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on 11 October 2008
I bought this book many years ago and have knitted almost every adult pattern from it. The techniques are very clearly explained, even for the more advanced styles such as working in the round and using steeks. A lot of the yarns specified (from Rowan) are no longer available but it's not difficult to find newer Rowan yarns that will work well. The charts are easy to follow and there is an excellent section on different casting on techniques and the all-important blocking and finishing.

My own (very slight) gripe is that the photography could have been better - in some of the garments it is quite difficult to see the pattern as dark yarns were chosen. Also, it's important to remember that the sizes are exceptionally generous - the first jumper I knitted (size small - I am a dress size 12) was exactly to the required tension and it was so big it fitted a size 20 friend. If you like very fitted garments then this isn't for you for this reason. The styles of fisher gansies are usually square, there is no shaping in the body, and many have dropped shoulders which results in the generous sizing.

Most of the designs are one colour and patterned with beautiful cables - if you're an avid cabler then you will *love* this book, especially the design Inishmaan which is a tour-de-force and took me three months to knit but it has been much admired. There is also a beautiful Scandinavian three-colour pattern using the Fair Isle technique.

The introduction is a brief history of knitting fisher gansies and it is both informative and personal since Alice Starmore comes from a long line of traditional gansy knitters.

Overall...an excellent book and a must for all knitters - if you are not yet confident to attempt something with cables/in the round then go for it with this book! You won't be disappointed!
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on 15 May 2013
I only cable knit using charts. This book only gives direction and instruction for charts. Its a lovely book. I almost didnt buy a copy due to some of the reviews about the photography, but I have now almost completed my first sweater from it, and I have 3 more ear marked for various members of the family. Great for men because all the sweaters featured are large. The smallest adult chest size is a 38-40", the majority are 44", but they go up to 48' which my husband and brother are. Although mostly modelled by women (who are all far too tiny and slim for the massive jumpers they are sporting), many of the sweaters featured are unisex. Thankfully because I dont knit fairisle, there were only 2 fairilse patterns in this fabulous book. Beware super slim folk, as the jumpers are all on the big side. Very pleased I have this for my pattern collection, Ill be using it for a long time to come.
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on 23 February 2011
This would have been a brilliant pattern book if it weren't for two dirty great faults. The designs are lovely, but the patterns are done in the form of charts: great (and the only way) for fairisle but horrendous to work from when doing cable styles. Unless you have the eyesight of a peregrine falcon you need the written pattern as well(or even instead) which, unfortunately, the author has been too lazy to include. The other major problem is that the, admittedly beautiful, illustrations of vapid models pining on bleak seashores are far too busy being decorative and quite often don't show the pattern: either because colour has overpowered it or the jumper is obscured in deference to artistic effect. There are two jumpers that I have no idea what the pattern on them is and a couple of others that you have to piece together from a number of photos. Other niggles are that most are one size and in some cases its hard to work out an alternative yarn as I think some of them are not standard weights. Although I don't count the money spent on it as wasted I do feel I've paid a bit more for a coffee table book to some extent. On the plus side it's nice to see patterns that aren't aimed solely at the beginner and the designs do make you want to get stuck in.
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on 25 November 2011
I bought this on the basis of having seen "Aran knitting" in a bookshop by the same author, and hoped it would be to the same standard (eg a lengthy description of the history of fisherman's sweaters, lots of interesting designs, and so on).

I doubt I'll be making many (or any of) these designs. Why?
1) most patterns - with the exception of the one shown on the front cover, are in very dark and muted colours so it is almost impossible to tell what the design is. The models' poses also make it very difficult to see the pattern.
2) The patterns are knitted in the round which is the traditional method for guernseys - not my preference but it's simple enough to convert this type of pattern to a normal one for those knitters who can't abide knitting in the round! But most of them have shoulder strapswhich are knitted separate to the sleeves - strikes me as fiddly and therefore couldn't possibly be traditional (not according to my copy of Gladys Thompson's "Patterns for Guernseys, jerseys and Arans"). It greatly improves the fit where there isn't neck shaping - but would be simpler and faster to just put in some neck shaping (again, something which advanced knitters could do fairly easily)
3) The patterns are given in only one or two sizes (either men's or lady's, but not both). The patterns have plenty of ease, and are HUGE - they would completely drown out my small frame. Not being able to see the finished pattern clearly makes it difficult to design them smaller. Some patterns are only given in a single child's size (generally HUGE, but not quite large enough for me)
4) the necks are HUGE - as per the cover photo, they are almost all shown with the model wearing a scarf.
5) The patterns are almost exclusively using her own wool - no suggestion for subsitutes

I'm keeping it as a source book for ideas and techniques, to pair up with my Gladys Thompson book. And to remind myself not to buy books on impulse again!
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on 26 January 2014
I bought this book because I was seduced by the photo on the front cover. I love textured patterns and watching the designs unfold as I knit. However the photography leaves an awful lot to be desired. If you want a book of photos of rugged coast lines and rugged scenery then this may be the book for you. If you want a book that shows detailed photos of the designs then this might not the book for you. I've no doubt that the designs are quite lovely, if they could be seen properly. At my knitting club most of the knitters complain about 'fashion shots' they want to see the garment not lots of hair or silly poses. Why is there a photo of a the two models wrapped in a blanket and all I can see is the neck of the garment? In others arms are folded across the body and/or hair conceals the neckline. Yet another one sports a shawl partially wrapped around the body. In some of the photos the model is too far away (lovely scenery though) and the garment is an unidentifiable blob. In others the colour is too dark to make out the pattern. Some of the photographs do show the design, however I feel a great chance was missed to show of what could be potentially lovely designs. If other books can have great photos that show the designs well without being boring then so could this one. Although there is a design I might knit, I certainly would not have bought this book if I had seen it in a book shop.
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on 16 April 2011
I wear Guernseys all the time for work and was wondering about other patterns of fisherman's sweaters. I found the photos are stylish but often too dark to see the pattern clearly, or the model is wearing a scarf obscuring the neck detail. Also, most seem to be for women, with large necks, unlike the gansies I know, with quite tight necks to keep the wind and water out.
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on 16 June 2011
I have never knitted a garment on a circular needle and this book gave a brilliant introduction to this technique. Though not an introduction in itself this book covers easy to knit garments through to the techniquely more advanced. A truely wonderful addition to any knitters library.
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on 22 April 2013
Oh my word i love this book started the ishmore and it is beautiful, I love the literature re knitting and the patterns are well thought out
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on 5 November 2013
spoilt for choice as to which I knit first
patterns clearly explained with good graphs
author clearly loves our knitting heritage
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on 12 August 2013
very good value. clear print, easy to use, added information giving the origins of patterns, techniques used, yarn and substitute yarns.
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