Tools of the Trade: Wiskas

For this week’s blog, we look at a lesser-known knitting tool, the wiska, which was widely used by fisherfolk to aid knitting speed and stitch consistency by easing the weight of the knit. Introduction A previous blog post by Carolyn Cluness highlighted the demanding role of fisherlasses in the fishing industry. Knitting became an importantContinue reading “Tools of the Trade: Wiskas”

Gansey Patterns: Their Meanings, Significance and Relation to the Fishing Industry

For this week’s blog, Chelsea Marina West shares another extract from her thesis: The Needles have Dropped: An Investigation of Fishermen’s Ganseys and Intangible Cultural Heritage in the United Kingdom (2021). We return to look at the significance and symbolism of gansey patterns in fishing communities, this time with a focus on Northern Scotland. Within theContinue reading “Gansey Patterns: Their Meanings, Significance and Relation to the Fishing Industry”

Drowning and Identity

For this week’s Blog, we have another extract from Dr Annie Shaw’s thesis Crafting the Technological: Ganseys and Wholegarment© Knitting (2009). The links between drowning/identity and ganseys are one aspect of folklore which most people have heard of and find fascinating, even romantic, for example Alex Buxton writes: ‘It was even possible for fishing families to recogniseContinue reading “Drowning and Identity”

A Brief History of Knitted Garments

The use of wool in garments can be hard to trace precisely as it predates written records and the material, on exposure to oxygen, is so beautifully biodegradable! We do know that for a period over the Middle Ages and into the pre-industrial era, the British Isles were considered to be a world-leading centre ofContinue reading “A Brief History of Knitted Garments”