Spotlight on Technique: Guernsey
Scotland has a long and proud history of fishing. Generations of noble fishermen have steered their boats through the often stormy Scottish seas to cast their nets. The story of Scottish knitwear is often intertwined with fishing.
In the 16th Century, inhabitants of Guernsey (part of the Channel Islands) developed a technique of knitting patterns using texture. Later through trade routes in the 17th Century, the style spread to the British Isles including Scotland.
The traditional fisherman’s Guernsey jumper was always knitted by their loving wives, aptly named fisherwives. These women also knitted hardwearing aprons to protect their dresses as they foraged for seafood on the sea-shore.
As the fishermen worked hard on the boats, raising nets heavy with fish from the sea, they sang beautiful songs with intriguing lyrics from another time. Their songs’ imagery of fish leaping, the creel baskets and diamond shapes of the nets are reflected in the stitched patterns of Guernsey.
A fisherman and his wife’s livelihood was a hard one; their Guernsey jumpers and aprons had to be durable and functional whilst conveying the mesmerizing story of their lives and the sea; for the two were daily entwined.
ERIBÉ have reinvented the traditional knitting techniques of Guernsey, which have been around for centuries, for a modern heritage look by creating slimmer silhouettes, using lighter yarns and modernising the patterns.