Contest, Designer Feature

Gansey Kids / Meg Roke (& A Giveaway!)

UPDATE: Congratulations to our contest winner, Gail L.! She’ll be receiving a copy of Gansey Kids and Cumbria to knit the Whitby Vest

Meg Roke has released a new ebook, Gansey Kids, full of beautiful knits inspired by traditional Gansey patterns. Ganseys, or Geurnseys, are knit sweaters traditionally worn by seamen originating from Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel. Fisherman needed warm, sturdy, and comfortable sweaters that would resist sea spray. To read more about Gansey history check out my guest blog post on the Fancy Tiger Crafts blog from earlier this year. 

Meg’s patterns are all inspired by the traditional garments, but she has reinvented them for the little ones in our lives. There is a range of sizes in the book, with some patterns even sized from infant to adult! Most designs start with toddlers to little kids (as my son would say) to teens. I love this range, as I find that it’s especially difficult to find good knitting patterns for kids ages 6-12. 

We’re in love with the Whitby Vest (sizes 1 – 12 years), knit in The Fibre Co Cumbria. A unisex vest, it’s perfect for fall layering. My son will definitely be getting one of these in his back-to-school fall wardrobe – I definitely have time between now and school picture day to finish it!

Here’s what Meg says about the inspiration for the Whitby Vest:

When researching about ganseys, I came across many long sleeve pullovers that featured a stockinette stitch body on the bottom half and a textured stitch pattern on the top half. This is a real classic gansey look that I wanted to replicate in a unisex vest for kids (because kids look so stinkin’ cute in teeny vests!). However, the vest needed to be freshened up a bit. After all, this is a collection inspired by ganseys of the past, so the Whitby Vest needed to work for the 21st century. With that in mind, I added an i-cord bind-off edging around the armbands and neckline, worked in a buttonhole for easy-over-the-head maneuvering, and relaxed the fit. Ganseys were traditionally close-fitting garments, but modern day kiddos like to move and wiggle in their everyday clothes… and this vest is cute, comfy, and practical for everyday fun. 

Yarn The Fibre Co. Cumbria: 1 (1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2) skeins; shown in size 4 in Derwentwater
Gauge 18 sts and 26 rnds = 4 inches, in stockinette stitch, on larger needles
Needles US 7 (4.5 mm) 16–24″ circular and US 6 (4 mm) 16–24″ circular and DPNs
Notions Stitch markers, Scissors, Tapestry needle, Waste yarn, 1 button (.75-1”)
Size 1 (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12) year(s): 20 (23, 25.75, 27.5, 28.5, 30.25, 32)” [51 (58.5, 65.5, 70, 72.5, 77, 81.5) cm] approx chest circumference 11 (13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19)” [28.5 (33, 37, 40, 44, 46.5, 49) cm] approx length

We love Meg’s modern patterns that combine classic shapes, textures, and stitches of traditional gansey  into pint sized sweaters for the little ones in your life! 

To show our appreciation for Meg’s hard work, we’re giving away enough of The Fibre Co. Cumbria in your choice of color, to knit the Whitby Vest for your favorite kiddo. Meg has offered to giveaway a copy of her ebook to the winner as well!

For a chance to win, leave us a comment between now and 8/31 at 12 midnight EST telling us about your most memorable “Back to School” outfit. Mine was…well, let’s just say it involved purple Cross Colors jeans. (Hey, it was 1990!) – CK

All images Β©Meg Roke. 

41 thoughts on “Gansey Kids / Meg Roke (& A Giveaway!)

  1. Anne Marie says:

    Okay. It was the 70s. My mom made all my clothes. I had a wrap-around jumper … denim with a farmyard print on it and green buttons attaching the straps. I wanted to wear that thing EVERY DAY!

    1. Kudos to you and your mom! Go mamadukes!

  2. Nicole says:

    I had to wear a uniform, a blackwatch plaid jumper, and we could wear a grey cardigan. My mom, who was a fabulous knitter, made one for me in a charcoal boucle, with great big buttons–looking back, it was stunning, but I absolutely HATED it, because I was 10, and I wanted the same generic store bought cardigan as the other girls.

  3. Lee says:

    My memories are from the 1970s too! My mother sewed me a lovely vinyl red jumper that I do remember liking! Must have been the trend:) thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Kate says:

    I had these two wonderful dresses when I was in third grade or so. Both long-sleeve, ankle-length, full skirts. We bought them from my mom’s hairdresser, who also sold her own line of tie-dye clothing, and one was pink and one purple. I wore them every week until I outgrew them. They definitely were not what the other kids were wearing, but I don’t remember getting teased, just compliments from the teachers.

    1. Cute! I think I saw somewhere that long sleeve maxi dresses are making a comeback! I bet you were super cute! And good for you for rocking your own style!

  5. Anya says:

    I went to Catholic school, so I had the requisite plaid jumper, but one time (fourth grade) I was sporting a Dorothy Hamill hairdo, knee-high socks, AND brown and tan saddle shoes– and my second-grader sister looked like a cuter version of me in the exact same outfit. πŸ˜€

  6. Therese says:

    My favorite back to school outfit was my vegetable print dress, anklets and oxfords, accessorized with a red plaid lunchbox. Go 60’s!

