So, the question of the moment is “How do I knit a gansey like Daniel Day-Lewis’s?” In the voluminous comments on that post, a couple of commenters mentioned Penny Straker’s 1981 knitting pattern #796 Staithes Guernsey (photo above, top), and Fiona noted there’s a similar pattern in Gladys Thompson’s book, aka “Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans.” Thompson’s pattern is not available for download but there is a listing in the Ravelry database, where you can see samples, and it is called Staithes Gansey (1969). I also remembered, as I started writing this post on Friday, that my friend Courtney Kelley of Kelbourne Woolens put out a very similar gansey pattern just a few years ago called Seascale (photo above, bottom), which is literally in my Ravelry Queue! And which is in the same gansey-minimal style as the DDL/Straker/Thompson sweaters — just horizontal bands of moss or double moss broken up by purl ridges.
On Saturday, I opened Kelbourne’s newsletter and saw that Courtney had included a mention of my DDL post and is offering Seascale as a free download until this Friday with the checkout code GANSEYBABES. And their new yarn Scout even comes in a deep blue-black, which is one of the hardest colors to come by. (I get asked for good navy suggestions often enough that I have “dark navy yarn roundup” on my list of blog posts to do!)
I think the vague “navy pullover” on my wish list may be taking a more distinct shape.
. . .
Circling back about the origins of DDL’s gansey, I’ve gotten some answers. Back in the original comments, Dianna had uncovered a men’s fashion blog that had posited that DDL’s had come from Flamborough Marine, purveyors of handknit ganseys, and they do offer a version called, you guessed it, the Staithes Gansey.* You can see the sample — the bright yellow one — halfway down this webpage, and again on page 5 of this PDF of theirs about what a gansey is. However, it differs from the one on DDL in assorted ways — the waist ribbing, the number and width of the moss bands, etc., so I thought the blog had it wrong. Then I had an email yesterday from Deb Gillanders of Propagansey, who has the details. She says the one he is wearing in the magazine is one he commissioned from Flamborough Marine to match the one that had been left to him by his father. So the one he’s wearing is not the one his father left him after all, but a recent handknit replacement, and did come through Flamborough Marine.
Gillanders, who lives in Whitby (near Staithes) and curates an annual gansey exhibit in the nearby village of Robin Hood’s Bay, also loaned three ganseys to the costume department of “Phantom Thread,” and says you can see him wearing one of them in the scene where he decides not to go dancing for New Year’s. I’ve yet to see the film, but apparently much of the early action is set in RHB, so there are all sorts of connections here. This is all very fun to know — thanks, Deb!
*I’m now deeply curious about how and why this particular sub-type of gansey is apparently commonly known as “a Staithes” and am in search of answers. So I may have more to say about all of this!
– Another great source of gansey knowledge, Beth Brown-Reinsel’s highly regarded book “Knitting Ganseys” is being republished this summer.
– And Dotty left a comment saying there are still some openings in her upcoming FisherFolk gansey-inspired retreat.
PREVIOUSLY: Daniel Day-Lewis and wow, that gansey