What on earth am I talking about? A sweater, of course.
You know the sort I’m talking about. A deliciously cabled, blue sweater, perfect for cold days. You might call it an aran sweater, or a jumper. You almost certainly do not call it a ‘knit frock’ like old books do. Whatever you call it – I’m knitting it. I’m going to knit a gansey.
Why? I’m going to the Channel Islands! By some quirk of tourism, there are direct flights from where I live (Geneva, Switzerland, quite close to some excellent ski fields) to Jersey (a place with people who like skiing and demand convenient flights).
The Channel Islands are remote, and easy to romanticise. The deserted beaches! The suffering during the war! The once knitting-based economy! “The lovely pub,” said our friend, who invited us on the trip.
Three days in Jersey does not really warrant knitting a new sweater but why not? Why not take on a challenge and learn a little bit about the place I’m going before I get there?
But first – what is a gansey, guernsey, jersey sweater? First, let’s go with ‘gansey’ because that’s slightly easier to spell, and also not a place. I want to be a little bit careful about appropriating knitting traditions – even if they are all published in books. I’ve done a little research – here’s my quick definition.
A gansey ought to:
Be blue, so it can fade romantically in the sun and rain
Be highly cabled or decorative, all the better to show off my skill as a knitter (and if some of the articles I’ve read are to be believed, my marriageability – pfft)
Have underarm gussets (for freedom of movement when out fishing, of course)
Have drop sleeves and a shoulder strap, so everyone can see you’re wearing a gansey, even from behind
What have I missed?
First things first – blue yarn. Ganseys are traditionally tightly knitted in five-ply yarn – sport weight, say. I’ve chosen a DK because I liked the colour: Drops Big Merino in the romantically named ‘colour 17’. I’ve used it before and like how it’s tightly plied – just like traditional gansey yarn. It’s a little dark, but all the better to fade, I guess.
Let’s start at the beginning, yes? Homemade face masks may not be effective at blocking The Virus. There’s some evidence they might be worse than nothing. And some evidence that homemade face masks help quite a lot. If you’ve seen a better sources than those, please drop them in the comments. Otherwise… maybe don’t? Why […]
There a joke going around: knitters shouldn’t be afraid of quarantine. We’ve been training for this. My big goal for this year was better work life balance. In 2019 it was far off I can’t even tell you. Out of the house at least 11 hours a day, then all I could do was cook […]
Gansey, guernsey, jersey. What on earth am I talking about? A sweater, of course. You know the sort I’m talking about. A deliciously cabled, blue sweater, perfect for cold days. You might call it an aran sweater, or a jumper. You almost certainly do not call it a ‘knit frock’ like old books do. Whatever […]
I’m so excited to share a new free knitting pattern – multimodal split bike mitts. This split mittens pattern is designed with biking in mind. I’ll tell you all about it, but first: Download the free split mittens pattern or view on Ravelry. I got a new bike for my birthday, aren’t I the luckiest […]
I'm a kiwi living in Geneva. Knititng and crochet are just two of my passions! Read more about me. or working with me.