Gansey or Guernsey


Channel Islanders have a knitting tradition stretching back 500 years. Channel Islands’ fishermen sailed across the Atlantic to the Grand Banks in search of cod in Jerseys (I know..).
Guernseys are worn by yachties & gardeners the world over. Their four-square construction with patterning around the shoulder & a split welt is instantly recognisable. On Jersey, each Parish has its own emblem knitted on the chest.

The Cornish call them Knit-frocks.

Norway, Scotland & the Hebrides share historical & cultural links. The Norweigan word for jumper is Ganser.

Gansey/Guernsey – nowadays the 2 words are synonymous. I’ve been told by a Whitby man to pronounce it Garnsey. I’ll go with Gansey. It’s probably not worth unpicking.

Herring migrated annually down the North Sea. Clupea Harengus – the Silver Darlings – formed the backbones of an industry for hundreds of years & most Gansey patterns were found on the backs of the men who hunted them, in Holland as well as the UK. Fishermen followed them from Stornoway to Yarmouth. Teams of herring lassies followed the boats, often staying with local families & knitting when they weren’t gutting & packing.