The Fisherman Gansey is a classic garment with a rich and varied history. Two excellent books on the subject, The Complete Book of Traditional Guernsey and Jersey Knitting by Rae Compton, and Knitting Ganseys by Beth Brown-Reinsel, are ones we have in our office library and turn to often.
The Channel Island cast-on is traditionally used on the hem of Gansey fisherman sweaters of the British Isles. The cast-on creates a subtle picot edge and is most often followed by a band of garter stitch. It is a nice alternative to a ribbed hem, and I think has a more feminine look to it.
Practically, the bands were knit separately and were then joined for working the body in the round, maximizing movement and breathability for the wearer. The cast-on is elastic, yet firm, and along with the picots, it is both decorative and hard wearing.
SET UP 1 / For this sample, I am casting on 15 stitches, so the end I measured is 30″ long.
A / tail folded in half
B / slip knot on right hand needle
C / open end of folded tail
D / working yarn attached to ball
SET UP 2 /
A / The doubled tail wrapped counter clockwise twice around my left thumb
B / The strand attached to the ball placed over the index finger
C / the short tail hanging free
STEP 1 / Make sure you wrap the yarn front to back to create the yarn over.
A: Single strand wrapped over the needle.
STEP 2 / Make sure to put the needle through both wraps and both strands when picking up the stitch of the single strand.
STEP 3 /
A: The yarn over from Step 1
B: The single strand picked up from Step 2