Carole tells the story of the Boat mans Jumper or gansey

Boat women’s clothes in the working days of the canals consisted of a black skirt, white blouse, white apron and a crocheted bonnet.

The Boat men, however, wore heavy duty corduroy trousers, collarless heavy cotton shirts, usually in a striped pattern with a Gansey over the top. These where knitted in a dark blue oiled wool to keep out the weather. Patterns where knitted into the Gansey from halfway up the chest. The boat man’s wife would knit the Gansey whilst sitting upon the front step of their canal side cottage. Each family of boatmen had their own traditional pattern.

Our jumpers are based on the traditional Gansey, however they are not knitted in the traditional way on 5 needles, but are knitted from either traditional yarns, or modern yarns, for ease of care which helps to make them more affordable. The patterns are taken from traditional British designs and you can have your own hand knitted, contact Carole on our number to discuss your own unique Gansey for your self or as a present.

A Modern Boatmans gansey hand knitted by Carole Wareing of Colin and Carole’s Creations and The Wool Boat. This gansey Carole knitted to her own pattern. It is called a modern boatman’s gansey as it was knitted in a modern style that while it is based on the basic principles of a gansey it is knitted on two needles and then the pieces are sewn together. Traditionally Ganseys where knitted in the round on a set of 5 needles. This garment has been created from an acrylic yarn in a navy blue shade which was the colour traditional fishermen’s gansey where knitted in for everyday use. The yarn for this garment is James C Bretts Top value double knitting weight yarn. Garment 001 This is a self portrait by Colin Wareing Image Cw 5080 copyright Colin Wareing of Colin and Carole’s Creations E-mail Phone no 07931 356204

Over the years we have done quite a bit of research into “Ganseys”.

On this page is some of the information we have found out, but we are by no way experts on the subject.

What is a gansey?

Gansey, a traditional woollen jumper worn by fishermen and working boatmen on the Leeds and Liverpool canal, now you can own one too. 

There are lots of records of Fishermans ganseys, mainly from the east coast of the uk where it is claimed every little town or village had their own pattern knitted into the garment.

However there are not many records, that we can find of ganseys from the west coast, towns like Fleetwood, Southport, Morecambe etc though there are some photo’s.

We have also seen photo’s of canal boatmen wearing ganseys, though again not much written records of patterns etc.

Traditional ganseys where knitted in the round on a number of needles, from 5ply yarns, with some evidence of the garment being made water proof by the tightness of the knit and possible application of oil. These garments take a lot of time and whilst still available from some sources they are quite expensive and need a lot of care.

To make a more affordable garment Carole has designed a number of “Modern Boatman’s ganseys, which she is able to knit for you or a loved one as a present.

It would normally take Carole about 8 to 10 weeks to create a bespoke garment.

If you would like one creating please get in touch.

Basic prices at 14.11.20 are £60 for a gansey knitted from Acrylic yarn or from £120 for one from pure wool. Prices will reflected by the size of the garment. Delivery costs would be added to these prices unless you came and picked you gansey up from The Wool Boat.

Feel free to get in touch with your requirements.

Phone Carole on 07931 356204

Page created 14.11.2020

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