With that little diversion back into Stripes! territory done with, let’s get back to our Tour coverage! When we left off, our knitter had just completed Stage 3, the establishment of the pattern motifs and seam stitches of the body. Next up, it’s…
Stage 4: Waist Shaping (the descent)
Waist shaping? In a gansey? Yes, we’re going a bit non-traditional here this year, adding a bit of modern, fitted shaping to the traditional gansey. There’ll be more where that came from, too, when we reach the sleeves. But for now, let’s focus on today’s stage. Unlike the mountain stages of our intrepid cyclists, when shaping a waist, it is customary to descend (to a smaller number of stitches) before ascending (back up to the chest measurement). As such, today’s stage covers the descent into the waist. Here you can see how this is achieved through the use of a “waist-shaping panel”:
In this gansey, our knitter is using vertical panels of pattern motifs, separated by narrow columns of garter rib, and has made the panel closest to the column of stitches running down from under the armpit the “waist shaping panel”. The descent into the waist involved some rather tricky combinations of regularly placed decreases and necessary pattern motif modifications. As you may be able to see, the pattern motif used in this panel is intended to evoke the switchbacks of the mountain stages, and it required a bit of careful planning to get them to zig and zag and join together just so in order to fit into the ever smaller number of stitches allotted to that panel as we inched toward the waist.
Here you can see the status of the gansey at the end of Stage 4:
Stage 5 begins with an easy flat section, but quickly ramps up into a massive ascent, ending with the same number of stitches around the needle as we had before beginning today’s descent into the waist. But for that, you’ll have to stay tuned!