designing, le tour de gansey part quatre


I’ve been terrible about keeping this blog updated. I actually had big plans for posting in July, but then I lost most of the month to illness and another basement flood and, well, now it’s August. So my thematically-relevant posts for July will just have to be regular old posts for August and c’est la vie.

First up, though, look what I finished!


Well, it’s not quite finished – I still need to attach ribbons to create a tie-closure, but other than that, it’s done. I’ll give it an FO post of its own once I’ve truly finished it. But I wanted to make sure I wrote about the poor wee sweater’s recovery from my overexuberant yarn-tugging incident. It turned out not to be too difficult to pick up stitches from the applied i-cord after I’d ripped back a bit (and taken a couple weeks break from it to rid myself of frustration), and after that, I made sure to use a delicate hand with the yarn, and it was smooth sailing. Then I picked up stitches at the cap sleeves and knit garter cuffs (finished with i-cord again, because y’all, I love i-cord!), and wove in the ends. Only took a couple of days once I got back to it!

So what was it that I was hoping to post about in July? Well, remember how I used to knit a gansey during the Tour de France? (If you don’t, here are the posts from le Tour de Gansey parts une, deux, and trois.) Earlier this summer, I once again had ganseys on the brain:


I was just doodling around on my graph paper, creating little purl motifs inspired by my lovely Madrigal’s initials (her full initials are MAHW). I especially love how “MW” looks the same upside down and rightside up (and I love initialing her clothes for school because of that!), and I love how when you put them together, you can get neat zig-zags and interlocking diamonds and such. So then I thought, I should make her a gansey! I even had the perfect yarn, a cone of Frangipani I’d picked up several years ago:

future gansey?

And I did a bunch of math and sketching:

Plotting a gansey for M

And so the idea for a “Tour de Gansey, part quatre” was born. We actually haven’t watched le Tour in a few years now – we gave up cable and I never felt like paying to watch it. But the gansey-cycling connection must be pretty strong in my brain, because even though I didn’t watch a single second of the Tour this year, any time I worked on M’s gansey, I had images of cycling running through my brain. Crazy!

At this point, I’ve finished the welts and the plain area, and am a couple inches into the patterned area. Here’s what it looks like now:

Madrigal's gansey, in progress

As you can see, I wasn’t content to just have abstract purl-motif versions of M’s initials on this gansey – I also decided to add a seed-stitch “M”!

Seed stitch M

The construction is one I’ve used before, on the short-sleeved gansey I made for myself the last time I participated in the TdF knitalong. Channel Island Cast-On, split overlapping garter welts, with the overlapping stitches carried up into a tiny 2 stitch mini cable that forms the side “seams”:

Side "seams"

Fairly soon, I’ll split that mini-cable open up the middle with increases, and create the underarm gusset.

I’m still not totally sure what I’ll do at the shoulders/neckline. My sketch involves lap shoulders, of the sort you find on infant clothes to accommodate their disproportionately large heads. My darling M has a pretty big noggin (she’s also just plain big, rocking the 90+ percentile on all measurements), and finding shirts that will go over her head now that she’s in toddler sizes (which do not tend to include lap shoulders) is pretty difficult. So it’s a detail I’d like to include – except I’m thinking it might be a bit weird, since (traditionally, at least) ganseys use drop-shoulder construction, and I think having a lap neckline that carries down over her shoulders would be neither functional nor attractive. But I’ve got time to think about it.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. I really wanted to post along all through July with progress on the wee gansey, but life had other ideas. Oh, life. We’re still struggling mightily to figure out a way to balance everything on our plates especially given the minimal resources we have. I’d like to write a bit more about life stuff that isn’t (even vaguely) knitting related, actually (speaking of which, if you’d like to see a typical “day in the life”, I did a Flickr project a few weeks back, which you can find here), but it always feels a bit weird to do that here, because this is my knitting blog, you know? And if I ever do get back to designing (oh, how I wish to! It’s literally painful to have so many ideas in my head that I can’t play around with and follow up on…and of course I still have a small backlog of already knit samples to write up, too!), it seems like I should keep this space “professional” – but maybe I shouldn’t care. I’m still figuring out what I want this space to be, is my point. There might be more family/life/etc posts coming your way, or maybe not.

But there will definitely be more gansey posts. That much is certain!

4 thoughts on “recovering”

  1. Love the new gansey and the sweet little cache-coeur! I tried lap shoulders on a baby sweater a few years ago and wasn’t at all pleased with them. It was just too much bulk for the scale, and little people barely have shoulders as it is… Anyway, I’ve been monkeying with a faux-lap that would give that look and also button open on one side to accommodate those big heads. But I think you’ll find a boat neck will work admirably with the form of the gansey and the size of the noggin.

    1. Aw, thank you! Yeah, bulk is another concern I have with hand knit lap-shoulders. I’m trying to avoid buttons at the neck/shoulders, because I’m aiming for clothes that encourage self-dressing (we’re very Montessori in this household) and I don’t think M is quite ready to handle buttons in locations that she can’t see very well. But I think you’re right that a boatneck would work beautifully!



    1. Ha, you’re right, it IS my blog! I don’t know why I worry about these things. It’s always great to see posts from you, too, though I’m a super-lousy commenter these days. I *am* still reading, though!!



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