Gaffer's Fisherman Gansey by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Gaffer's Fisherman Gansey

This pattern is available from for $7.99.

From Schoolhouse Press:

Two handsome Guernseys - one from Meg Swansen, one from Elizabeth Zimmermann. Both are knit in the round and feature classic motifs (with charts), underarm gussets, Garter stitch saddles, decorative side seams, short row shaping, and more. Includes steeking instructions, Provisional cast on, short rows and wrapping, and Elizabeth’s Percentage System (EPS). A great go anywhere, do anything sweater!

Print version comes in a 3-hole, archival quality sheet protector.

Republished in 2010, EZ modeled her sweater on a design found in Mary Wright’s book, Cornish Guernseys and Knit Frocks. Kits also available from Schoolhouse Press.

Pattern description from Knitting Workshop: “The typical navy-blue or black jersey of the commercial fishermen was very tightly knitted in strong wool, and was extremely wind-and-weatherproof. Oilskin trousers were worn over them which did not, of course, cover the shoulders - so the latter were executed with as many elaborate patterns as possible to thicken them and make them warmer. The sleeves were rather short to save them from wetness when the lines were dragged in, and were provided with comfortable, seamless gussets -- knitted in one with the body. Sleeves were then knitted up at the armholes worked downwards. It has occurred to us that if the knitters of yore had been proved with our natural, oatmeal-colored, unbleached (water-repellent) wool, they would have used this for their jerseys. SO we frequently make our jerseys with tis wool, as shown in figure 96, and very nice they look, too. ANOTHER good idea is to use a grey-blue wool -- the color of the navy blue jersey after years of sun and salt-water have been at it. SOME of the patterns are very elaborate indeed, even though they are worked in Knit and Purl only. Cables are also frequently used. Even the simple patterns need careful attention and a good light to work by. Somewhere I read that these dark ganseys were only knitted by daylight. GANSEY PATTERNS were native to the villages of the British Isles almost as Tartans were (and sill are) to the Scottish clans. The pattern in figure 96 Gaffer’s Fisherman Gansey was taken from p. 66 of the book CORNISH GUERNSEYS AND KNIT FROCKS. I have adapted it slightly from the authentic method of construction by means of short rows across the back, cut armholes, and the neck and shoulder treatment. The latter is described in detail in the appendix. THESE CHANGES didn’t alter the shape of the sweater; I put myself into the frame of mind of a Cornish knitter with no printed instructions, but WITH a circular needle.”

Materials: Six 4oz skeins of 2-ply Sheepswool, or Fisherman wool, or 2-ply “Homespun”. A 16” and 24” circular needles to give you the above GAUGE.

This pattern may be found in the appendix of Knitting Workshop on pages 163-164. A photo of this gansey may be seen on the dedication page as well as page 129.