  7. colette says:

    For the first day of kindergarden, my mom wanted me to wear a nice dress and I was very stubborn : I wanted to wear (only) my swimsuit because it was still summer for me! After a lot of fuss, my mom allowed me to keep the bottom part under the dress. I showed everyone my ‘knickers’ at school because there were not ‘real ones’…. ha!

  8. Pat says:

    I am sure it was a shirtwaist dress for High school in the 50’s!

    1. Shirtdresses are my favorite!!

  9. Venice Smith says:

    The outfit that stands out in my mind is the uniform I had to wear to private school. Navy blue jumper, white blouse and saddle oxford shoes with knee highs. There was not much individuality then nor at any private school, but especially in the 60s!

  10. Kathleen says:

    A beautiful wool plaid skirt and matching sweater. I loved it! However, it was 85 degrees on the first day of school, and I was drenched with sweat by the end of the day.

  11. Gail M says:

    I had a beautiful fall colored dress….plaid with brown, gold, crimson, purple, and orange. My shoes were brown penny loafers. Acessories were a new blue canvas binder freshly filled with paper, a zippered bag filled with bright yellow pencils and a new pink eraser. Also included in my attire was a brand new lunch pail.

  12. Melissa says:

    I had the perfect Jean short and top outfit. Expect I wore the top inside out by accident. I was too young not to die of embarrassment

  13. Shanna says:

    Oh goodness. My favorite back-to-school outfit was a comfy pair of jeans… complete with rainbow lace outlining all the pockets. Oh, and t-shirt rings were a staple of my wardrobe for a long, long time. What can I say, I was a child of the 80s.

  14. Kandy says:

    My favorite was an outfit that I purchased for my first day of high school with money I earned babysitting. A tartan plaid kilt, Aran sweater and knee socks, which I wore in spite of the 75 degrees.

    1. Oh, what we do for fashion!

  15. Rebecca says:

    I’m from Australia and we generally have uniforms all through school but I was lucky enough to attend a school that allowed the Year 12s (final year of high school) to wear casual dress. I found some of the old ‘grandpa’ style cardigans that my mum knit years back and I loved throwing them on to stay warm and cosy during the commute to school.

  16. Kristin says:

    This is so sweet!! I wish I could remember back to school outfits but the only lasting memory is how fun it was to wear new favorites.

  17. Jane says:

    Oh this is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing!
    I wore a uniform at school, but my lasting memory from the first day of school ‘uniform’ was my friends comparing their tan against me, the one who stayed the same year round!

  18. craftyone says:

    During a time when I liked wearing pink clothing, I wore head-to-toe pink. πŸ™‚

  19. Theresa says:

    This is so wonderful! One of my fondest memories of a back to school outfit is of a beautiful courderoy dress that my mother made for me in autumn colors. I wore it so much that it started getting holes. I remember crying when I had to retire it! πŸ™‚

  20. Deb says:

    My most memorable school outfit was a plaid mini with a matching purse with chain shoulder strap.

  21. Gail L. says:

    I had a uniform for my school life, my memories are always of the horrible brown lace up shoes we had to wear. My Mom always insisted that we wore brand new shoes on the first day of school – a not-so-good memory. Absolutely loved "casual days" when we could wear jeans and T-shirts :-).

    1. Congratulations, Gail L.! You’re our contest winner! Shoot us an email at and we’ll send you your prize!

  22. Maaike van Geij says:

    My most memorable school outfit was a dark blue quite minimalistic pinafore. I think my mother bought it in France. It was so lovely. Would love to participate in give away!!

  23. Denise B says:

    OH my! I had bell bottom jeans, a gauzy drawstring neckline blouse and a silk scarf tied around my head. Unfortunately my Mom still has the photo. This was in the late 60’s or early 70’s.

  24. Laura says:

    I started school each year with a Limited Too plaid skort and matching sweater vest and never mind that school started in August!

    1. Limited Too?! Whoa! You’re taking me back! haha!

  25. Karen says:

    I too wore a uniform to school–first a jumper, then a skirt and blouse, but always plaid! But there were often new wool knee socks and new shoes–I remember how I loved my first pair of Bass Weejuns and wore them to school with a pair of cabled knee socks. Oh, the preppy years!

    1. Thanks for sharing! Uniforms save a lot of time on the ‘what to wear’ to school woes!

  26. C. Kirkman says:

    My most memorable back to school outfit was a dress designed and sewn by my older brother’s girlfriend. She had graduated from Rhode Island School of Design. It was a beautiful yellow print on a white cotton.
    It was gorgeous and made just for me.

    1. That’s such a sweet memory! Handmade gifts are always high on our list of memory worthy:)

  27. Jessica F says:

    Is it bad that I can’t remember an absolute favorite? I think there was this one time I had to wear a flower girl dress from my aunts wedding, it was flouncy, poofy and sooo 80s with my new perm lol.

    Thanks for the giveaway. πŸ™‚

    1. Oh my! Gotta love the 80’s flower girl dresses! LOTS of poof!

  28. Tom says:

    It was 1976 – the year of our nation’s 200th birthday. My mother bought me a pair of red and white striped overalls and a solid blue shirt. It just so happened that my high school’s colors were Red & White and of course I was in band so every Friday for Pep Rally she insisted I wear the "outfit".

  29. Janice urffer says:

    My hunter green mini dress from the 60’s and white go-go boots

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