Archive Entries for 2007

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Thursday December 6, 2007

Alison: Caister Guernsey Finished

After 14 months and 2 kilos of yarn, 2 sets of circular needles, and many band-aids, I have finished the Caister Gansey.
Here is the temporary modeled shot - Nigel standing in for my father for the time being.


I have not yet blocked the sweater - and I think it will benefit from a good pressing to even out the texture. Final photos await my Father.

Posted by Alison at 7:36 PM. Category: Ganseys

Wednesday December 5, 2007

Alison: Caister Guernsey gets sleeves

I have finished the knitting of the guernsey body and arms. The next step is to attach the sleeves. The pattern is written to pick up stitches around the armhole and knit down. I decided that the weight of the sweater was too great to easily do this - so I kniitted the sleeves separately. This also gave me a chance to easily adjust the length of the sleeves above the pattern band - I needed to add 4" to the length.

Because I increased the length of the body after I split the front and back, I had a split at the seam. I closed this by picking up the live purls from the fake side seam. I knit these 2 stitches picking up edge stitches from the front and back to close the seam. Its not perfect - but not visible from galloping horse!


To pick up the stitches evenly around the armhole I divided the armhole into eigths.


I then did a 3-needle bind-off on the inside to seam the 2 sets of stitches together.


I'm really pleased with the effect - although it took an entire evening to join one sleeve.


However - one sleeve to go and a few ends to weave in and I'm done!

Posted by Alison at 6:03 PM. Category: Ganseys

Thursday November 22, 2007

Christina: Whitby Gansey - saddle strap

Since coming back from the US, I have been frantically knitting the gansey, so that I can put my saddle shoulder next to the entry about Alison's for comparison. They are quite interesting to see together as the Caister gansey saddle shoulder is created by continuing to knit the shoulder in the same direction as the body to form the saddle. In the Whitby gansey pattern, a saddle strap is inserted, knitting at 90 degrees to the direction of the body knitting. You start to knit from the neck, joining the strap to the front and back shoulder stitches as you go, and finishing at the sleeve top. The stitches at the beginning are cast on with waste wool (mine in red in the photo) so that they can be picked up later when knitting the neck band.


I chose the Whitby pattern expressly because I liked the saddle strap and the way the pattern continues down the sleeve. However, I cannot believe the trouble I had trying to interpret the pattern. Alison and I have been laughing together at my pathetic efforts for some days now, and she has assisted not only in bearing with the numerous phone calls on the subject but also offering practical advice from her own knitting books.
There were two points causing confusion: one - that I did not realise the strap includes a neck gusset, so the stitches you first cast on are initially decreased for the first few rows, and, two - that although I suspected that there were numerous print errors (which there were) I just found it really hard to pick them out.

I'm still a long way from finishing the gansey, as, unlike Alison, I have the sleeves ahead of me, once I complete the shoulders. Now I have sorted this out, I plan to put the gansey aside for the moment and concentrate on Christmas knitting, so I expect to picking it up again in January. I would say that this is the longest project I have had but... Foolish Virgins are always there to haunt me....

Read the extended entry for Generic Saddle Strap instructions:

Generic Saddle Strap instructions:

I had such trouble trying to interpret my pattern - and there is more than one pattern book in similar vein to my own, where much is left to interpretation, and typos are abundant - that I thought I would make a note of some generic instructions to give you the general idea. Once you know, it's easy, but, (as with many things knitwise), explaining is not as simple as showing.
Here goes...

Note that any reference to the number of stitches will be dependent on the tension, as well as the individual pattern. My pattern starts with a base 34sts at the neck edge, which are made up of 20 "core" stitches for my pattern, and 6 edge stitches - 3 at each side of the saddle. The extra 8 stitches are decreased over the first few rows to make the neck gusset.

First take your shoulder stitches and arrange on two separate needles so that the points of the needles are at the neck edge. So, say, we are working on the left shoulder front and left shoulder back (I had 55sts on each needle). Hold them ready so that the left back sts are on the needle on your left and the left front sts are on the needle on your right; it is as if you have just knitted a knit row on the left front, and are about to start a knit row on your left back.

Using two other needles, (I suggest small double-point sock needles), cast on 33 sts in waste wool and knit one row in your gansey wool.

