Gansey Socks Pattern


The Gansey was a beautiful, rugged pullover worn by the fishermen of England and Scotland in the 19th century, knitted by the womenfolk.  The knit-purl patterns and clever cast-ons used in these garments are engaging and enjoyable to knit, and inspired this sock pattern.


The sock is worked circularly, patterned with traditional motifs, and features a tiny cable down the back of the leg. The center pattern motif is a “starfish”, flanked by diagonal lines of purls.  The pattern offers three length: anklet, crew, and mid-calf. The foot length can be knitted to your measurement.

The sock is sized for a Woman’s Medium and begins with a Technique Box of the Channel Island Cast-on, illustrated with photos of the English method of this cast-on. There is a chart for the patterning. A Theory Box is included to elaborate on the German (aka Square or Dutch) heel. Another Technique Box is included to show step-by-step how to finish the toe with Kitchener Stitch.

A list of abbreviations is included as well as a book list for further reading. The schematic is shown at the end.  These socks are of one color.

The pattern is suitable for an intermediate knitter.  These socks can be knitted in traditional Guernsey yarn (for a heavy warm sock) or conventional sock yarn (for a lighter sock).  You can purchase the kit here.

Featured Techniques

The German (aka Dutch or Square) Heel, The Wide Toe, Kitchener Stitch

You may also wish to view my video on the Channel Island Cast-on that is used in this pattern.


Woman’s Medium



In St st: 28 sts and 44 rows per 4″ (10 cms)




Two 100g skeins of Guernsey Wool (246 yards per 100 g skein) or sport weight yarn for a firm, warm sock.

You can substitute a sock yarn for a lighter weight sock.


US size 2 (2.75 mm) dpns, or size needed to obtain gauge.