Birth of a Gansey

February 22, 2012 8:57 am | by

For everything, there is a beginning.

class project with Beth Brown-Reinsel

In January, I was fortunate enough to take a class with Beth Brown-Reinsel at TNNA in Phoenix.  The class would create a fingerless mitt based on techniques used in gansey sweater knitting.  It was a lot of fun, and while I have completed only one mitt to date, the other WILL happen… someday.

Inspiration.  When I take a class, that’s what I’m looking for.  Those of you who know me understand that I’m a process knitter.  I love the work, the learning.  My class with Beth left me wanting to learn more about traditional knitting, and to share this knowledge with other knitters at the shop.   Knit ‘n Knibble will be offering a class later in the year, but first there’s a lot of work to be done.  Join us as Joan, Martha and I knit our way through our own gansey designs – with the help of Beth’s fabulous book “Kniting Ganseys”.  I’m so excited!

… and so it begins.  The birth of my gansey.

Homework:  I’d rather knit, but I’ve been asked to read the first four chapters of Beth’s book before we meet on Sunday.  Work up a substantial gauge swatch so that my calculations are accurate.

the beginning …the birth of my gansey

The yarn is here!  A traditional guernsey 5ply yarn in a beautiful sea worthy blue.  It came in yesterday and I could hardly wait to start working.

I’m off the sixes!  Joan asked me if I would be knitting with wires, like the traditional women did? Uh… not this time.  The thought of sitting on the sidewalk out front trying to wear down a point to knit with…

not happening.

With my US2 needles in hand I’m ready to begin.  I started with metal needles – it’s my usual preference when working with wool, but about an inch in, I realized that my hands were not going to be happy knitting at this gauge for long (28stsx36rows=4″).  How did those women knit with wires?!!  I pulled out my trusty Hiya Hiya bamboo circs and I’m instantly rewarded.  I’m going to love this fabric.

the swatch

Dense, defined.  Yep… I can see where this would be windproof.  I’m already dreaming of wearing it in Scotland next year!

With my reading and swatch complete, I’m ready for class on Sunday.  Joan is going to walk Martha and I through the planning phase of our sweaters.  I love this part.  The math behind it all.  I’ll bet my old math teachers would be amazed.  I was NOT a “mathy” girl.  I never could figure out what it was good for.  … until knitting!

Stay tuned… this is just the beginning.

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