Originating possibly on the Aran Islands, spreading wide through Europe, wherever the men were fishermen by trade their wives and sweethearts knit for them the iconic Fishermen Sweaters to weather the harsh conditions at sea. I find myself once again revisiting the elemental seascape through knitting, to stroll the sands of my creative imagination, collecting bits of sentimental flotsam washed ashore, and above all, inspired from these iconic Fishermen Sweaters, I am working my needles to produce at long last, my own version. Just off the needles and blocking to dry, is the first of my own Fishy Thing . . .
I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write a post for weeks, as I’ve been really busy and distracted with things going on. Yes, of course, understandably, mostly now its raising Juno the puppy, but also working out of doors mowing wild grass, nervous as a rabbit in a race against the fire season, hoping to be prepared for the hot drying days ahead. Also I’ve been working on a new pattern that I started to write a couple of years ago when living in the tiny house, and then for some reason that I can’t remember, I put it down and did not follow through. In fact it has been very difficult for me to design anything in the last year, oppressed by worry, but now I feel lifted a bit, and able to focus on the intensive process required to write and knit several prototypes for a new pattern, all the while hunkering indoors being a puppy mommy for the remaining weeks of Spring, and all through the coming months of Summer. Relieved am I to have finally got an idea going again, and so I am putting my stashed yarns to work making samples, one after another, until one day in late summer, I hope to put it all together for Autumn. Until then, I will fill the time with stitches and puppy walks and my usual string of themed posts to entertain myself, wandering through research wormholes on Wikipedia, and of course anybody else who enjoys reading, watching, and listening to what I post, while I slowly but surely head to the finish. Ok! Revisiting of the sea, again, a theme which continues to pull me out with the undertow, and I’ll not put up any resistance. . . how about I kick off with a sea shanty to get in the mood?
Oh, and I am calling attention to all knitters who regularly read this space who might want to take part in knitting this upcoming design with me in the secret test-knitting phase, all in good fun. If you are feeling up to it, please message me over at Ravelry soon, and I’ll fill you in and you can decide if it is something you’re itching to knit. Thanks to all and I hope all are doing well, if not much better, on this flipside of a very dreary fifteen months which has been unbearable but is now nearly past. xx
A poignant pause in a short series of sea fishing posts, reeling in sentiment for those fishermen who fight the sea, in love with the sea,
yet inevitably helpless in the incidences where the water, weather, and sea creatures dominate with harsh indifference.
” Humanity is always fallible, through every man individually or a crew collectively, (there is) a break in the chain of watch-keeping or good navigation, and there comes tragedy. Going to sea against those elements to take home that resource can never remain safe ” — as heard in previous post from Unknown Fisherman.
Fishermen Fact: In the face of tragedy, the fishermen gansey (guernsey) or sweater, its varied patterns on brave & broad shouldered men such as these, is a marker of identity…
“Each gansey has a unique pattern which varied from village to village and from family to family. If there was a shipwreck or accident the bodies washed up on the shore could be identified by their gansey as being from a particular village and family. In this way the fisherman could be returned to their family for burial”… read more
The sea is a dangerous place, and fishermen have had to work within its raw and elemental nature for as long as they’ve taken harvest from it, from centuries past to present. The sporting Fishermens Gansey as we know today, has survived its original purpose of rugged & essential gear, knit by mothers, wives, and sweethearts, to keep their fishermen warm and safe against the elements as well as they could…
But even so, the fishermens gansey has come into the spotlight of fashion as a genuinely attractive style of knitwear, and knitters have appreciated the cables, moss stitch and purl textures for generations already. As I have also been smitten by those timeless textures, at last I am bringing the spirit of the sea into a small collection of rugged and sea worthy accessories that I’ve been working on this winter like a team of fisher lassies …
Alive O’ !
A fresh catch ready to be sorted & groomed for photos (and with pattern forthcoming), saluting the iconic woollen fishermen gansey, in an assortment of knitteds that every fisherman or fisherwoman, should never be without !