? You can see why I’m not sure.

Also, one more thing I’m not sure on. To steek, or not to steek. Again, steeking was how they were historically knit, but I’ve already blown off history. And this is a cotton which makes it harder to steek — I would need a sewing machine for sure. But that’s not that big of a deal, my friend downstairs has a machine that I could borrow — even though it would be a bit of a hassle. (I did bring thread, just saying.) This is a knit and purl pattern though, so you’re really not saving that much purling by knitting it flat, again however, it really would be easier to knit if it were in the round, and I’m sure it would be finished a little bit faster, due to it’s increased portability. Again, I just want someone to make these hard choices for me. (It’s odd that I say that, because one of my biggest frustrations with patterns is that they tell you what to do. I’m a living paradox, what can I say.)



  1. Gussets in sewing patterns are usually diamond shaped and really do work if you can sew them in properly (they are super hard to sew in properly). I would try to make the gussets if you think you’re going to wear the sweater. They really will help with movement and cotton is not the most stretchy of fabrics.

    Steek with the machine! That sounds fun. It’s just three lines of stitches and a swipe of the scissors! Go for it!

    I am currently knitting for someone else (and not liking the idea) so I won’t harangue you for being a hat elf.

    • Okay, I started doing the gussets today. I’m just going to try to do them right this time. I think I’m going to wear it, so that’s that and it really won’t be that hard. (Famous last words, but I haven’t been jack-smacked by the knitting gods for a while, so I think I’m do for one.)

      Deanna (the girl downstairs with the sewing machine) said she’d been wanting to pull it out for a while and that I would motivate her to do so. And I think that being exposed to that amount of knitting will finally convert her, she’s got the bug, I can tell.

      I actually am enjoying the hats. Two of the guy that I’m making them for live down the hall from me and are just like Bert and Ernie. One’s tall, ones short, it’s bizarre. People always think that they are brothers, and I’m really enjoying the idea of them having matching hats.

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