Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A DillyDally Gansey Start!

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Gansey's had an important historical role in coastal communities ... they were woolen sweaters worn by fisherman ...
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... and they were knit by women.  Their story is an amazing tale of survival and their connection to the sea.
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On a lighter note, knitter's hearts everywhere were a flitter when Harry Potter wore one during The Deathly Hallows Part 1!  Things like this just make me giggle!  Yet at the same time ... the fact that these designs have survived ... and that the principles of their style remains appealing ... is a timeless tribute to the women who created them and the men that wore them ... their talent lives on!  Things like this just make my heart sing!

All good things begin with a dream ... and that is true for the "Cordova Gansey Project".  While participating in Wool Week on the Shetland Islands in 2014, our local yarn shop owner had an idea.
Dotty (on the right) introducing our instructor, Beth 
Dotty, proprietor of The Net Loft, had a vision that fits into Cordova's community perfectly!  She has written several wonderful blog posts that explain her intent and the history behind it ... the first chapter begins here ... collectively her posts are a lovely read.  Enjoy!
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Beth's book was first published in 1993 ... I bought and read it then ... it is a wonderful resource.
But even better is learning from the author herself, Beth Brown-Reinsel!  Such a thrill to have her teach, guide and assist us over four days!
There were a  total of 19 women ... most from Cordova ... four from other Alaskan communities ... a wonderful collection of creative energy and ability!
Yep ... I spent four days in knitting heaven surrounded by talented women whom I call friends ... taught by a Knitting Rock Star who wrote the book!  I feel so blessed ... we are all so fortunate!
Beth had us begin with a "sampler" ... that is a quilting term, but it describes what we did perfectly.
We practiced all the skills that are necessary to construct a traditional gansey ...
... in miniature!  What a perfectly genius way to teach the many skills required in just two days.
At the end of the second day, I was one and a half sleeves away from being finished! ;-)  My water bottle loves the new cozy!
Sara's daughter found an immediate use for the miniature gansey she knit!  Too cute!
On day three, we got out our blocked gauge swatch ...
... and began doing the math!  Knitting IS applied math!
We were all working hard ... no two sweaters are alike!
Once the math was done ... we began charting our designs!
All the while, Beth worked with each of us multiple times ... offering both support and guidance as our designs began to take shape.
A lot of trial and error ... and tons of swatching is involved in testing original ideas and concepts.  Dotty has asked that everyone have their sweaters done a year from now.  At that time, Dotty will be sponsoring another Fiber & Friends Event and would like our sweaters to be on display.  Also, Beth will be returning to teach additional classes during that event!  It will be fun for her to see the fruits of her labor!
Tuesday morning I blocked my first swatch ... and today I began another one!  Yep ... the dillydally design winds are still blowing ... too many choices ... so many possibilities ... and loving every moment of it!

Do what you love.  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally
My sweet little Flicka is happy that most of my knitting will now take place here at home ... where she can sit in my lap and properly supervise!

1 comment:

  1. I am in awe of your knitting talent.
    I just knit dishcloths.