Book Review: The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook by Di Gilpin and Sheila Greenwood

Written by Maz from The Knitting Times

In this article I will review the book The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook by Di Gilpin and Sheila Greenwell.

This is a beautiful knitting book which contains 150 stitch patterns and 10 projects for gansey knits.

The book would be of particular interest to knitwear designers and any knitter or craftsperson who is interested in finding out more about gansey knitting.

The book is published by David & Charles and you can purchase it here on Amazon UK (affiliate link).

What is gansey knitting?

Before I go into more details about the The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook, it is useful to give an explanation about what gansey knitting actually is.

According to Wikipedia, A guernsey, or gansey, is a seaman’s knitted woollen sweater, similar to a jersey, which originated in the Channel Island of the same name.

The sweaters were knitted to keep fisherfolk warm and comfortable in the harsh conditions out at sea.

There are certain features of gansey knitting that differs it to other styles of the craft.

Firstly, gansey sweaters are knit seamlessly in the round. They also have a unique tension gauge which makes for a denser fabric, keeping the wearer of the garment warm and cosy.

Traditional gansey knits were worked in a worsted, or aran thickness, wool yarn. On first sight, they may indeed look a little like aran knits, because they contain textured patterns within them. However, the texture of gansey sweaters is constructed from knit and purl stitch patterns rather than cables. You can find pictures of fisherman themed items such as anchors within gansey knitting work, as well as stars, chevrons, hearts and more.

The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook does contain instructions for some cable stitch patterns, however the majority of the stitch patterns involve only the use of knit and purl stitches.

Book Review: The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook

The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook contains some wonderful information about the history of gansey knitting. This is documented in a highly accessible, non boring way, and the book soon moves onto its amazing and extremely useful library of gansey knitting stitch patterns.

The stitch patterns are in chart rather than written form. You will find panels which you can then use in your own designs and repeat as often as needed.

Included within the book are knitting stitch patterns for hearts, anchors, trees, triangles, stars, basketweave, steps, ladders, cables and more. If you are a knitwear designer, this is an essential sourcebook to add to your repertoire of knitting stitch knowledge.

It would also be easy to incorporate the knitted panels into plain designs for blankets, scarves, jumpers etc, to customise and make your knits unique and eye catching.

The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook contains 10 lovely knitting projects for you to make. This gives the book great value, as you can get straight on with knitting these lovely designs.

Here is a list of the stunning knitting patterns/projects that you can find within the pages of The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook:

  1. Buchan Child’s Gainsay
  2. Hudson Sleeveless Slip Over
  3. Caledonia Fingerless Gloves
  4. Nancy Gansey Cowl
  5. North Sea Yoke Sweater
  6. Findhorn Gansey Boot Socks
  7. The Minch Fisherfolk’s Kep
  8. Cardium Gansey Shawl
  9. Sea Biscuit Cardigan
  10. The Calypso Summer Vest

There is a gansey knitting pattern here to please any knitter who loves textured knitwear. The cowl and fingerless gloves would be a great introduction to anyone new to gansey knitting, with the sweaters being very interesting projects for a more experienced crafter.

All in all, The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook is a beautiful and very useful publication. You do need to be comfortable with reading charts, rather than written stitch instructions, to be able to fully use the book, and knitting in the round is also a must if you want to knit a true gansey sweater.

However, the stitch pattern charts are easy to follow with clear keys, and this book is really a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to give gansey knitting a try.

Thank you very much for reading my review of The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook by Di Gilpin and Sheila Greenwell.

The book is published by David & Charles and you can purchase it here on Amazon UK (affiliate link).

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