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October 7, 2011 / KristenMakes

Grannyfest and a Bulletproof Vest

Well I’m a bit behind in posting all the happenings so I’ll catch up with a few weeks back.

Earlier in the week, Di had invited me to go with her to Inverness last weekend to help out with Ganseyfest (or Grannyfest, as my husband lovingly puts it).  Ganseyfest was a celebration of a project by the Moray Firth Partnership and it aimed to ‘find, record and conserve gansey patterns from around the Moray Firth coast, and pass on the skills to a new generation.’  We went on Friday night and set up the stand. It looked just like Di’s own Bothy studio when we’d finished.


There were so many happy and generous people there!  Di, Mandy (Di’s assistant) & I had a great time chatting, browsing and meeting people.  We got to see Helen of Ripples Hand-Dyed Yarns again (who has also written two posts about Gansyfest).  I had a go at Turkish drop spindle, inspected a menagery of wee ganseys (knitted on a Shima WholeGarment machine, mind you!) and observed an antique sock-knitting machine in use!


Di led a talk about bring Knit into Contemporary Fashion, and she also ran a workshop on Finishing Your Knits. I was lucky enough to sit in on both of them, and even learned a new cast-on that Di has invented.

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We did a fashion show as well, with garments from the Design Collective Scotland, vintage fishermen ganseys, and designs from local knitters as well.  The great thing about being backstage is you are in on all the excitement, but the bad thing is that there is no chance of taking pictures! I did get one photo of the enthusiastic male models in their vintage ganseys:


It was a great weekend, but I got back pretty late and tired on Sunday night.  As recuperation over the next few days I took it upon myself to finish my first project from Ysolda Teague‘s latest book, Little Red in the City.

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I am very blessed in that not only do I have a lot of wonderful knitty friends here in Edinburgh, but I also go to a fab knitting group at Tea Tree Tea Room, in which Ms. Ysolda herself attends (thus the autographed copy above).  The first half of the book is all advice on fit and planning your pattern; the latter half is lovely sweater patterns, in many many size options.  I’ve quite gotten out of the habit of buying pattern books but I made an exception for this because there are so many patterns in it I would really like to knit.


I started with the vest/tank top, Angostura.    I LOVE this design and how it brilliantly incorporates shaping into the lovely cables.  There is no decreases at the sides, they take place hidden within the trellis cables!


I think there was a lot of attention paid to the details, such as how to decrease or cable in the proper direction while still maintaining the integrity of the twisted stitch line. It made the pattern not exactly challenging, but rather, exciting.

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The downside is that my yarn choice was all wrong.  My horizontal gauge was fine but vertically I was way off.  I didn’t mind and figured I would just adjust the pattern to suit my gauge rather than switch needles or yarn again and again until I was on track.  As a result I overcompensated and in trying to avoid it being too long, I made it too short!  I don’t mind the shortened length too much though, I think I’ll just cope.  Additionally, the yarn was pretty stiff.  It is an aran weight wool that I picked up from a bin at uni.  Lovely stuff, but just wrong for this pattern – far too stiff.  While knitting it at knitting group, Ysolda felt it and declared it would be a bullet-proof vest!  Quite right, it is that.  But I’m not about to test out its performance as such.




Leave a Comment
  1. fredericaknits / Oct 7 2011 3:03 pm

    Ooh Angostura! Shame it feels so stiff, but definitely a very pretty layering piece!

  2. Rue / Oct 7 2011 8:43 pm

    Lovely pattern! And very work-appropriate so I’ll have to add that one to my list. I’m pretty sure we all have a bullet-proof vest (or sweater) hidden in the closet somewhere. Was the trouble more with gauge or fiber content? I’m starting to think of a wool-alpaca blend knit up in that pattern

  3. Lizz @ A Good Wardrobe / Oct 7 2011 9:55 pm

    Kristen, I love your vest! I once knit a pair of leg warmers that used cabling to shape the calf and I thought it was so clever. If you ever did end up minding the length, it should be fairly simple to pick up at the bottom and knit a few inches of ribbing.

  4. KristenMakes / Oct 8 2011 5:51 am

    @Rue, I think you are right, a lot of it probably had to do with the fact that it was 100% sheepswool. A bit of alpaca would have given it more softness and flexibility!

  5. KristenMakes / Oct 8 2011 5:51 am

    @Lizz, that is a great idea! I do have plenty of the yarn left so I may just end up doing that. Thanks!

  6. Crafted by Carly / Oct 8 2011 3:23 pm

    It sounds like you had lots of fun at your ‘Grannyfest’, and what a sumptuous stand you and your friend set up! I’d definitely have stopped by!

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