Sunday, April 01, 2007

Raising the bar on Dunbar

Well... maybe just lengthening it. Let me explain. My third sweater from Knitting in the Old Way is a gansey which I am calling Dunbar - after a fishing village on the south east tip of the Firth of Forth where my husband used to vacation with his parents when he was young.

We've been there many times - for me it's a little like a Land's End because you are so close to the open sea and the wild whims of the North Atlantic.

Well the eponymous sweater also had\has some turbulence - not finished yet. I measured - allowed for ease and cast on 90%, increased to 100% after the ribbing and began an 11 st. repeat - K 10. P1 x 20 for 220 sts. Of course half way up the main part of the sweater, I realized that an 11 st repeat was really dumb. There was no middle st in the panel of 10 knit sts so how was I going to work an interesting pattern in the second part of the sweater. More thought required here.

I finally decided to expand the P1 to P3 after the first "bar" of reverse stockinette and work a little square of purl sts in the middle of the 8 x 10 squares between the bars of reverse stockinette - seems to have worked so far. The neck had to be re-knit a number of times to have it merge with the main pattern - but most of the slog work has been done - except that it doesn't FIT!! Even though I measured it against other sweaters followed instructions and concentrated 90% of the time.

So now I will have to cut off the bottom band, pick up stitches and knit down a few inches; stretch it like mad in the blocking and cut off his beer rations - well maybe the first two will work - we do need a balance in our lives!

I won't mention several major rip backs for really silly mistakes (and I still have the sleeves to do). Actually I am not complaining - this is just a knitting journey and there are lots of positives. I am knitting with Fiddlesticks Knitting DK Zephyr - a wonderful 50% silk & 50% merino yarn in a fabulous Marine Blue so the more I have to knit the more I have this wonderful yarn slipping through my fingers. And I do get more time to remember "things" like the marinated Halibut we bought at the fishmongers in Dunbar - delicious, the strolls around the harbour, the walks to the ruined castle, the scent of the sea, the fishing boats....

This sweater will probably be an example of a gansey with verticle panels - I had started out with the idea that it would be one of the earlier samples that Pricilla Gibson-Roberts mentions - ganseys with all over knit and purl stitches but that didn't happen. So that means another sweater!

Enjoy Carol


  1. Regarding the fit of your very attractive sweater (really like the square motif at the top) Fiddlesticks Knitting DK-Zephyr seems to soften up quite a bit with washing, and you might be surprised how much extra "give" you can get out of it in the blocking stage.

    Dorothy Siemens

  2. It's a gorgeous sweater. Keep at it, and it will fit, too!