Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I have a special interest in gansey patterns, and indeed, that's the focus of the book I'm working on. I won't be offering up any traditional ganseys; there are plenty of beautiful versions of those from the likes of Beth Brown-Reinsel and Alice Starmore. (FYI, I had the privilege of taking classes with both these master knitters/designers during my time in Washington, DC.) I'm more interested in playing with gansey patterns, adapting them to modern silhouettes and knitters not necessarily interested in working at a firm gauge in fine 5-ply gansey wool.
This week I'm asking the question, "What if I take traditional gansey textured stitch charts and re-interpret them as colour patterns?" I happened to have some of Quince's "Chickadee" hanging around in two colours, so yesterday I played around with this chart,

using it as a colour chart for stranded knitting, instead of a chart of knit and purl stitches.

OK, some textural stuff got thrown in. I couldn't resist.

I made the swatch on a 16-inch circular, with a steek, so I can cut it later on (also because it's so much simpler to work this sort of thing when the right side is always facing).

I soaked the swatch in water, then laid it out and, as anticipated, the top bit in purl diamonds ballooned out. I'll need to do either a needle adjustment or a stitch count adjustment to maintain width when this is turned into a sweater.
Ignore the insipid colours you see in this swatch. This design calls for rich colourwork, and I've already ordered a selection of colours. All this swatching is saving me time when they arrive.
Do you notice the similarity to Scandinavian stitches in my swatch? It's no secret that knitting patterns all around the North Sea influenced each other. So, the cardigan I'm aiming for is quite likely to have a Scandinavian look.

Something like this...