Wow, we have had a busy time here this week at The Cornish Gansey Company with kits being sent as far afield as Holland and New Jersey. Thank you so much for all your help and encouraging words. Its been long old push but a dream come true for me. You'll be pleased to know, there is much more stacked up in the pipeline and many exciting times ahead so do keep checking back for news and new additions to the shop plus more tutorials.
For now, it's time to introduce you to two fantastic designers who I am sure you already know as their reputations procede them as both have illustrious careers in knitwear design with a special focus on heritage knitting.
Liz Lovick of Northern Lace together with Rita Taylor of Heritage Handknits have both come on board ship and are supplying our shop with their own particular gansey patterns, kits, book and dvds. Each has a specific interest in gansey knitting and have designed both traditional and contemporary patterns inspired by motifs and stitch patterns from Norfolk, the northern isles of Scotland and more. This provides a perfect balance to my own specialised interest in the ganseys of Cornwall and Devon. In time, I would love to make The Cornish Gansey Company a hub for all region gansey education, design, information, tutorials plus of course, knitting kits.
On my own needles this week are my new junior gansey design based on the William Stephens design from Mary Wright's Cornish Guernseys and Knit Frocks book. William Stephens was a cornish lighthouse keeper who knit ganseys all his life, presumably to while away the long hours of solitude spent on his watch. I have worked up a junior version in the gorgeous Olive shade of guernsey yarn available from the shop. A child's gansey can be knit from one single cone which for such a superior quality garment is an absolute bargain. I will soon have two cute junior gansey kits up in the shop for you to purchase with sizes from 3- 11 years so keep an eye out, although I will give a shout out in all the usual places when it's up and ready.
Also on the needles is Burnside, one of Liz Lovicks's patterns. I am knitting it up in the Aran shade and figure it will go with all my vintage dresses worn with an accent belt and thick tights. I am a dress wearer and this gorgeous sleeveless vest pattern will mean I can get away with wearing some of the thinner ones even when the weather is at it's chilliest.
Coming up, is a visit to Barnstaple's North Devon Museum in early August where they have received grant funding for their Fishtival exhibition featuring a reprinted booklet, Prangs, tacks and frocks which describes the social history behind the 'Appledore Frock'. I believe that Prangs were the local term for Knitting sticks, tacks for the knitting needles and frocks for the ganseys. For those who are unaware of the Appledore gansey, it is a plain sweater with only a moss stitch banding on the shoulder straps. The shoulders were joined by a three needle cast off on the wrong side of the jersey as opposed to the cornish ones where the join is on the outer side. There is some talk of this gansey being knitted with 4ply yarn but the museum are now producing kits with 5ply guernsey yarn, so I will be interested in learning more on my visit. I will be reviewing the event here on the site for those too far away for a visit but if you can, I urge you to take a look for yourselves as it sounds fascinating and what's more, it's a FREE event. As an add on, it looks likely that we will also be stocking North Devon museum's Appledore Gansey Kit here in the future so it could be another one to add to your list.
It's school holidays here in the UK and right on cue, the heavens have opened and the rain is torrential and of the non-stopping variety. With an eight year old at home, it looks like we will be staying in and crafting away the holidays which suits me fine although sun is always preferable. I will also be taking time to read through Liz Lovick's amazing dvd, Knitting Ganseys. If you are new to gansey knitting or are interested in the social history surrounding these jerseys then this is the dvd for you. It contains an incredible amount of research, photos and historical reference plus a guide to knitting the gansey and a selection of yummy patterns too. It's an absolute steal for £15 and definitely one to have in your knitters library.Whatever you do this holiday, keep on knitting and do come back and visit soon.
Tina B xx