‘Patty Elder taught me well,’ he muttered.

6-young-AlfIt wasn’t only women that knitted Ganseys.

I haven’t mentioned Alf Hildred. A trawlerman, he’d worked out of Great Grimsby & Hull before coming to live & work in Whitby over 50 years ago. He asked a neighbour, Patty Elder, if she’d knit him a Gansey. When she’d said No, he’d gone home to sulk when there was a knock at the door. It was Patty. She said, ‘My hands are gone & I can’t see to knit the dark colours any more but I’ll show you how.’ People remember them sitting knitting on a bench at the bottom of the 199 steps up to the Abbey, him rolling her fags. Over 40 years on he has a couple of sets of 2mm dpns; a cable needle; some kilt pins; 2 patterns in his head and a box of matches.
But no idea what propelled her into making that offer.


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