le Tour de Gansey, part deux: Stage Three

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Today, while the Tour cyclists are riding their “race of truth” in the time-trial, I figured I’d post about the little “moment of truth” I had to face during:

Stage Three: Plain Area, Seam Stitches, and Definition Ridge

As you might guess from the title of this stage, it’s a rather long one. It began quite well, simply knitting around and around from the joined garter welts to create the plain area, maintaining the two-stitch purled faux-seam up each side:

Stage 3

This gives the gansey just a little bit of structure, defining the seams but still allowing the sweater to be knit in the round. The plain area is exactly what it sounds like: a plain area of knitting below the definition ridge, which marks the edge of the patterned area (which we’ll see in Stage 4).

It was at this definition ridge where I had to face my “moment of truth”. The two rows of purled stitches were fine, but the wheel design that I was so enchanted with? Well:

Stage 3

It got rather muddy. Stitch definition did me in at the definition ridge. Here’s a closeup of the messy wheels:

Stage 3

You can sort of see the tops of the wheels and some of the spokes, if you squint. The problem here, I’m fairly certain, is that when you have a design that contains purled stitches that are aligned vertically, instead of popping out the way a horizontal line of purls would, they sink in (just like in ribbing). Since the sides of the wheels and the middle spokes were vertical, they sank in instead of popping out, and left things looking messy and ill-defined. I decided that I would have to drop this element from my Tour, and make a simpler definition ridge in its place.

Stage 3

I ran my needles through the row of stitches just below my failed definition ridge, and then it was time to rip:

Stage 3

Then I picked myself back up, knit a few more plain rows (since the simpler definition ridge would be narrower than my original plan), and then knit 6 rows of garter stitch, harking back to the garter stitch in the welts:

Stage 3

While I’m disappointed that my wheels did not work out, I’m still very pleased with how the gansey is coming along so far. In the next stage, we’ll be establishing the patterned area, but before I cover that, you can expect to see my Intermediate Sprint post for the knitalong. Stay tuned!

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7 thoughts on “le Tour de Gansey, part deux: Stage Three

  1. mick

    It’s so so pretty. I love the yarn, and it’s coming along so well. Sorry about the wheels, but way to keep your cool! I’d have been cursing up a storm.

  2. Oh no! Sorry to hear about the wheels – I stared for a while until I could see them. I guess it’s not really anything that blocking could have helped either. I’m sending you lucky vibed for the rest of the gansey!

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