It all began with a good book, a book about fishermen and wool sweaters. My husband was next in line for a handknit sweater. He had patiently watched me as I knit shawls, vests, cardigans, hats and mittens for other people. I saw the longing in his eye, that look of “is it my turn yet”. A little more than a year ago, a good friend sent me the book Casting Off by Nicole Dickson, which left me intrigued and inspired by the gansey sweaters of the fishermen. I wanted my husband’s sweater to represent the life we have built together, the family we have raised, the farm that has become home. The gansey was the perfect solution, knit with wool from the very first ewe ever born in our flock.
I embarked on a 15 month journey of learning, designing, and knitting the Grand View Farm Gansey, a sweater for my husband, which I finished knitting Mother’s Day weekend. The gansey is designed with vertical motifs on the body of the sweater. Each motif on the gansey represents our lives together. The central five strand braid represents our family of five. The tree of life, on either side of the center braid, represents our lives together here on this earth as well as our eternal life in heaven. Our 29 years of marriage are signified by the double marriage lines.
This project has challenged me, and stretched my knitting skills beyond what I ever thought possible. Throughout the process I have learned:
- Sometimes it is better to jump in and begin, even when you do not have the full vision of where you are going.
- It is best to not make a mistake on a cable.
- If you do make a mistake on a cable and have to rip back, then it is best to stay calm and focused. Crying really only blurs the problem.
- Gauge does matter and your gauge changes over time.
- You can do just about anything with “You Tube” on your side.
- Blocking solves a host of problems.
(Sharing one last post on my gansey journey with Ginny’s Yarn Along and Nicole’s Keep Calm Craft On. A huge thank you to these two blogs and their readership for encouraging me along my knitting adventure.)
Want to read more posts about my gansey knitting journey?