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This is a gansey I knit for Margaret a few years ago. We’ve called it “Howey” (the name of the village we were living in at the time) for the purpose of this gallery, but Margaret chose the pattern by browsing all the books and taking elements she liked from a variety of charts and photos, creating a unique combination. I’ve lost the piece of paper with all the patterns on, so I can’t list all the sources here. Over time I’ll try to recreate them.

The welt is different to my usual welts, in that it’s not a standard knit 2/purl 2 ribbing. Instead Margaret opted for a “plain border” – but highly decorated! This hangs down in two flaps, front and back, and has the advantage that it doesn’t pull in tightly around the waist.

The only regret I have concerns the sleeves – the armholes are too long, so the sleeves are a bit too baggy, especially at the top. It makes for a comfortable wear, but aesthetically it’s not quite right.

7 comments to ‘Howey’

  • Eva

    That is absolutely Beautiful! If my mother were alive, I would make one just like it for her since her favorite color was red…

  • Gordon

    Hi Eva,

    One thing Margaret is very good at is choosing combinations of patterns from different regions and putting them together creatively. I agree, this one works really well. And while I think red tends to be a bit startling, it definitely suits this pattern, and goes well with my blood pressure.


  • brenda

    I am new to ganseys and am itching to make one . I love your website. thank you. my question is what kind of cast on did you use for the Howey and could you have used the welt pattern on the collar or would it need to be a rib on the collar?

  • Gordon

    Hi Brenda,

    Good to hear from you!

    It was a long time ago, so forgive me if my memory is a bit sketchy.

    The cast on was my standard method as described in the “How to “section. The difference was that whereas I usually knit the welt in the round as standard knit 2/ purl 2 ribbing, Margaret requested the welt being in two flaps, each knit separately and then joined at the start of the body, which was the other traditional method.

    So you get a cast on row, then my usual two rows of purl stitch, and then the pattern begins (the same as appears in the central band).

    I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t use the welt pattern on the collar, none at all. I tend to knit a short collar, just an inch or so, so I’m not sure the pattern would really have a chance to show through, but that’s the only thing I can think of. Of course, you could always use the welt pattern on the shoulder straps – and there’s precedent there, because the Scots ganseys sometimes used the central band pattern on the shoulders. Just a thought.

    I hope this helps – please get back to me if you’d like any more information. (You’ve reminded me, I really should dig out those patterns and graph them up properly – memo to self!)

    Best wishes,

  • brenda

    thanks for getting back to me so quickly and your info was very helpful. I did want to do the flaps instead of ribbing and i will try the collar a little longer with the buttons. Being scottish and living on the coast of British Columbia and having worked in the fishing industry makes this an exciting project for me. I am even going to attempt to add a couple of my own patterns into it. Thanks for your help. will keep you posted on how its coming on. Might take a couple years.

    • Gordon, Margaret, Readers, and Brenda,

      First, sincere thanks, Gordon and Margaret, for your knitting expertise and for the colossal amount of work you have expended to create and maintain your website and blog. I am making my way through all the entries as a newbie to your site and am enjoying every moment.

      Brenda wrote on 11 January 2012 “… might take a couple of years” and I am curious to learn of the progress. I, too, am on the coast of British Columbia, Canada.

      I have M. Pearson’s book and 20+ years ago I began a dark navy gansey, diving in with “The Misses Majors’ pattern,” p. 40. I’ve no idea now how I ever did it! I remember having fun planning the patterns. I made my way up to the gusset. Couldn’t wrap my head around it (thick head and no Gansey Nation.) I wrote to Mr. Pearson and he kindly sent me a hand-written reply from Perth, AU. The project sat in a bag with other UFOs for so long that moths did their due diligence and I had to begin at the beginning. I had help from a clever knitter and my husband enjoys wearing his sweater.

      As much as I love all the patterns, I confess to despising the look of the “wobbly” collars, so I knitted a double width, folded it over to the wrong side, and stitched it down on the inside. I’ll probably rot in Gansey Hell for doing so.

      Now, armed with knowledge and enthusiasm gleaned from Gansey Nation, I am keen to make one for myself. Issue: I am a “full-busted” woman and a buttoned cardigan suits me much better than a pullover. Question: Do you have a collection of such patterns? Or suggestions? My money is on the dreaded steeks 😉

      Cheers to all,
      Victoria, BC, Canada

      • Gordon

        Hi Julie,

        Thank you so much for your comments! (I read recently that Kevin Spacey met James Stewart once and told him he was the greatest actor, “but you must hear that all the time”. To which Stewart replied, “Not at all—say it again!”)

        I recently got Margaret to fold over a collar on one of my ganseys that was a bit high and caught on my throat, and sew it down as you describe. Between ourselves, I think it looks far better like that! So if you’re damned, at least you’ll have company in the Seventh Circle, the one where the yarn has lots of knots and the needles keep breaking so you drop your stitches.

        I’ve knit 2 cardigans which you can find on the website. One has a zip, the other buttons—Margaret did the actual zippery doodah and buttoning. You can see them at http://www.ganseys.com/gallery/fife-cardigan/ and http://www.ganseys.com/gallery/hebrides-iii-aka-north-sea/ – but, yes, I’m afraid both involve steeks!

        With all good wishes,

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