Gansey in Donegal merino lambswool in tarn blue

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£360.00 — ex VAT

Gansey — which also goes by the name of guernsey in certain coastal regions, and usually as rollneck everywhere else — which is hand-framed and fully-fashioned with merino lambswool in the south-west of the British Isles.


The gansey fits true to size, and thus the mannequin — a standard 40 — is wearing M. The sleeves are meant to be turned back when worn — reflected in the measurements below.

To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 20 21 22 23 24
Back length 26¼ 26½ 26¾ 27 27¼
Sleeve from centre-back 32½ 33 33½ 34 34½
The gansey is a heavy wool sweater with a rollneck. It foregoes the decorative elements of its nautical ancestors — the cable-stitching, ladders, anchors, and other harbour-of-origin details — in favour of a brutally to-the-point "heavy top-half and light lower" motif, and a luxury-grade construction.
A rollneck of medium height, this, which when rolled down to its default setting handily covers an Adam's apple but doesn't trouble a chin. It is linked by hand to the body — as indeed all other sections — which is an achingly slow and skilful process that makes for a soft and seamless-seeming construction.
The top section — both body and sleeve — is a heavy eight-ply tuck-stitch. The lower section is a three-ply plain-stitch. Both are soft merino lambswool — 1/3.8 Nm, which is plush and buoyant, and is spun in County Donegal using traditional regional techniques refined over a century or so.
It has a dropped sleeve — true to ganseys of olden times — which imparts a smooth line over the shoulder. And it is entirely hand-framed and fully fashioned — knitwear's version of tailoring, with each element individually engineered — for a shape more refined than the boxiness of gansey tradition.
The neck, hem, and cuffs of the gansey are all rib-stitch, which keeps them nice and tight. The cuffs are turn-back: twice as long as usual, so they can be turned back on themselves. It is a nice thing to play around with — and useful, too, in that the sleeves can be shortened or lengthened at the behest of the wearer.
The merino wool is Donegal writ through. It has a base colour of dark blue, sure, but is alive with nuggets of unexpected colours, from red to chalk to cobalt. So, while from afar it seems a dappled but solid colour, up close the eye is lost in manifold commingling hues, bringing variety and contrast to the knit.

As worn

The young man here has a chest of 38, and is wearing the gansey (without anything on underneath, not that it's really anyone's business) in a size S.
The man is the same and so is the gansey.

Makers of

The garment is hand-framed by a knitwear maker founded 100 years ago. They work with small, hand-operated machines overseen by one person, rather than automated machines, making them one of the last makers still to do so in Britain. It is slow going, but the results always bear out the work put in.

So they say

Perfect fit and stunning item. I feel like buying it a bottle of bubbly, some jewellery, and treating it right for the rest of my life. Having only briefly been introduced, I can't imagine a life without this gansey playing a significant role.

Praise truly effusive from of a man in London who bought the gansey in tuck-stitch geelong in October 2018.