When you’re knitting a gansey, progress is progress. So far, here’s mine on Kathleen Sperling’s Aurguyle sweater published in the first fall 2013 issue of Knitty:
Above, you can see how my diamond panels are coming along. I am becoming obsessed about the day when I can finally block the finished sweater so that the diamonds look really super nice. Knitting ganseys is all about patience.
The cables and step patterns are really nice additions to this pattern, aren’t they?
Knitting a gansey is not for everyone. People who want the satisfaction of quick results won’t want to knit a sweater with finer yarn on size 2 needles.
I am notorious for knitting with finer yarns (I love DK, sock yarns, and lace weight yarns). This is not my first gansey. I made two others about six years ago when I bought Beth Brown-Reinsel’s book Knitting Ganseys, which is still the bible for making and designing these beautiful sweaters.
For me, the benefits of knitting ganseys far outweigh the negative consequence of not getting fast results.
First of all, the finished product is absolutely beautiful. Traditional gansey stitch patterns are fascinating. Quite often, they are simple knit-purl combinations that look intricate and difficult but are actually very simple to make. When you add some cables to a gansey it just brings more eye candy to the garment. The Arguyle sweater proves that.
Another bonus of knitting ganseys is actually the type of yarn used. Buying the finer types gets you more value than the chunkier ones. These kinds of yarns are actually quite easy to find on sale at the end of the season. The wool I’m using for this gansey was practically a steal. I bought it two years ago in Madrid at the El Gato Negro yarn shop on the Plaza Mayor. It was the end of July and the store was selling this yarn at a discount and by the kilo. I bought 2 kilos total in brown and green for about 40 euros. 2 kilos of 100% wool for so little money? It’s a true story. Patience is the key to budget knitting. Anyway, that’s enough yarn to make 2 sweaters and several pairs of socks or a big shawl. I’d say I got the deal of the century. 40 euros = a couple of sweaters + accessories + endless knitting entertainment.
Finally, ganseys are traditionally knit in the round. No seam sewing required.
Knitting a gansey may not be “quick and easy” but for those of us who enjoy the knitting process, they are lots of fun to make and, after a time, a warm pleasure to wear.