7 February 2011

Chunky Hunky Knitwear - First in line The Gansey

Gansey – The original hunky fisherman.
This hunk has always worked hard for his living, keeping the fishermen warm and dry, allowing easy movement so he can get on with his work and unfortunately sometimes providing ID for those who drowned and whose bodies were washed up on the shore.
The Gansey from www.ganseys.co.uk

 Always in shades of moody dark blue with the grease (lanolin) left in the staple for better protection against cold wet winds, these workaholic sweaters were never washed. Luckily the fishermen had a Sunday best sweater that smelled more eau de sea spray than from the everyday fishy collection.
The sweater is seamless and has the patterns front and back – this allows the sweater to be reversible- a good trick to keep those areas such as the elbows from wearing out so soon.  Another trick was to leave the lower sleeve plain so it could be unravelled and re knitted.
The neck and cuffs were tight to prevent water from seeping in but the actual torso was looser to allow freedom of movement
Although looking good , the intricate stitch patterns were there for a reason – to provide extra insulation from the cold winds, plus the way they were tightly stitched helped the water run off the sweater.  These creative patterns of ropes, diamonds, cables, ladders, herringbones and anchors symbolised the fishermen’s daily lives. The knitters would also add initials or mistakes to indicate their village and sometimes their family which is how they could identify the drowned bodies
Not as popular now, this sweater is hard to find but can be purchased through: www.ganseys.co.uk
And glad to report, the Gansey has relaxed a little with a selection of colours other than navy and no more grease!
This sweater is great for the outdoors due to its warmth, freedom of movement and some water resistance. 
A good chunky for the shorter guy because traditionally the sweater is shorter in the sleeves (so they wouldn’t get in the way when hauling in the catch) and in the torso length, so this style will not swamp you.
And good for the more rounded guy as this chunky is not too bulky.  Go for the dark colours and the vertical patterns such as the Filey, to slim down the torso.

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