Large Grey Blob

I tried a whole bunch of ways to make this post interesting, but the truth is that I am knitting a large grey blog out of large amounts of grey handspun and that there is very little to write about that. The silly little cut on my finger is still present enough to prevent the knitting of lace, so it’s just me and Joe’s gansey, all the time.

I’m knitting it on the bus…


I’m was knitting it on at Joe’s sisters birthday last night…


(Although I did take the travelling sock out of my purse for the occasion of Kelly’s 40th birthday. ) I’m knitting it everywhere that I go, and still…


The thing is a big grey blob.

The traditional gansey usually (but not always) has a plain stockinette bottom which gives way to cables and plain and purl patterns round about the armpits. The idea is that the stockinette knits up quickly (HA) and efficiently (Ok. I’ll give it that) and that the patterning across the chest is both beautiful, interesting and (remember that everything about a gansey has a reason) that the cables and patterns across the chest take up more yarn and provide extra warmth and thickness where it’s most needed. That patterned part will start to be considered 15 inches/ 40 cm up in Joe’s case, and I’m only at the 27 cm mark, and I’m pretty much bored out of my mind.

I know that lots of knitters love plain work. They love it. It’s meditative, it’s simple, it lets their minds wander while the perform brain work or watch tv, their hands chug along and they find the simple straightforward nature of knitting every single stitch for miles and miles and miles really restful and relaxing. I might be able to get into the zone too…except for this.


There are two purl stitches, one at each side of the body. These mark the “seams” of the gansey and mark the spots where the division for the arms will be. They are there, technically, so that the gussets for the arms have a natural line to grow out of, and so that the gansey knitter can be on autopilot while knitting, never having to figure where the arms or gussets fall. (There is the added bonus of the sweater folding a little tidier and taking less storage space.) Me, I’ve discovered another purpose. I believe that these two stitches are there to drive me stark raving mad, since I keep getting into the stockinette zone, then blowing by the purl stitch and discovering 20 stitches later that I’ve knitted it instead of purled it. The first 47 times I did this, I decided to tink back, correct the error and reknit the 20 stitches. Then I got smart, and decided that I would I would rather dust the living room with my tongue than tink back one more time and made the very clever decision to correct the stitch the next time that I came to it.

This would have worked, had I been in touch with the problem of my original lack of intelligence, and not blown by the stitch a second time on the next round. Clearly that won’t work. Other ideas?

a) Do my best but accept that I will periodically correct that line of stitches with a crochet hook and try to be happy.

b) Go to my knitting basket and get a big honking stitch marker that I can put on my knitting to warn me of the purl stitch. (For this to work I would need to be able to accept the intense burning irony of using a stitch marker to warn me of a stitch that is a marker.)

c) Rig some sort of finely tuned electrical device to those two stitches of my knitting. Some sort of technology that would, when I blow by that ridiculous purl stitch for the 484th time, deliver a mild dose of voltage that will be not really dangerous, but corrective. I’m imagining some sort of knitting variation of an invisible fence.

Knit the purl stitch and ZAP.

Choice C, despite it’s complexity is likely my best option, since it stands a greater chance of ultimately correcting my dumbass behaviour on a more permanent level. I can see other knitting uses too. Miss an increase on the 4th row of a sleeve? ZAP.

Forget to cable every six rows? ZAP.

Knit 10 cm past where you were supposed to start the fair isle? ZAP.

How about the worst…You know the ones…the ones where it says “decrease two stitches at the beginning of every right side row for neck until 15 stitches remain” …So you do. You decrease for ages and you’ve got 15 stitches left and you feel pretty good about it and you look for the next instruction, and it says “at the same time” and then, while your heart sinks all the way to your flip flops, it details some stinking thing you were supposed to do while you were doing your decreases. Something like “continue to shape armhole as set”.

That one? Fail to check ahead in the instructions?


This could be really useful.