The digital edition of Interweave Knits Winter 2016 is available now, and I have a design in it! The Keeley sweater is a modern top-down pullover based on traditional Ganseys. Not sure what a Gansey is? The name comes from the island of Guernsey in the English channel, but similarly constructed sweaters have by worn by fishermen all over the North Atlantic, with the fishermen sweaters of the Aran Islands being the most well-known. You can see a few examples of Ganseys on my pinterest board. They started as practical work wear (wool stays warm even when it’s wet) but later became a showcase of the knitters’ skill, with each region developing its own style.
I have recently been enamored with top-down construction, so rather than working in the usual way from the lower edge to the neck and joining at the shoulders, the Keeley sweater begins with the shoulder “straps” worked in opposite directions and shaped with short rows. The sleeves are picked up and worked down to the cuff, and the body and sleeves are finished with a picot bind-off similar to the decorative cast-on often used in fisherman sweaters. In the Dale of Norway Heilo yarn that I used, the lace stitches have a carved quality similar to that of the and knit and purl patterns and cables more frequently used in fisherman sweaters.
My favorite feature of the traditional gansey sweater is the gusset. Worked in reverse stockinette stitch, it disappears into the side of the sweater, until you need to lift your arms, then the diamond-shaped extra bit of fabric there keeps the fitted sweater from binding or pulling at the underarms. You can see it in action in the photos below.
If you would like the pattern for the Keeley sweater, and the rest of the gorgeous Ganseys in the Winter Issue of Interweave Knits, you can see all the designs in the Winter Issue on Ravelry here.
Thank you for knitting!