Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hooded Gansey for my nephew

I am not a big fan of the traditional gansey sweater...too many purls, too many plain old knit stitches, just a bit boring.

I did however grow into deep like with this Debbie Bliss design, called "Hooded Guernsey," for a little boy.  The hood made it.  

 I searched out the source, and got a used copy from a seller at Amazon. 

 VERY ironically about 2 weeks later I saw copies for sale on the magazine stand at Publix...ahhh, the lengths they go to sell stuff that won't sell.  Is there a name for that?  "Downmarketing" or some such??

I suppose I could have found a traditional gansey sweater and added a hood but ya know, buying a new-to-me book is just too much fun...really...

Anyway, this is actually nephew D's Christmas gift, less than a month late (just)...yay!  The yarn is completely untraditional....Berocco Touche from stash. 

Here is a little gansey I made for son B when he was tiny, passed down to R and then to nephew D.  This is from a Dale Baby Collection, Nr. 60, knit from Dale Baby Ull.  Multiple rounds through washer and dryer...hope the Berocco stuff holds up this well.  This little gem is now in the well mothballed trunk of knitwear for prospective grandchildren or great nieces/nephews. 

A bit of Gansey history, courtesy of this nice link.  Ganseys, as we know, took their name from the island of Guernsey, one of the channel islands.  The traditional yarn used for ganseys was a high twist  5 ply, which was likely sourced in the neighboring island of Jersey, a center of worsted yarn spinning. Classic Elite used to produce or at least sell under their own name a 5 ply called "Guernsey." The sweaters were fisherman's sweaters, tightly knit, warm, waterproof, and knit with a straight neck so that they could be reversed.  

According to this fellow's very nice blog there are knit/purl pattern combinations typical of one's town or region up and down the coasts of the British Isles.  The isolated communities up and down the coastline were likely better connected by boat then by land, and the fisherman passed the useful knitwear style around (as has happened with countless other knitting traditions...I just love that...) .  Wikipedia also has a nice article as well.

There is so much history here and I have English roots;  I really should knit a real one. Perhaps when I retire...

If you want to look at lovely photos of the fishing villages and life in rural England in the late Victorian and early 20th century, check out the work of Francis Meadown Sutcliff, discovered during the research for today's post!


  1. I wandered over here from Mette's blog - how interesting. Off to check out I've knit one, which I recently turned into a cardigan so I would wear it more often. I'm wearing it right now, in fact!

  2. HI Mary Lou, Thanks for your comment! was great and I do like the idea of turning one in to a card!