Edith's Fishermen's 'Gansey's

Monday 14 May 2012

 Last Weekend I went to Scotland to visti my family, and visited  the Portsoy Salmon Bothy where my sister works.  I met a lovely lady called Edith who knitted Fishermen's Guernsey's (fisherman's sweaters/jumpers/jerseys!)
I was totally intrigued- these Guernsey's take about three months to knit, because of all the different stitches and finest needles used. They are knitted on the round with three needles, and no side seams! Very dense and weatherproof.

 Each Guernsey had different patterns depending on the wearer and which town they were from, some had marriage lines. I think the above one is a Portsoy patterns and the one below is Peterhead (could be wrong there)
Traditionally they had shorter arms, as the bottom part of their arms would frequently get wet with sea water, and they were longer than jumpers now, so that their backs wouldn't get cold.
Here's an old picture of the fisherman's wives who knitted them whilst waiting for their husbands to come back from sea, they were knitted with a lot of love.
The also knitted thick long johns, with a piece of cotton stitched in around the top... I'd like a pair of these!

Edith does take on commissions, but not too many as they are a lot of work, but the good news is, she's going to write a book about the history, the stories and tales and the knitting patterns. I'll let you know when it comes out.

For more information about the salmon bothy go to www.salmonbothy.org.uk


  1. that looks so great. Hurray for those knitting ladies (and you!)

  2. I love this! My dog's name is Gansey:)

  3. I heard that the patterns on guernseys were used to identify bodies of fishermen lost at sea. If a body was washed ashore, they would be able to tell which town the man came from by looking at the patterns on his jumper and then they would return his body to his family for a proper burial. All very interesting - will look out for Edith's book! :)