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 sentiments 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
One year ago we were frantically knitting Fishwives Shawls & Stoles! That is, myself and my dear friend Wendy were both stealth knitting a pile of shawls and stoles to test all variations of the pattern Fishwives Shoal, discussing shape, style, and yardage for three sizes of three styles of the design, and just having so much fun with the fish tails, splashes & waves.
I knitted while I researched about shoals ….
… and about a not-so-glamorous side of the fishwives work …
… about “April Fish Day” in France….
… getting to know my new dress form …
Discovering one of my favorite bands I’ve ever heard, from the Hebrides, The Lochies!!!
Folks, that design has got to be the highlight of my whole designing experience yet, and you Wen, were with me in spirit, knitting way over there in Ontario Canada. In fact, I would like to give special mention of gratitude to Wendy, who is so very kind and generous to have helped me, tirelessly test knitting just about every one of my designs, and who made great camaraderie while I designed my earlier patterns, up to date with my most recent ones ~~ thank you Wen, thank you friend of friends!
Sweet are the memories of my house during that time, dying yarn, knitting, blocking a big stole on the bed in my loft, and the old captains chair with several of my finished works waiting, unplying a ball of Knit Picks Palette to get a ball of fine laceweight to test pattern with … and I think I am in the mood to finally cast on for an anniversary stole , as I really had enjoyed it so much. Having lost all to the wildfire in the following October, I must have the medium grey stole again! My favorite of the three was the stole, this one…
So I am going to cast on this weekend , while between designs. Will you join me? Fishwives Shoal series can be found HERE, and if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you’ll see them all, from first concept, as it modulated and became such a fishy frolic. See you on the flip-side, with my Grey Stole 2, modeled on Abelene 2!
St Andrews Harbour in Scotland, is an historic fishing harbor inspiring this classic ensemble of socks, mitts & tam, and the namesake for the collection ~~ St Andrews Harbour. Remember my series of fishermen neck gansey posts from last year? … Continue reading
This painting caught my eye last winter, and so when the coast was clear in spring I dove into a lace designing frenzy. For a while I have wanted to make a female counterpart to my Fishermens Neck Gansey, and so here it is finally ~~~ done & dusted! Inspired by the painting, and in the same colorway as the painting …
Fishwives Shoal = shawl + stole. ( Okay, plus a cowl thrown in! ) A play on words, indeed. As many of you have been reading all the fishy posts leading up to this one (especially Shoal or School? will help you get the name of my new design). Fish tails motifs with yarn-overs resembling splashes, and waves in-between create a beautiful lace pattern. Three styles, and three sizes in each.
The Shawl is square, and worn folded diagonally around neck double thick and tucked into corset, or just pin together. This one shown in pink is the small shawl(ette) size, while largest size, with diagonal of 64”, wraps around whole torso as a traditional Scottish hap does, and would also do nicely as a throw.
The Stole is just as a French neck & shoulder wrap, sized from wide scarf to full shoulder wrap.
The Cowl is simplest of the three styles, and knit in-the-round.
But of all the three styles, I think I love most is to wear two of them together!
Well that about wraps up an epic project. I will be laying low for a while, but soon back on another big idea I am sure. ~~ Boat loads of thanks to Wendy from Ontario for her test-knitting and generous help with figuring things out! Thanks Wen! ~~xx
Details on Ravelry pattern page over HERE
I will leave you now with some great old photos of a bygone era of real fishwives in their shawls…
and another cheery post card, one of a Newhaven Fishwife!
I’ve been a knitting fool with these Fishermen Neck Ganseys… in two styles; “St Andrews Harbour” and “Flamborough Cliffs”. I’ve given an armload of them away for the holiday gifts, but seems there are still a sufficient number left to photograph, and show off some new ones, with the most recent addition to complete the colorway of stone harbour at dawn …
The herringbone motif with moss panel or cables, including a simplified easy variation that knits up quick, and of which as of today I have a sample with this little silver darling….
Also finished today, the simple variation of Flamborough Cliffs in some Malabrigo Rios…
I am not sure if I am quite through knitting these, as they seem to be a hit with the men (and women) in our family, but with the new year approaching, it really is time for me to set my sights to a new knitterly horizon. I just am really very smitten with these neck ganseys, and so pleased to have this design as my 2016 finale.
Wishing you all a very happy new year!
Come now fishermen of olden days, lets share a splendid dream together!
Take me in your nets, out to the waves, oh to be unafraid of the elements, exploring harbors of every shore, while facing the bracing melody of the sea!
Introducing St Andrews Harbour, second of the two fishermen neck gansey patterns…
I have been working every minute I possibly can to have this project Fishermens Neck Ganseys ( two patterns in one download ) ready by Christmas, and I am happy to say that it is done & dusted!
St Andrews Harbour is an intrinsic image of the fishing industry of Fife, and the name sake of this design inspired by the Scottish Fleet fisher ganseys of Fife Scotland. The herringbone central motif is the distinctive element this design, in all of the three charts to choose from; moss stitch, or a variety of cables accompanying, as well as a simple & fast variation of each design.
About to take Emma out for a quick Christmas Eve stroll on the knitting trail , with shockingly nothing on my needles presently to knit, hurrying before it gets dark, while contemplating the joy of the holidays, of being finished the big project of fishermen neck ganseys …
and of fishing in Fife …
Come now fishermen of olden days, lets share a splendid dream together! Take me in your nets, out to the waves, oh to be truly unafraid of the elements, exploring harbors of every shore, while facing the bracing raw melody of the sea! —J. Jekel
Colorway: Stone harbor at dawn. Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca & Ultra Alpaca Light. I am diving in again to these blues & greys, into the watery colors, surfacing yet again with another woolly interpretation. Be back soon!
I love the textures of the the fishermens sweaters, or ganseys as they are also known. A couple of weeks ago I thought to try one in a simple cowl using my favorite traditional motif from Flamborough gansey.
I gave a hint of this direction in a recent post Elemental , and now I have knitted four samples of varying shapes of a neck piece I am aptly naming a ‘neck gansey’ !
Flamborough Head is a beautiful section of the Chalk Coast of British Isles, and I spoke of the colors of chalk, of shore grass, of wet sand, and of stone and storm, all captured in the language of yarn.
I must say, after knitting four simple variations, the repeats are quickly memorized, and are thoroughly pleasant to work, evoking visions from a bygone era of strong courageous fishermen in their striking traditional ganseys.
In the near future, I would like to augment this design with more traditional fishermen gansey motifs, in a series, and the pattern will be updated to include the additions (any who purchases pattern will get those updates), but I wanted to get this pattern up and running as soon as possible so that knitters could make them for the holidays.
You can find Fishermens Neck Gansey Pattern on Ravelry HERE … I hope you try one… and happy holiday knitting!
ps. I thought I would mention that I still need to get the neck ganseys photographed modeled, which I intend to do very soon, so watch this space!
My mind has wandered down to the chalk coasts of British Isles, to find the spirit of the sea etched into a landscape assaulted by wind and salt, of the coastal birds, algae stained rocks, crustaceans, seals and shoals of fishes, and dolphins and whales… seeking the blue depths with the promise of life cycling perpetual….to find the masculine and elemental.
It was no surprise that Black Friday found me running into the local yarn shop, searching for colors of wet sand and sea grass and chalky cliffs… and now I’m disappearing into the deep mists of creation for a while, to surface with something sudden & unexpected!