The traditional Guernsey sweater has a story to tell. The rib at the top of the sleeve is said to represent a sailing ship's rope ladder in the rigging, the raised seam across the shoulder a rope and the garter stitch panel, waves breaking upon the beach. The traditional Guernsey sweater was originally a local fisherman's working garment, hence the diamond under the arm for ease of movement and extra strength. It is knitted with close stitches from tightly twisted wool and this gives it its ability to withstand sea spray and rain.
Traditional Guernsey sweaters were knitted by the womenfolk of the fishing and farming families of the islands, when many earned their living from the sea or the land. The distinctive pattern was handed down from generation to generation and the knitting skills passed on from mother to daughter.
To this day our traditional Guernsey knitwear is produced using age old techniques that have been tried and tested for more than a century. See all our Guernsey styles here.
The traditional Guernsey sweater has always been made from the best English worsted wool since the 16th century, when licenses were granted by the crown to import wool from England. Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots both owned Guernsey knitwear. Mary Queen of Scots even wore Guernsey stockings at her execution. Channel Jumper still only knit with the best English worsted wool and have presented their traditional Guernsey knitwear to several of today's British Royal Family as gifts when they have visited the island of Alderney.
The Guernsey had become well known by the 19th century. Nelson recommended it to the Admiralty as a valuable article of Naval clothing and, in 1857, the soldiers of the garrison in Halifax, Nova Scotia were issued with Guernseys as part of their winter equipment.
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