Saturday, December 1, 2018

Knitting Ganseys, Revised and Updated

Knitting Ganseys, Revised and Updated is a re-release of a classic and meticulously researched piece of knitting history.  The traditional pullovers of the British Islands, ganseys,  (a corruption of 'Guernsey') were working garments, knitted in the round and seamless.  The shaping was done integrally during the knitting. This included the sleeves and waist, the areas with the most wear, so that they could ingeniously be removed and re-knitted as they wore out, thus saving the body of the sweater from having to be replaced. 

This rebooted version of the original (1993) classic by knitting historian Beth Brown-Reinsel, was released July 31st 2018 by Interweave and F+W Media.  It's 192 pages and available in hardback format.

The logical layout of this book is a huge plus.  It's easy to find thematic content with the index at the back of the book.  For such a meaty, content rich book, it's amazingly readable.  It really is comprehensive, both for history and culture surrounding the creation and use of these garments as well as in-depth instruction in how to recreate one for modern wearers.

The book is arranged in chapters starting with introductory chapters including some definitions, materials and history.  Each of the following chapters introduces a construction element along with a sampler of stitches and alternatives which can be incorporated architect style into a complete garment.  I loved the samplers because they remove the constraints of feeling pressured to have a goal in mind and allow the knitter to experiment and learn and explore.  This is so incredibly important, and the techniques learnt are more easily and permanently retained! 

These elemental chapters lead up to a penultimate chapter which shows how to design and construct an original garment to a desired measurement. Additionally, the author gives 9 step-by-step original design tutorials with very specific directions for knitters who feel more comfortable following a pattern.

This is a very generous book.  The author's warm and supportive teaching style are pleasant and well delivered.  It is also one of the very best books I've ever encountered covering the history and culture of the garment and its use in the coastal communities of Great Britain over the last couple of centuries. 

Sourcing materials can be challenging to some knitters, since the traditional yarns are not widely available. The author has included a good source list of e-tailers who can provide the proper yarns for the best results.

Five stars, classic, beautifully written, has withstood the test of time, and wonderfully useful and educational.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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