My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Obsession Revisited

As I mentioned in my last post, I went through a gansey-obsessed knitting phase back in the late 1980s, brought on by the Madeline Weston book I acquired. I went all-out: bought the wicked-long wicked sharp dpns and knit at least one gansey from 5-ply guernsey wool in the round with all the gansey features: under-arm gusset, shoulder straps, etc.

I recently started thinking about knitting some of my beloved traditional patterns in non-wool yarns because I am always too warm to wear wool. I remembered that there was a gansey-style sweater in Starmore’s Fishermen’s Sweaters knit from denim yarn: Filey. While I was knitting filey, I started looking for similar patterns using denim yarn and stumbled across this:

This is an old Rowan book (now out of print) called simply Denim, and it has 14 designs by Kim Hargreaves. All the designs are very traditional-looking ganseys. Jackpot!

You can view the 14 designs from this book on Ravelry here.

The book has a few pages of historical information on ganseys, with some great old photos:

And of course color photos of the patterns!

While these are all done in Rowan Denim yarn, they could easily be altered to knit in a yarn that does not shrink.

Back to the project at hand, I’m getting close to the neckline on the back of my Cromarty:

There are a couple of miss-crossed cables in the center panel but by the time I noticed them, I was a good inch beyond that point. It briefly crossed my mind to rip down and fix them, but only briefly. They didn’t bother me enough to do so.

Speaking of not being bothered . . .

Lucy looks like nothing is bothering her, doesn’t she?


  1. Katie Lynn says:

    You could always go back later and duplicate stitch over the miscrossed cables if it really bothers you. Quick fix!

  2. I’m glad you left the miscrossed cables. Good for you! Now I like you even MORE!!!

  3. We all need to learn to channel our inner Lucy. Ahhh. That’s better.

  4. Non-wool gansey – an inspired idea! I’ve always wanted to do a gansey but it is just too warm here in MD to wear one made from wool. I never before thought to do one in another fiber.

  5. That Rowan Denim book is one of my favorite knitting books ever. I have knit 3 patterns from it, one of them twice for DH in two different colors. That is a lot for me. I am going to knit Tree of Life also–I have yarn for that in my stash. I have never used the Rowan Denim yarn, but am seriously considering making Folklore out of it. i have always loved that sweater. I just can’t make up my mind between the off-white and the light denim.

    I used a shrinking cotton that is sadly discontinued–Curl brothers 8/8.

    Funny you mention miscrossed cables. In one of those sweaters for DH I miscrossed a cable. He made me leave it. He thought it added charm. I think yours do too, and they are barely noticeable. I only found one, to say the truth.

  6. Lucy always looks content. Actually, she seems like sweetheart (I know, partly because of the voice you give her, but still.).

  7. Cats sure are luck not to have a care in the world and relax so easily ….may be we should be following there ideas but then the knitting wouldn’t get done.

  8. ohm…. meow!
    turtle´s last blog post ..still alive… really!

  9. I have that Rowan Denim book and I love it. How would you alter a pattern to do it in a non-shrinking yarn? Just adjust for length? I’d love to know as this would make the book much more versatile for me.

  10. I didn’t think you ever made mistakes, but I’m glad they don’t bother you too much. It also makes me feel a little better about my knitting. I love gansey sweaters and haven’t made one yet. I always love your patterns, so I’m hoping you will publish some this year.

  11. It makes me happy that even such an expert knitter sometimes says NO to ripping back and fixing. The Mary sweater in the Rowan book is my favorite.

  12. You know I am working on a cable hoodie and noticed I had mistwisted a cable after I had sewed the shoulder seams and picked up and knitted down the first sleeve. Well I thought and worried and thought some more and desided it was staying just like it was. I think you might appove. It would have been ALOT of frogging. I like that Lucy attitude!! Merry Christmas you two.

  13. What fibers are you considering?

    Do you think silk would work? Cooler in warmer weather, but warmer in cold weather? Although I don’t really envision a ganssey sweater knit in silk; seems a bit refined for what I typically think of as a more rustic garment.

    Nicola: Did your cotton sweater stretch as you wore it? I’ve always shied away from cotton for a heavy sweater out of fear that it would grow down to my knees. Perhaps I need to be bolder?
    Linda´s last blog post ..Thursday Thoughts – A Project for Beginning Knitters

  14. Midnite Baker says:

    Lucy looks very comfortable on her Purr Pad. I’ll tell Sparky that Lucy liked her recommendation. Merry Christmas!!