Cordova Gansey Project


What is a gansey?

A gansey (or guernsey) is the name given to the traditional hardwearing,  handknit woolen pullover worn by fishermen fishing for herring off the coasts of Britain, particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The natural fiber wool garments are supremely practical and functional – more flexible than a jacket, but robust enough to keep out wind and light spray.


What is the Cordova Gansey Project?

The hope and desire of the "Cordova Gansey Project" is to educate and promote the making and wearing of hand knit wool gear and to reintroduce "fishermen sweaters" to the active and present commercial fishing industry, especially the next generation youth who are transitioning into leadership and ownership, as well as for those whose outdoor lifestyle would benefit from the special features of wool handmade garments custom knit for them by loved ones.

We hope also through this project that our knitting would be a vehicle for stories to be shared of the past and present faces behind the fish and the fishing towns within the state and beyond, and that the "Cordova Gansey Project" would represent this collection of knitters who catch this same vision and through these stories help communicate the lives and lifestyle behind the industry. The origins of this project may be read about on The Net Loft blog beginning:


Who can participate in the project?

Any knitter.   Anywhere.  If you are a fisher man or woman, and you are not a knitter, but have a loved one who loves to knit, have them get in touch with us and we will help them get started. All fisherknits welcome in the project including those from any regions, such as Fair Isle and Faroe, where knitting and fishing  share a rich history.  Hats, Wristers, and other fisher wearables are also included.


How do I participate in the project?

There are various ways to participate in the project. Contact us and we can get you started.  We have an instructional DVD/ book set available by Beth Brown Reinsel, and a variety of suitable yarns available for purchase. We are compiling a list of gansey inspired patterns of both garments and accessories. When completed, there are labels we are offering for you to identify your handknit as part of the project. We have a small fish motif we have available for you to knit into your project either in texture or colorwork to further identify your project’s connection to this project. Our intention is to show honor and pay tribute to the fisherknitters of the past, acknowledging their role in knitting history, and drawing inspiration from them for designs that may be incorporated into the lifestyles of the present. We would like to hear of your progress and hope to document the ongoing projects in photos and dialogue.  

See our website for updates and details.

Facebook Group – Cordova Gansey Project


Link for Thursday Gansey Group: Type into browser

Dotty Widmann 907 317-2819

The Net Loft  PO Box 880 Cordova, Alaska 99574

Websites of interest:

our Facebook group:

Gansey Nation:

Gansey Workbook by Elizabeth Lovick

Ravelry group has excellent information on ganseys:

Knitting Ganseys Book 





OPTION 1: General Information on getting started with project.

OPTION 2:  Complete packet with knapsack, mini gauge & more,  for those purchasing yarn to make a gansey

OPTION 3:  Supplemental packet for those who picked Option 1 previously, when they decide to purchase yarn.

How much do I need?

This is an estimate chart based on what we have experienced. Actual amounts may vary based on density and lengths of body and arms.


Michael's Gansey designed and knitted expressly for Michael Hand : Drifters Fish