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Balerno

Knitted in Frangipani navy yarn.

This is a gansey I knitted for my Uncle Johnny. He lives in Balerno, near Edinburgh, so I wanted the pattern to have some Scottish associations, but he also requested something connected with the Plymouth/ Portsmouth area, where he used to return from foreign service. As many of the Devon and Cornwall and Scottish fleet patterns are similar, and chevrons and open and closed diamonds frequently recur, in the end I opted for a variant on Jim Curtis of Polperro in Cornwall’s gansey, recorded in many of the books (such as Rae Compton, pp.36-7). Well, I say variant – I took the basic pattern and added cables, as I like to do whenever possible.

 

2 comments to Balerno

  • Evelyn Stone

    Thank you, Gordon for your discussion here. I am wanting to knit a pair of socks in a Gansey representative of traditional patterns from Devon specifically Dartmouth and haven’t found anything that specific. My paternal great, great, great (×#?) grandparents were the generation of my kin who crossed the pond to near New Haven Connecticut. They were likely from Devon and may have made the great journey from Dartmouth, so I would like to knit myself some socks to honor their passage to the US.

    If there is anything else you can tell me or suggest that might help me choose/drafts a pattern, I would be most grateful to hear from you.

    Thank you sooo much for sharing your love of Ganseys via this great website! I too “like the look” of them and am stepping into Ganseys for the first time with these socks.

    Sincerely,
    Evelyn Trowbridge Stone

    • Gordon

      Hi Evelyn, how nice to hear from you. And I know what you mean—after 30 years I still find ganseys aesthetically very pleasing!

      I’m afraid I’m not aware of any specific patterns relating to Dartmouth—though this doesn’t mean there weren’t any, just that by the time patterns were being collected, none were collected from there.

      But gansey patterns were not always tied to a geographical location as such as we sometimes think. If I were you, I’d cheerfully look to the closest Cornish villages to Dartmouth: Polperro, Mevagissey or Falmouth. If there were ganseys in Dartmouth they’d probably be in that ballpark, if not identical. The best book on Cornish ganseys is by Mary Wright, but Michael Pearson’s Traditional Knitting has a very good chapter on Cornwall with most of the most popular patterns and photographs covered.

      Hope this helps and very best of luck, Gordon

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