Designing Ganseys: A Three to Five Day Intensive Workshop

Time: 3-5 days

Level:  Intermediate, must be experienced and comfortable working with double pointed needles.

Students will learn how to construct a Gansey, a sweater form prevalent in the last century and early part of this century among the fishermen of the British Isles. A small scale sweater will be knitted using traditional construction techniques including the classic Channel Island Cast-on, split welts, seam stitches, traditional knit/purl patterns, the underarm gusset, shoulder straps with perpendicular joining, picked-up sleeves, and triangular neck gussets. Once the sweater is completed, students will then explore alternative construction methods and apply all the techniques by planning and designing their own garment. This is an intermediate level knitting class. Students must be experienced and comfortable working with double pointed needles.


Supply List

  • One set  of 7″ long (or shorter) four dp needles each, sizes 5 and 7 (3.75 mm and 4.5 mm).
  • One 16″ (40 cm) circular needle size 7 (4.5 mm): ONLY for the longer Design Classes
  • 3.5 oz./100 g plain-textured, solid light-colored worsted weight yarn.
  • Notions:  stitch markers, scissors, cable needle, ruler, magnetic board or sticky notes to aid in reading graphs, tapestry needle, scraps of contrast color yarn, tape measure.
  • Measuring tape, pencils and eraser, calculator
  • Swatches (see below)
  • Several sizes of needles plus 1 skein of yarn to be used in the gansey to be designed, in case more swatching is needed.
  • Optional: A drop –shouldered garment that fits you well, so you can bring that to take measurements from and pattern books for inspiration for the motifs you will choose.  I will also bring a lot of books and large format graph paper.

Homework

A note about the swatches…

If you plan to work with traditional guernsey yarn at 7 sts/inch and have not done so before, be aware that some people at first have difficulty achieving this gauge.  For this reason, it is strongly recommended that a larger swatch (which can be turned into a hat) be worked (see Swatch #1).  If you know you are able to get this gauge, or are working with a different yarn and gauge (say, worsted weight), then you can work smaller swatches (Swatch #2).  However, the larger your swatch, the more accurate your results.

 

Swatch #1: Cast on 140 sts with guernsey yarn and work it in the round on a 16” circular needle.  (This will result in a 20” swatch, approximately.  Work a garter stitch border: 3 rows at both the bottom and top.  Work a minimum of 4” length for each needle size used—at least 2 sizes are suggested– separating the sizes with a right-side purl row, or a change in pattern.  Do the first 4″ in length of your swatch in St st. Then if you like, you can try out a pattern motif in the second 4″ of length.  Bring that to class to figure gauge.

 

Swatch #2:  Work up a Stockinette stitch swatch (flat) by casting on about 5” worth of sts.  Work a garter stitch border: 3 rows at both the bottom and top, 2 sts on each side.  Work a minimum of 4” length for each needle size used—at least 2 sizes are suggested– separating the sizes with a right-side purl row.  Bring that to class to figure gauge.

 

Other  swatches:  Also swatch at least 4 motifs, one being a cable, if desired, to be used in your gansey. Work a garter stitch border in each of these swatches: 3 rows at the bottom and top, 2 sts on each side.  The more you have done before class, the further along in the design process you can go during class.

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