Fisherman’s Gansey


Nairn Museum

This fisherman’s gansey from Nairn is a great example of a traditional woollen sweater worn at sea.

They were developed as practical workwear for fishermen, providing warmth and protection from the harsh marine environment. Ganseys were typically knitted in a seamless construction so as to be as strong and durable as possible.

Their designs are unique and highly symbolic, generally taking over 150 hours to knit! A zigzag pattern is called ‘marriage lines’ and shows that couples have ups and downs.

Other symbols commonly included include a tree-shaped triangle, representing the ‘tree of life’. The X shape represents a star fish.

The owner’s initials are also often included in the design.

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Date: 1800s
Materials : Wool
Size : 52cm

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