donderdag 19 september 2013

About Dutch Fishermans Ganseys..and a bit More..


In my previous post I promised to write about the just released book about Dutch Fisherman's Ganseys. Written by Stella Ruhe.

In Dutch the title is: 
Visserstruien uit 40 Nederlandse vissersplaatsen.

There is an English translation with the title: 

Dutch traditional ganseys. Sweaters from 40 vilages.

(I couln't find it on Amazon, but there are some book(web)shops in Holland who also deliver all around the world.)


For many years I had on my bookshelve the only book on Dutch Fisherman's ganseys. Written in 1983 by Henriëtte van der Klift-Tellingen. The book is printed in black and white, has many pictures from beautifulganseys in it, and it tells the history behind them.
It is a good book, but the new book is better and more interesting. (but more about that book later in this post)

I have never made a gansey for myself, but I have always been attracted to them. 
Dutch ganseys (and the same is for English one's) tell a history from fishermen who conquered the sea in small vessels. Dutch ganseys were made from ca. 1875 till 1930-1940.
Always made by the women who stayed at home when their fathers, husbands and/or sons where at sea. Knitted in100% wool yarn, and usually in the colour blue, sometimes black or beige. 
A simple shape (T-model), and only knit and purl stitches and sometimes with cables where used. Very tradional (but nothing is worng with that), and they could last for years.
All fishermen communities had their own pattern. You could recognize that patterns, and all in the community would know where it came from. Also used when fishermen drowned and they could be recognized by their sweaters.

They were not made anymore halfway the 20 th century. Not that the fishermen didn't like them anymore, but because women were not interested anymore in knitting. Besides that..it was cheaper to buy good waterproof garments than make them yourself.

Years ago I have done a schoolproject for which I had to do some research in Volendam. 
Volendam used to be a very important fishermen village, but is now one of the top tourist attractions. 
One things a lot of tourist love to do..(and I did it a few times too, with colleagues, students and friends..) is to have a picture taken while wearing the Volendam Costume (not the real one ofcourse with gold jewlery etc..). But it is fun..and funny..and all fake ofcourse..


Next to that I had to visit the beautiful little Volendam Museum. It tells the story of the village in the past. Now, there is money in the village, but in the past it was also a very poor village. No romantics there 100 years ago. Poverty and big families (Catholic!)


At home I have some copies from old photos taken in Volendam at the beginning of 1900.


1 girls knitting while walking  with her sister or friend among the village. Probably chatting and laughing while the sun shines. Laundry is drying in the sun and wind. They wear the traditional costume with simple wooden clogs.


But I also have a copy from Fishermen working at the harbour with behind them the vessels. The man on the left is wearing a traditional Volendam gansey. 

Probably knitted in black yarn, and in Dutch called: Sajet. This yarn is made from the fleece of the Texel- sheep. Short fibers  so not ideal for spinning, but with 5 threads and plying the perfect yarn would appear. Dyed after that with indigo, so the bright blue appeared. The yarn had a beautiful, natural gloss because of the lanolin in it, and you can't compare it with yarns produced nowadays. It was warm and water resistant  So perfect for working at sea.

It is not available anymore -they stopped producing it in the 60's- which is a pity, because it is beautiful (I know the look of it). 

Hotel Spaander in Volendam has a beautiful collection of paintings about the life in village seen through the eyes of painters. They stayed free in the hotel, but had to leave some paintings behind. Years ago a book was published about this collection.


Inside this book I found this painting by John Retting (1858-1932) from a little girl knitting. It might be a gansey for her father or brother.

Volendammer women where used to knit from a very young age. Always take your knitting with you. (see also picture above)
In the book are also more examples from Volendammer ganseys worn in daily life.




There is even this little boy wearing one.
If you look closely you can see 2 sections in the sweaters. There are horizontal bands. One has only stockinette (all knitted int he round..no seaming!) while the other band has a variation..moss stitches or other combinations from knit or purl stitches.
The stockinette part was named ebb, while the other section was called flow.

