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Yarn Along: Irish Fishermen, Ganseys, and Shepherds

posted in: Knitting, Uncategorized | 3
New Books to Read

I have always wanted to design a VT Grand View Farm Gansey using stitches and patterns that would tell our family’s story. It would not be a story of ocean waves, sea breezes, and fishing dinghies, but rather a story of farming, mountain tops, and shepherding sheep. I envisioned a sweater, knit with the wool from our own sheep, to keep me warm all winter while doing chores. I actually had a local knitwear artist design a Guernsey pattern for me to sell along with our yarn, a couple of years ago. The sweater is beautiful, but it just did not satisfy that desire of mine to come up with my own design.

My good friend, from The Sachem Farmhouse in CT, sent me a book to read a couple weeks ago in the mail, Casting Off by Nicole Dickson. “It’s an easy read about knitting, healing, and love,” she said in the email she sent telling me that the book was on its way. The book tells the story of a fishing community in Ireland. It tells of their love of the sea, and how their lives intertwine with the rhythms of the waves, weather, and fish. It tells of love, it tells of tragedy, it tells of healing. The main character, Rebecca, visits the island to write a book about the history of the Irish fisherman’s Gansey sweaters. Through the process, she discovers the power of forgiving, and a place to call home.

Reading Dickson’s book has reignited my interest in the Gansey sweater. I found myself standing in the knitting isle at Barnes and Noble bookstore over the weekend. I gravitated towards a book called, Super Stitches Knitting by Karen Hemingway. As I flipped through the pages, studying the 300 illustrated stitches and patterns, I began to formulate my Gansey. By the time I left the store, the book was mine. I tucked it under my arm and dreamed of Gansey sweaters the whole way home. Maybe, just maybe, 2014 will be the year of the Grand View Farm Gansey.

This blog post inspired by Yarn Along!


3 Responses

  1. Leslie

    I really enjoyed ‘Casting Off’ I’ll forward to see YOUR gansey.

  2. Karen Sue

    I liked this book when I read it, too. How special each and every sweater was.

  3. Undomiel

    Ooh, knit me one! Can I get my name on the waiting list before anyone else does?