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Help save the Plymouth Gansey

Help save the Plymouth Gansey and the history of the knitted fishing jumpers.

As part of ‘The Gathering’ project – reconnecting Plymouth people to the sea and Plymouth Sound – The Conscious Sisters are seeking photographs or memories of the knitted fisherman’s jumpers worn by Plymouth fishers up until the 1970s.

The fishers (mostly men) would have worn a Gansey, a type of fishing jumper that would have probably been dark blue, knitted without seams and with gussets in the armpits.

The Plymouth Gansey would have been made of 5 ply Worsted wool (or Guernsey wool) which is very dense for keeping out the wind. These jumpers were often worn over shirts and with a neckerchief to stop chafing.

The Conscious Sisters will re-create this lost item of knitwear as part of The Gathering and a knit wear artist known as Maya will be poised with her knitting needles at the ready.

Ganseys usually had a specific pattern for a specific place or family. The mythology of the gansey is that if a fisher lost his/her life at sea, then they could be identified by their jumper.

The gansey is on the Heritage Crafts’ red list of endangered crafts, so it’s now or never.

If you have photographs, memories or even an original gansey itself, direct message The Conscious Sister on social media or email hello@theconscioussisters.com.

The Gathering is a project celebrating Plymouth Sound produced by The Conscious Sisters CIC.

Funded by National Marine Park Plymouth, The Box, Arts Council England, Nudge Community Builders, Sovereign Housing, Local Emergencies Fund and BA Better World.

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