A story was told to me by a member from the museum, that when the priest appeared at home you could continue knitting when you were doing the knit part (had to be evenly knit), while you had to stop when you were doing the other band.

Now to the book from Stella..
The book is a real Gem!!
The lay-out is Beautiful and Modern.

The opening page shows a map from The Netherlands with all places featured in the book. Stella has done research in all those places, and the book tells her enthusiastic story behind the ganseys and the research she has done.


After that page the next page tells it all.


A fisherman from Paaesens-Moddergat is proudly standing in front of the camera. In his right hand a big fish, and if you look closely to his arms you can see that he is wearing a kind of loose sleeves over his gansey.
This picture sets the scene for the book. You should be proud of yourself if you wear a hand-knit gansey. 

A lot of history can be find in the book. I was particularly attracted to a picture from Dutch Fishermen taken in Lerwick (Shetland isles). 



I have seen similar pictures in the Shetland Museum in Lerwick myself. The Dutchmen fishing for herring in the rough Northsea and very far out from their own village in the Netherlands. The storms and danger...they have been very brave.

In the book patterns and the specific stitch-patterns can be found from that big trip round the coast of Holland. All knitted again in various yarns. From Lopi Einband, LettLopi till Drops Baby Merino, Lima and in SMC extra merino... and in the New 100% Dutch yarn: Scheepjeswol Zuiderzee. the perfect color Blue for it!!

Here is the newly knitted Volendam Gansey..in black Scheepjes Subtile...worn by..perhaps a fisherman..


On the back cover you can see all ganseys featured in the book..


I hope for Stella the book will be a big Hit..
It is already for me the best knitting-book of the year. 

Now the rest of the Knitting World is waiting to be conquered..just as the Dutch have always done in their History of Sailing the oceans in the past..

O Yes... and bit More... is written on the top of this Post..
I did block the scarf for Marijke, (the angle-nurse -BuurtzorgEngel- in Dutch who took such good care for Bram and me. She was very happy with it, and she will take it with her to Ghana where she will do voluntary work for a few Months in a clinic..Very warm during the day, but cold at night..so it will be usefull..


Pattern: Suki.
And yarn is from Shilasdair..

And I continue spinning...
All about practice..
So here is 156.80 mtr. of BFL..
Very Soft..


Not that even...
Plied.. and Proud!!

And More Fleece from Wol met Verve has arrived...


I am real into a Spinning Mojo at the moment..
One Day I have to go back to Knitting...Have to..but not NOW..


7 opmerkingen:

  1. Ik heb van je boekbespreking genoten! Inderdaad een geweldig boek.
    Prachtige omslagdoek ook. Naar ik begrijp: een warme doek voor een warm mens......

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
  2. ik heb het boek al in mogen kijken, Elske had het mee.
    Inderdaad práchtig. Mooi op glanspapier gedrukt, duidelijk leesbaar en lekker veel plaatjes.
    Helaas vind ik de charts wel erg klein en donker/onduidelijk.
    En dat komt vast om dat ik van nature geen truienbreier bent.
    Ik hoop van harte dat je zelf wél een trui gaat breien; voor jezelf! Dat kun je best hebben, zoveel blauw.

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
  3. Steeds weer inspireer je en geef je een nieuwe manier van kijken.
    Ik dank je dat je deelt op jouw manier. Voor mij is dat een zeer prettige en warme manier.
    Was ooit gek van kantjes en bandjes van Volendam en dat komt helemaal terug. Dag, Madelief.

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
  4. Boeiende post geworden Jan. Fijn gedaan. Groetje

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
  5. Inderdaad een prachtig boek, ik heb hem ook te pakken kunnen krijgen in Emmen, hoera.

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
  6. I found your post googling this book which is coming out soon in the US. I am very curious to have a look when it is published as I have some distant Dutch ancestry but have never seen much published about Dutch knitting before. This post was a fun preview.

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen