Sidmouth Woolleys Knitting Project

George Woolley crpd Jack Collier crpd Tom Westlake crpd2

The Sidmouth ‘Woolleys’ Knitting Project began as part of the TourFish project. TourFish brought together fishing communities from coastal towns of Sidmouth in Devon, Hastings in Sussex, Guilvinec in Brittany, France and Arnemuiden and Middelburg in Zeeland, Holland. See below for the background story.

Knitting Patterns

At February 2016: We have created three knitting patterns for the sweaters shown above worn by, from Right to Left, George Woolley of Sidmouth, Jack Collier of Sidmouth, and Tom Westlake of Beer.

Since creating the first patterns and knitting the first ‘Woolley’ sweaters, we encountered some issues with each pattern which we had to work on to resolve. We now have patterns for the ‘Tom Westlake’ and ‘Jack Collier’ jumpers finished and ready to buy. We hope to have the ‘George Woolley’ pattern ready very soon.

Order A Sidmouth ‘Woolley’

We now have a small team of volunteer knitters who have become part of the ‘Woolleys Knitting Network’ and are knitting sweaters to order.

The sweaters are knitted using sustainable 75% wool 6-ply sock yarn and are available in all colours.

We currently have the ‘Jack Collier’ and the ‘Tom Westlake’ available. Each sweater takes up to 6 weeks to be produced from point of order.

Visit our shop to order a jumper or a pattern, or if you would like to enquire about ordering or ask us any questions please contact us at

Collier Westlake

Knitting Network

Please contact us about joining the knitting network. We now have a small group of knitters as part of the network. Contact us at for more info.

Dutch Patterns and Sweaters

We are also selling the Dutch Arnemuiden fisherman’s sweater, part of the range of sweaters from fishing towns and villages across the province of Zeeland in Holland.

You can order the Arnemuiden jumpers at our SHOP

We hope to have the patterns for the Dutch sweaters available to buy soon.

Arnemuiden red


In Arnemuiden they have been promoting regeneration and diversification through a unique project that over the past three years has looked at the sweaters that were worn by fishermen over 100 years ago in Arnemuiden and in other coastal fishing villages across Zeeland. An open think tank was set up by Middelburg council to connect creative and entrepreneurial women. From that think tank evolved the Arnemuiden sweater project. Each village and fishing community in Zeeland had their own pattern, and many fishermen created there own patterns that were knitted into sweaters that they wore out to sea each day. A number of patterns have now been traced across coastal towns and villages in Zeeland and the Arnemuiden group have now reverse engineered those patterns and knitted the jumpers that were worn many the fishermen.

Find out more at

062 _LDR2297 Zeeland jumper today Arnemuiden fisherman 1910 Zeeland fishermen around 1910

Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub and Sidmouth Trawlers visited Middelburg in January 2015 and met with the founders of the Arnemuiden women’s knitting group at Middelburg council. The patterns were discussed and it was proposed that a similar project would be launched in Sidmouth. On returning to Sidmouth articles were released in the local press requesting any old photographs of the fishermen of Sidmouth and Beer in order to begin to try to identify sweaters of Sidmouth and Beer knitted in a similar way to those of Zeeland and worn by the fishermen.

We had an incredible response with a great number of photographs being leant to us. From these photographs we began to work with the women of Arnemuiden to reverse engineer the patterns into knitting patterns to be used now.

We selected three initial sweaters, the George Woolley, the Jack Collier, and the Tom Westlake. The first sweaters were knitted in time for Sidmouth Sea Fest 2015 where we were joined by the knitting group and community of Arnemuiden and where we staged with them a catwalk of the sweaters of Zeeland, Sidmouth and Beer and an exhibition of the fishing heritage of Zeeland, Sidmouth and Beer linked to the sweaters.

We continue to work with the Arnemuiden womens group on the project.

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