I'm trying to tackle #12 on the life list -- knitting a sweater. I wasn't terribly specific on the list, but what I really want is to knit a sweater I am willing to wear in public. I've decided to knit gansey, because hey, why start easy?
Ganseys (also called guernseys) are sweaters that were traditionally knit by the wives/mothers/sisters/daughters of the fishermen of the Channel Islands (most notably Guernsey, hence the name) and worn by said fishermen. They were usually dark blue. I don't know why that color in particular, unless it's because it was the most practical one. These sweaters were all about practicality. They were knit in all in one piece from the bottom up, had a section at the bottom that could be torn out and reworked if it wore out, had gussets under the arms to save wear and tear on sleeve joints (thereby prolonging the life of the sweater), usually had the initials of the wearer knit into it somewhere (I'm thinking that was to ID sweaters and match them back up to owners on washing day--you have 4 men in the family all with similar blue sweaters, you're going to have a hard time telling them apart otherwise) and had some fancy knit/purl designs and simple cables in them. The plainer ones were work sweaters, the fancier ones were for dress. Wikipedia does a much better job of explaining this, if you want to know more.
I got interested in ganseys when my Mom mentioned she was looking for a good, free pattern for one. Being a library employee, I put my little research cap on and started digging around on Ravelry and coming up with some good book titles. I mentioned them to her and suggested she take some of them for a test-drive through interlibrary loan before she decided to buy some. And then I started to ILL them, myself. Borrowed one called "Knitting Ganseys" and after reading it decided that yes, I could probably do this.
Wish me luck. I've been thinking that knitting a sweater in the round might be easier than knitting it in pieces and then sewing it together. I've tried the piece-it-together way before and was disgusted with the results. Let's see if this works better.
Thing is, I can't knit and type at the same time. This is why things are quiet right now. Though I can't use that excuse next month--I'm going to do NaBloPoMo again.
And I just realized, I crossed off making a pie from my list but never wrote it up. So I need to do that. Maybe I can write the post in my head while I'm knitting.
Edited on 10/18/10 to add: Just found this in my drafts. So far the sweater is going well. I've gotten about 1/2 way up, and am now working solely on the back. It looks pretty good so far, if I do say so myself. (And I do...)
As soon as I get home (provided I remember) I'll post my 10/10/10 pictures and at some point this week I'll talk about making the pie. Maybe. Well, the pictures definitely, but I'd rather knit than write right now.
Oh! And the opera was really good. They used this interesting set design, called it "The Machine" -- a bunch of planks that could be raised, lowered, tilted -- with them they got the Rhinemaidens to swim by suspending them on cables, made the gods look like they were flying, made a staircase to Niebelheim, all sorts of things. It was almost like the set was another cast member. It reminded me a little of the way they used a rotating stage in Les Miserables. There are so many more things you can do with a stage like that than a traditional set of flies and curtains.
Now I'm all excited for Die Walküre in May.