More about Ganseys… and my efforts to start X-mas knitting

I’ve sort of decided that I can only start 2 more projects for myself this year. All other knitted projects that will go on the needles for now will be Christmas or Birthday gift items. Brave, huh? But I have to note that all or most of the knitting other than a few odd pairs of socks have been for ME, me, and MEEEE.

So it’s only fair that I give the selfish knitting a break.  I thought I’d start by cueing up a few projects in Ravelry, and then setting some ‘rough’ deadlines.

However, this doesn’t exclude the two projects I’m currently working on: The Tangled Yoke by Eunny Jang, and my Gansey experiment.

Current status of Tangled Yoke Cardigan 7/7/08

Current status of Tangled Yoke Cardigan 7/7/08

I’ve been learning what I can of the traditional Fisherman’s Gansey and I’ve found the following facts (thanks mostly to the informative forum group on the subject in Ravelry as well as some Internet research). I have to say, after reading through some of these items, I’m starting to really understand the necessity of choosing the right yarn.

Nevertheless, I’m still enjoying knitting the sweater I am working on with the Knit Picks yarn. The progress on the sweater is slow, but I still enjoy seeing the patterns on the sweater slowly form line by line. It’s almost like watching a very slow dot-matrix printer working on a design.

Construction: Traditional Ganseys or Guernseys are knit in the round to the armpits and then knit in separate panels front and back until the shoulders and neck. The arms are usually knit flat then seamed from the cuff to the armpit then sewn on.

Gussets at the arms: most Gansey’s have gussets at the place where the sleeve meets the armhole. This is to allow for more space and ease. The garment couldn’t fit to snugly because the wearer needed a large range of motion to do work. Remember the Gansey is a working-man’s sweater.

Texture/Density of fabric: Gansey/Guernsey’s need to be somewhat tightly knit, as the fabric should be fairly water repellent.  The sweaters were used by sailors and fishermen, so they needed to be somewhat resistant to ocean spray and mist.

Fibers/yarn used: This probably means that you’d want to knit it with a raw’er type of yarn made from wool or animal fibers from animals that live in a wet or misty climate. Hence, merino and superwash yarns are probably not the best choices for traditional Ganseys. A tightly spun 5-ply yarn is the best choice for the traditional garment.


Wikipedia on Guernseys

Flamborough Marine History of Guernseys



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2 responses to “More about Ganseys… and my efforts to start X-mas knitting

  1. That’s really nice of you to plan on spending so much of your knitting effort on Christmas gifts! You are going to have some very happy recipients! Have fun with the cardigan! It looks great!

  2. I spent the past 6 or so months knitting things only for myself.. also, I guess starting now gives me a bit of ‘cushion time’ to get things done.

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