Planning a Gansey

I’ve had the book Knitted Ganseys by Beth Brown-Reinsel for such a long time. I have always wanted to design my own gansey and knit it using the guidelines in the book.

In the spirit of “conserve” (my word for 2022) instead of buying yarn, I begrudgingly trawled my stash for something appropriate. This Quince and Co Tern in Sea Star is fingering weight, but close enough to sport, especially with my loose knitting. Since the content is wool and silk, I knit a swatch to see if the stitches would be crisp enough for a gansey, and I think it works. It will be a nice, light, spring gansey. And, yes, I will probably put an anchor on it somewhere. I’m thinking ladders, wedding lines, a tree of life, and an anchor in a quiet spot. As someone who has moved from place to place throughout my life, an anchor is a symbol that is meaningful to me, even though I don’t live a nautical life.

Have you ever wanted to knit a gansey? If so, are there any symbols that are particularly meaningful for you? If you would like to learn more about ganseys, I found this article Ganseys for Dummies on the Knitting Genie site. I especially liked this bit, “The modern word ‘yarn’ comes from the Old Norse ‘garn’ (Old English ‘gearn)’. That initial ‘g’ in Old English was actually pronounced more like a cross between a ‘h’ and a ‘y’. So the ‘gan-sey’ may just be a corruption of ‘yarn-sy’, ie: ‘thing made from yarn’.”

I can’t wait to start knitting on my pink yarnsy. I have some math to do first, though.

19 thoughts on “Planning a Gansey

  1. That’s going to be beautiful and especially meaningful with motifs you’ve picked that mean something to you as well. Have you seen Beth’s updated version of that book? It’s got gorgeous photos in it – might be a fun flip-thru if your library can get a copy. I don’t think there’s much new info in it in terms of the motifs and history. The version you have really is a great primer. Have fun!

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  2. I have wanted to do this too. I also have that book, actually I accidentally bought it twice when the updated version was released awhile back. Maybe this will be the year I was finally get to it. Thanks for the inspiration. I bet yours will be lovely in that yarn.

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  3. The pink is a lovely colour and feels like a fun twist on the “traditional” blue.

    For some reason I feel like I associate you with more warm tones. (Apologies if I’m remembering wrong!) It’s a cool colour for a cool project and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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  4. I fell down a rabbit hole the other day clicking on the link and forgot to comment. Shopping your stash is a brilliant idea and when you have such pretty stashed yarn it seems a waste for it to be hiding in a cupboard or box so I’m looking forward to your spring gansey. The gansey inspired blanket I’m going to make has a repeat of 5 different pattern sections but I thought I’d maybe throw in the odd made up one. Maybe squeeze and anchor on mine too!

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  5. What an ambitious project. It’s going to be lovely. You are very inspiring and although I don’t think I’m ready for a Gansey I would like to knit a sweater. thank you for all the great information.


  6. I’m looking forward to seeing your gansey progress. I need to order yarn for one, as my stash is full of single skeins, but no appropriate sweater quantities. I’m not going to design my own, but a very dear friend (Marilee) is designing one for me.

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