River Ganseys – Whitby Wyrms

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Whitby Wyrms

What’s not to love about a man with a log pile? To be honest, after several months sawing logs almost daily I’m definitely more into the logs than the (admittedly lovely) model. As someone else did all the hard work sawing them…

I digress.

Snaky cables were not really a Big Thing along the rivers – although I have seen them in photos of ganseys from elsewhere. Here, cables were generally rather straightforward 6 or 8 stitches wide, all oriented one way and never mirrored across the body. They probably were not mirrored for superstitious reasons I go into in the book, if you’re interested!

My other patterns were named after river vessels but I couldn’t resist calling this one Whitby Wyrms. Because Whitby is famous for its wyrm (dragon).

The Whitby Wyrm was a dragonlike serpent that lived in Whitby, according to folklore. Another local legend tells of Saint Hilda turning a plague of snakes into stone. For this gansey, I did the time-honoured gansey thing and “borrowed” a nice zigzag motif from a sock pattern. Gansey knitters have always borrowed motifs from other knitters. It’s tradition. In fact, it is how motifs became so universal across the British Isles. My other inspiration and starting point was an old photo I was shown, which showed a gansey with an allover pattern that used traveling stitches to create a zigzag design.

This zigzag is simpler but more contemporary – it makes a change from the old pattern Marriage Lines.
That is in the grand tradition of gansey knitting of course – see a pattern that resonates: use it.

 

The pattern can be found in ‘River Ganseys’, available here:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/river-ganseys-strikin-tloop-swaving-and-other-yorkshire-knitting-curiosities-revived-from-the-archives

And here:

http://www.cooperativepress.com/river-ganseys-strikin-tloop-swaving-and-other-yorkshire-knitting-curiosities-revived-from-the-archives/

 

 

 

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River Ganseys – Ebiezzer

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Ebiezzer  Image: Cooperative Press

 

In the next week or so, I am putting up images of all the patterns in ‘River Ganseys’ – if you’re knitting one, or planning on knitting one, the Comments here will be a handy place for questions – and the larger images will be helpful to intrepid knitters, I hope.

If you only have a print copy of the book, please do provide proof of purchase to our help desk – support@cooperativepress.zendesk.com – Cooperative Press can gift you an e copy, where the images are full colour – which helps if you’re planning on knitting these as our environmentally-friendly inks and matte paper don’t give you the details as well as full colour!  I will be publishing a photo of each project here, in the next few weeks, as well.

This started life as a child’s gansey pattern. I designed ‘Ebiezzer’ for my younger sons to wear although as you can see from our photo shoot, it works for women as well!  It is a classic ‘Humber Star’ pattern. For more lore and research about this fascinating and unique motif, check out ‘River Ganseys’. It is thought the Humber Star is the only gansey motif in the entire lexicon, that is unique to one area.

Ebiezzer was a vessel on the Ouse, co-owned by my ancestor, Isaac Moses, and his son, William. When Isaac Sr. died in 1820, he left his shares to pay for the education of his grandchildren, and said it could be run by his (feckless?) son William, on condition William paid all port dues and settled bills on time.

William’s own son, Isaac Mosey, born in York in 1819, was to become Master Mariner, working vessels on the river Trent down in the Midlands, and died at sea in 1862. I originally designed this for Isaac Sr’s great-great-great-greatgreat grandsons to wear.

York’s dock records are lost, and I haven’t been able to trace the Ebiezzer or find out what happened to her after Isaac’s death in Cawood, in 1820.

 

The pattern can be found in ‘River Ganseys’, available here:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/river-ganseys-strikin-tloop-swaving-and-other-yorkshire-knitting-curiosities-revived-from-the-archives

And here:

http://www.cooperativepress.com/river-ganseys-strikin-tloop-swaving-and-other-yorkshire-knitting-curiosities-revived-from-the-archives/

 

 

 

River Ganseys – Striking t’loop, Swaving, and other Yorkshire Curiosities

River Ganseys coverFinally, here it is.

River Ganseys – Striking t’loop, Swaving, and other Yorkshire Curiosities Revived From the Archives is out on Ravelry.

Your actual hard copies will hopefully be ready for Rhinebeck (The New York State Sheep & Wool Festival).

The rather wonderful Schoolhouse Press will be stocking the book.  That makes me happy on so many levels. Most especially because Elizabeth Zimmermann was always and always will be my favourite knitting writer.

In River Ganseys I tried to stay with EZ’s philosophy of giving the reader the tools to go out and create, themselves, using the broad principles and motif charts in the book, if they don’t want to knit the patterns. River gansey knitting was always like this anyway; patterns all kept “in the head”, every individual knitter finding their own constellation of motifs and ideas, and going with them.

Those of us in the UK; ask your friendly local yarn shop or trader of choice to get on the Cooperative Press website and order copies in.

There may or may not be copies available at the Bakewell Wool Gathering – depending on how soon the printed copies arrive –  but The Old Hand-Knitters of the Dales is definitely still available from Freyalyn’s Fibres, who will be at Bakewell. We’ll be there too but not with our Great Wheel or Luddites show – just wandering around. It’s weird for me not to be dressed as a Georgian woman, doing these kind of things, these days!

River Ganseys could have been a parochial book by its very nature; concentrating on the history of Yorkshire knitting. But the story that emerged, as I researched, was of a kind of universality – this history is every knitter’s history; a shared history.

One reason I started this blog was so that people would know I was still alive whilst I was working on the book. So I hope you loyal-and-rather-brilliant-if-I-say-it-myself blog readers, will enjoy. Many of the comments, emails and messages on Ravelry sparked by discussion here, helped with developing the book.

Dove Cottage, Grasmere, in the rain. CREDIT: Nathaniel Hunt