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Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys, and Arans: Fishermen's Sweaters from the British Isles Paperback – June 1, 1971
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this in one of my absolute favorite knitting books--only EZ's (elizabeth zimmerman, for those knitters from another galaxy)_knitting without tears_ equals it in my heart. and if a knitter follows the advice and instructions in _knitting without tears_ and becomes a thinking knitter, this book is a delicious piece of cake.
yes, the gauge is british, from the 50s and earlier--before the idea that 'it takes too long' or 'it's too difficult' to use fine weight yarns. yes, you have to know something about knitting cables and purl brocade. but none of that is difficult. i used this book to design the third and fourth garments i knitted, and it has served as inspiration for more.
even if a knitter never actually uses the patterns, the historical information, social and textile, is wonderful.
While I understood the practical purpose for heavy, dense, well-constructed garments for fishermen, I still always believed Alice Starmore held her needles with a death grip. The gauge is always so squeezeyourbumtogetherastightlyasyoucanwhilstwalking tight, it isn't always possible for the average knitter to do. Lots of complaints out there about the "impossibility" of getting the Starmore gauge.
These sweaters are seriously tightly knitted, something like 8 - 9 stitches to the inch on almost invisibly thin needles so if you don't like super small gauges, then you probably won't have fun making random stabs with your needle at the stitches on the other needle. Stick with DK or worsted and size 7s.
I am a loose knitter and have always been uncomfortable with larger sized gauges so I think I have found a home with these teeny, tiny made for pixies gauges.
All that said, the book definitely isn't what *Americans* are accustomed to when it comes to instructions for knitting. I understand that the old European patterns, particularly the Norwegian old school fair isle patterns, simply gave a rough suggestion of how to get the end result. It is presumed (think Dale of Norway) that Norwegian construction, stranding and steeking were learned before walking and talking.
Most American patterns seriously handhold the knitters with step by step instructions for everything from ribbing to finishing.
I'm enthralled and determined to design my own but be warned: it's more like the old Harmony Stitch Guides than a pattern book.
The history, storytelling and old photographs are more than worth the price of the book.
As a history book it is brilliant, alive and sentimental.
It is also a wonderful knitting book except, I do believe you need to be a very experienced knitter to attempt these patterns and the language used in the instructions may be a little confusing.
I consider myself to be a very good knitter but I think this book requires another "picture" book to give more visual help to those of us who need to "see" rather than read instructions.
A wonderful read all the same.
Thompson's book on knitting patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys, & Arans is the result of hundreds of hours of research around the coasts of the British Isles, where each seaport had its own traditional sweater pattern. While this was useful in recognizing drowned sailors, it also is part of the British Folk tradition, which is rapidly vanishing in the face of modern day pursuits, where the young have no time for the old ways. This book preserves many of the traditional patterns of knitting sweaters, called Guernseys, Jerseys, and Arans for the islands on which they originated, so modern knitters can make sweaters in the old patterns, before they are lost forever. A great pattern book for the dedicated knitter, it also preserves these traditional patterns for the time when these sweaters are no longer commonly worn, and stands as an archaeological work of preservation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There were many options for the paperback and I was a litlle doubtful on the quality of a used book. But it was intact and perfect and very helpful. I just love it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Much more than just a knitting book. A wealth of historic information and photos. Very interesting indeed.Published 5 months ago by Tater
I came across this book when I was looking up books on Aran knitting. I was actually not aware of this style of knitting. Read morePublished 5 months ago by A. A. U.
This book is a disaster. I hated it. When you think of Aran sweaters, you think of really nice heavy wool sweaters with intricate Celtic patterns. Read morePublished 6 months ago by jes1776
a great classic filled with great patterns and good storytellingPublished 7 months ago by haldanfarm
love the stories of the history of guernseys, the patterns aren't so easy to followPublished 10 months ago by Lois