Sunday, January 12, 2014

Gansey ven·ti·la·tion

Ganseys evolved on board wooden sailing ships. There, everything was wet, or at least damp.

To be useful, ganseys had to provide extraordinary ventilation, and keep the men dry in a world of wet.

The very first thing I noticed about my first real gansey was the way it ventilated. It's first test was downhill skiing. I put it on at the car, and it was warm in the blast of freezing air draining off the mountain. Then, it was a long walk up hill, and we paused as others adjusted their layers because they were sweating, but my gansey just vented to keep me cool.  At the base, they layered up again, but as I cooled, the gansey stopped venting and I was warm.

At lunch, I was first in the beer line as they took their layers off.  After lunch, I was first in the lift line as they layer up again.

It was at that point that the great advantage of a real gansey hit me - a sailor could sleep in his gansey, and tumble out to shorten sail or repair storm damage needing to stop and find other layers of clothing in a dark and storm tossed ship. A good gansey would keep him alive while he worked a few hours in the rigging - even in a storm. Then, in the warmth below decks it vented in ways I had never thought about.

To make it work, the fabric had to be knit very tightly.  Knitting so tightly took special tools, such as a knitting sheath or knitting stick.  Before I put the sweater on, I expected the warmth, I did not expect the lamentation. The ventilation was an  epiphany.

I had knit sweaters. I had worn sweaters.  I did not understand how different the fabric knit with a knitting sheath could be.

Knitting sheath knit sweaters have to be experienced to be believed. They are outside of anything you consider possible. They are out there in that realm of things like "bananas frozen in liquid nitrogen that will drive nails" that common sense says are impossible.



Mary P. said...

You do know the meaning of the word you used -lamentation - don't you?

Aaron said...

Or, I may have just misspelled it and the spell checker not flagged it.

I am good at math, not spelling or languages.