I gotta tell you, if you ever get a chance to take a class with Beth Brown-Reinsel DO IT!!! She's an amazing teacher. So often, I've taken classes with teachers who are great on technique, but short on patience. Beth was gentle and patient with every student in the class. She made sure even the beginning knitters accomplished something toward the goal of knitting a sampler sweater. The class was called Traditional Construction Techniques for Ganseys and this is what we made:
This is the front of the little sweater I made. I had originally thought that Sassy's American Girl doll would benefit, but the neck is too small to fit over her head. (There was an alternate neck that Beth gave us, but even with that one, I don't think it would have fit.) Anyway, that's why there's a "K" in the lower corner. She gave us 3 different cables to work and what you see in the front of the sweater is Barbara Walker's Baby Cable - I liked the way that one looked the best. it seems rounder and more "cabley" (if that makes any sense). You can also see the underarm gussets pretty well in this picture. Traditional Ganseys are tight fitting sweaters - they were made for fishermen who didn't want a whole lot of excess material to get caught in their tools of the trade. Since a tight sweater can restrict arm movement the smart knitters of the area came up with gussets. You get full range of motion, without hiking the sweater up and being uncomfortable. How cool is that?
This is the back of the sweater and it shows the other 2 cables Beth showed us how to do. The true cable is on the right and the mock cable is on the left. The beautiful thing about all these cables is that you can do each one without ever using a cable needle! I'm forever losing those things, so this makes my cable knitting easier. The sleeves are picked up and knit from the shoulder down (after you knit a small saddle - from the neck out!).
We also learned a cool provisional cast on (for the neck) and the Channel Island cast on - you may be able to see the decorative bumps on either of the pictures near the welt on the bottom. It's a very simple cast on and looks beautiful once you start knitting.
So, now, I'm trying to figure out where I can fit a self-designed traditional Gansey sweater into my already full knitting schedule. I guess it's a good thing to have too much knitting to do.