Slip these sts onto your right needle with the other left front sts, with the knit row facing you, and so that the working thread is ready to knit the left hand needle.
Knit one st from the left hand needle and TURN.

Purl across 33sts and then p2tog, (one st is the last of your cast-on strap and the other is one from the left back sts), TURN.

You are now going to continue with some decreasing to shape the neck gusset and some knitting 2 sts together to incorporate the strap into the shoulder stitches. I have colour-coded the gusset shaping in red..

Row 1: (right side) k1, k2tog tbl, k4, {knit 20 "core" sts in your pattern} k4, k2tog, k2tog tbl (one st from the saddle and one from the shoulder sts) TURN
Row 2: P6, {knit 20 "core" sts in your pattern}, p5, p2tog, (one st from the saddle and one from the shoulder sts) TURN
Row 3: k1, k2tog tbl, k3, {knit 20 "core" sts in your pattern} k3, k2tog, k2tog tbl (one st from the saddle and one from the shoulder sts) TURN
Row 4: P5, {knit 20 "core" sts in your pattern}, p4, p2tog, (one st from the saddle and one from the shoulder sts) TURN
Row 5: k1, k2tog tbl, k2, {knit 20 "core" sts in your pattern} k2, k2tog, k2tog tbl (one st from the saddle and one from the shoulder sts) TURN
Row 6: P4, {knit 20 "core" sts in your pattern}, p3, p2tog, (one st from the saddle and one from the shoulder sts) TURN
Row 7: k1, k2tog tbl, k1, {knit 20 "core" sts in your pattern} k1, k2tog, k2tog tbl (one st from the saddle and one from the shoulder sts) TURN
Row 8: P3, {knit 20 "core" sts in your pattern}, p2, p2tog, (one st from the saddle and one from the shoulder sts) TURN

This ends the strap shaping and you have 26 sts left in the strap.

Next row: k3, {knit 20 "core" sts in your pattern} k2, k2tog tbl (one st from the saddle and one from the shoulder sts) TURN
Next row:
P3, {knit 20 "core" sts in your pattern}, p2, p2tog, (one st from the saddle and one from the shoulder sts) TURN

Repeat the last two rows until you have incorporated all the shoulder sts into the saddle strap, and you have reached the head of the sleeve. Leave the saddle strap sts on a stitch holder to pick up later when you knit the sleeve.

Posted by Christina at 8:49 AM. Category: Ganseys

Tuesday October 23, 2007

Christina: Caister Guernsey - saddle shoulder

As I am in California with Alison at the moment I am posting the picture of the saddle shoulder on her guernsey. [She is too busy looking after me to do any blogging..].

The saddle was knitted on to the front sides of the guernsey and then the front and back were cast off together in a three-needle bind off. You can see she has already completed the neck.


It would have been nice to have brought my gansey out here so we could have been united in our knitting for a short period, but I decided that it was too bulky to pack in my luggage.

Posted by Christina at 7:28 PM. Category: Ganseys

Monday October 8, 2007

Alison: Caister Guernsey - Nearing the end

I'm really pressing on with the Caister guernsey. Ive finished the patterning on the body front and back. The next step is to knit the shoulder saddle.


I also need to revisit the sleeves; the pattern calls for 16" sleeves. I knit 18.5" sleeves, but discovered that my father's arms are actually 20.5" long.


I'm also having some concerns that the body will be too short - I need to get my mother to re-measure my father again. If it works out short I will add some more length onto the welt - maybe even re-knit in a different pattern.

To finish on a good note - the front has significantly fewer mistakes than the back....lookit! *


*"Lookit" = California boy-speak

Posted by Alison at 6:59 PM. Category: Ganseys

Tuesday September 18, 2007

Alison: Caister Guernsey - making my mark

As previously mentioned - I planned to knit my father's initials into his sweater. I hope he does not hate it! I wanted to do something rather subtle so planned the size to be small. Here is my chart:


and here is the final result:


I think the intials will be clearer once the sweater is blocked.

Posted by Alison at 7:25 PM. Category: Ganseys

Monday September 17, 2007

Christina: Whitby Gansey - Mothballed

Mothballed - but only temporarily.


Posted by Christina at 11:59 PM. Category: Ganseys

Sunday September 16, 2007

Alison: Christina! Where are you?

I know you were 'waiting for me', and of course you have been seen with another guernsey...( but enquiring minds want to know what you are doing with the Whitby Gansey.

Posted by Alison at 10:58 PM. Category: Ganseys

Alison: Caister Gansey - making a lot of progress

I have been knitting pretty-well full-time on the guernsey. It's amazing how much difference it makes to concentrate on one piece. I also had the benefit of a 3-day teleconference which allowed me to knit the sleeve. I'm really motivated by the progress and keen to move on. I'm knitting on both the body and the sleeves. The sleeves are my 'mindless' knitting as the body does require some concentration and counting.


I've charted out my father's initials to knit into the cuff of the right sleeve. I'm going to make the initials in purls in the stockinette part just above the ribbing.


I re-wrote the pattern to knit the sleeves from the bottom up. The pattern calls for picking up stitches around the arm hole and knitting down, but a) I have not finished the body and wanted to knit the sleeves, and b) I feel that 2 lbs of wool would be somewhat unweildy to be moving around as I turn and knit the sleeves.

Posted by Alison at 10:38 PM. Category: Ganseys

Sunday June 24, 2007

Alison: Houston we have patterning

I've been making good progress on the gurnsey and reached the chest patterns.


I've made a few mistakes so far, I hope not too noticable as I made the same mistake on both the front and the back. In fact, I think this photo is of the error section.

I think the reason that Ive made mistakes, and these are really stupid errors of counting, is that the pattern is terribly confusing. It's really quite unnecessarily confusing as its a pretty basic 16 row repeat, with only 4 actual pattern rows. It would be an ideal pattern for a chart, however the way the pattern is written does not point out the repeat, and each row is written out, with comments like Rows 16-24 repeat rows 12-16, but the instructions for row 15 say repeat row get the idea.


Finally, I got out my notebook and calculator, worked out where I had made the mistakes, and re-wrote the pattern in a row repeat format. I would have charted it but my squared paper was too small for the 175 stitch pattern (!) I know I could have charted the repeats, but the exercise of rewriting the pattern has reinforced the pattern in my mind and it's really much easier now. I also added the markers to aid knitting without counting (essential for knitting while watching television).

Ive got a while before the arm split, but I'm waiting for measurement details from my mother before committing to the length!

Posted by Alison at 7:12 PM. Category: Ganseys

Wednesday June 20, 2007

Alison: Caister Gansey gets interesting

After what seems like an eternity I am finally at the beginning of the patterned section of the guernsey. Playmobile pirate again for scale - but actually its now 34cm long.


The patterned section starts below the arm split, so I guess this is just over half of the body completed. Ive made a concerted effort to knit on this as every opportunity, and despite feeling like I'm making no progress, clearly there has been progress. I usually complete 1-2cm each evening so my slowness in reaching this point is entirely my own lack of effort on this project.

I'm hoping that the cable pattern is more interesting to knit - but actually expect that progress will be even slower from now on. I'm also hoping that I can do something to stop the welt rolling so much - maybe blocking will help.

Posted by Alison at 8:51 PM. Category: Ganseys

Wednesday February 14, 2007

Alison: Caister Gansey - I'm still at it

I'm making progress on the Caister Guernsey but it is sloooooow. Playmobile pirate for scale (and interest - let's face it navy stockinette is not the most exciting knitting).


I knitted on this during all my conference last week so it represents about 12 hours solid knitting. Probably no knitting on this for the next month as my parents will be staying with us and I wont be able to knit in secret.

Posted by Alison at 6:32 PM. Category: Ganseys

Thursday January 4, 2007

Christina: Whitby Gansey - Gusset

I have reached the part where you divide the work for front and back and continue knitting on two needles. Actually, to avoid minor tension changes I shall probably struggle on with the circular needle. In the picture you can see the pattern begin to emerge at the same time as the underarm gusset, which, in this gansey, is made by increasing on each side of the single side-seam purl stitch; you can see the purl stitch continuing through the middle of the gusset.


Posted by Christina at 10:31 AM. Category: Ganseys