Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk
As some of you have already discovered, we are very pleased now to be offering 5-ply Guernsey wool (or Gansey, if you prefer) here at Knit Wits and Mary Wright's book, Cornish Guernseys and Knit Frocks.
There is a fascinating history to Gansey knitting which is found along much of England's coastline where fishing was a dominant industry - and the parallels between Cornwall and East Yorkshire are extraordinary. Cornish fishing villages very often had their own patterns over the yoke of the gansey so a fisherman's body washed overboard could be identified by the gansey long after the body was unidentifiable (a bit gruesome but true!). Mary Wright wrote her definitive guide to Cornish Ganseys back in 1979 after having been asked to copy a Guernsey for a Women's Institute display at The Royal Cornwall Show and her book contains 21 of these patterns, along with full instructions on knitting your gansey and a full history of Cornish Gansey knitting.
Ganseys are a real labour of love - knitted on tiny needles in the round (so no sewing up!) - they are knitted in one piece so there are no seams (considered to be the weakest point of a garment). I took a few years to knit mine:
mainly because, in the middle of it, I bought a wool shop!
One of the great things about Gansey construction is that you can try them on whilst you're knitting them - here I am trying to remember where I'd got to before I abandoned my knitting:
and here is the stitch details on my yoke:
I love my Gansey - it's the sweater I always put on when the weather turns really cold and grim and it keeps me warm and cosy and dry - every knitter should definitely have one (or two!).
We sell 5-ply in both 500g cones and 100g balls - however we would always recommend that you knit a Gansey from cones so there are no ends to join in! 100g balls are very useful for smaller projects (hats etc) and repairs.