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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BB Hardback
  • Publication: 01 June 2020
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782217527
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 200x280 mm
  • Illustrations: 300
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: £17.99
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Traditional Dutch Ganseys for Children


Over 40 sweaters to knit from 30 fishing villages by Stella Ruhe

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Book Description

From around 1875 to 1950, Dutch fishermen wore sweaters with characteristic knit and purl stitch patterns, sometimes cable. These jerseys, known as ganseys, became an intrinsic part of the identity of the Dutchmen who wore them. Many of the children in these fishing families wore ganseys too, and numerous photos have been discovered in recent years of schoolchildren dressed in the knitwear seen on their fishermen fathers.

Stella Ruhe returns with over 40 sweaters to knit from 30 different Dutch villages this time, for your little ones to wear and ramble in. Based on the original designs shared by families and discovered in archives, Stella has created recreations of these historically important garments for our contemporary life that ooze classic style with modern minimalism. With these designs, you are offered not only a chance to pay homage to the women who lovingly knitted the jumpers and to share in a beautiful Dutch tradition, but also give something for your child to treasure for years to come.

The sizes of the ganseys run from 1- to 14-years old, but can easily be adjusted to any child’s size by following Stella's straightforward measuring instructions in her chapter on knitting know-how. In the same chapter you learn that every gansey is a standard shape, meaning the beauty of each sweater is in the variation of pattern motifs and finishing details, which varies from village to village. In the gallery of knitting designs, each jumper is accompanied by knitting charts the pattern repeat clearly shown for easy garment adjusting, a diagram of the jumper and styled, modern photography.

With a wealth of fascinating background information and historical photos of the original designs alongside every design, this is an inspiring book for the ambitious knitter looking for unique, classic knitwear, and a brilliant read for anyone interested in craft, culture and heritage.

Table of Contents

Foreword 4

The gansey 6
- Origin 8
- Knitting 9
- Designs and dating 10
- Work wear 10
- Practical sweaters 11
- Myths 12
- Boys and girls 12

Child labour and compulsory education 14
- Industrial revolution 15
- Protests 17
- Child protection laws 17
- Schooling and compulsory education 18
- The situation today 19
- Developing countries 19

Children in the fishing industry before and around 1900 20
- From father to son, from mother to daughter 22
- Social relations 23
- Poverty 25
- Food and drink 28
- Education 29

At Sea 30
- Fish culture 31
- On the luggers 32
- On the longliners 36
- Mental and physical well-being 38
- Food 38
- Besomming 39
- Stop box and clothing 39

Knitting 42
- Sagathy 44
- T-model 44
- Yarn types 45
- Amount of yarn 46
- Tools 46
- Techniques 46
- Sizing 47
- Stitches used 47
- Tension (gauge) 47
- Motifs and patterns 48
- Basic sizes 50
- Chart and sketch 50
- General knitting instructions for ganseys 51
- Knitting in the round 51
- Flat knitting 53
- General information 53

North SEa Coast 54
- Den Helder/Huisduinen 56
- Egmond aan Zee 58
- Zandvoort 60
- Noordwijk 62
- Katwijk 64
- Scheveningen 69
- Pernis 73
- Vlaardingen 76
- Zwartewaal 80
- Middelharnis 82
- Colijnsplaat 84
- Yerseke 86
- Arnemuiden 90
- De Paal 94

Major rivers 96
- Charlois 98
- Woudrichem 100

Wadden Sea Coast 104
- Terschelling 106
- Harlingen/Het Bildt/St. Jacobiparochie 108
- Wierum 112
- Paesens-Moddergat 114

Zuiderzee Coast 116
- Wervershoof/Medemblik 118
- Volendam 120
- Durgerdam/Ransdorp 123
- Bunschoten-Spakenburg 126
- Harderwijk 130
- Elburg 132
- Urk 134
- Lemmer 136
- Stavoren 138
- Workum 140

Word of Thanks 142 

Credits 143

About the Author

About Stella Ruhe

Stella Ruhe taught visual arts in Amsterdam, is a publisher/editor at the publishing house Cantecleer and is faculty supervisor and co-developer of learning content and teaching methodology in the department of visual arts at a number of national educational centres. Stella Ruhe has hosted major events such as the Cantecleer Fashion Prize and the Week of Creativity, and is author of Dutch Traditional Ganseys, More Traditional Dutch Ganseys and Traditional Dutch Ganseys for Children.


The Knitter

Following her two books of adult patterns recreating authentic Dutch fishing ganseys, Stella Ruhe brings us more than 40 handsome, textured sweaters for children aged one to 14 years. Each charted design is accompanied by vintage photographs of the original piece, and fascinating historical details about the gansey knitting tradition in the Netherlands.


If, like me, you enjoy knitting ganseys for small people (or even for grown-ups) and getting a buzz out of exploring the history behind what you knit, you will have great fun with this book. In addition to over 40 gansey patterns, there is a wealth of vintage photographs and information relating to children involved in the fishing industry in the Netherlands between 1860 and 1950, making this a really good read even if you never knit any of the patterns.

Instead of detailed written instructions for each pattern Ruhe provides a generic description of the T-shape construction of Dutch ganseys, tips on choice of yarn, tension gauges, etc. and a charming description, with illustrations, of the cultural significance of common motifs and patterns.

Instructions for each pattern include the particular size, measurements, suggested materials and a chart of the motif/pattern used. The colour scheme for the charts makes them easy to read. A comprehensive size chart is provided as part of the general knitting information, so it is easy to adapt the instructions to any age range.

In addition to appealing to seasoned knitters, this book would be a good choice for fairly new knitters wishing to move to the next level of difficulty. The simple T-shape of ganseys and basic knit/purl motif construction lend themselves to projects for improving knitters.

Machine Knitting Monthly

These 40 sweaters are based on the classic jumpers of Dutch fishermen. They use original designs shared by families from 30 fishing villages and discovered in archives. Gansey sizes run from one to 14-years and each jumper has knitting charts, clear pattern repeats, diagrams and modern photos. It's a superb read for anyone interested in craft, culture and heritage.

Postcard Reviews

Over 40 sweaters for boys and girls are included in this very interesting book. Not only does this book give you several designs to knit, it also includes the history of the 'gansey' and the villages but also an insight of child labour, education and the life pre 1900.

The traditional gansey is knitted with no seam, so double pointed needles will be needed. The amount of yarn needed depends on the size of the garment. The sweater sizes range in age from 1 to 14 years. The patterns are stunning, and all centred on the sea, boats and fishing. The  modern photography alongside old photographs bring to life the days of then and the children of today. They merge together beautifully.

The history of fishermen was most interesting, their way of life was hard and the small children on board the fisher boats had life even harder. A lot of research has gone into this book and it is a brilliant and intriguing read as well as a fabulous project book for knitters. 

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