oof, sorry i haven’t posted in a few days—david arrived in albany on friday evening and from there the weekend was a bit of a blur, getting everything in order at mom’s house so we could head home with confidence that she’d get by alright on her own.
and we’ve landed here in ohio just fine, but i have a LOT of catching up to do before my rhinebeck trip in ten days. and guess what? you will benefit from me being swamped this week. yes, i have another book review and giveaway to keep you entertained while i catch my breath. i promise i’ll be back on wednesday to announce the winner of the weekend bag giveaway and get you all caught up on our knitting adventures.
in contemporary irish knits, carol explores knitting in ireland region by region, showcasing irish mills and wool yarns unique to each area.
these delicious wool products are then featured in the book’s 18 original garments, designed by the author and accompanied by beautiful photos shot by her husband, joseph feller.
carol starts us off by introducing the traditions of irish knitting—the textures and styles unique to the island and how they relate to irish culture.
she then spends a few pages discussing the importance of good fit and how to achieve it.
this is an important section to read as most of the following garments are of heavier weight and texture, therefore requiring a different amount of ease than say, your basic fingering weight cardi.
the garments included are beautifully sculpted with the textures and details you’d expect from a collection of aran knits
but updated and modernized through contemporary color choices, hand-dyed yarn selections, and a plethora of eye-catching details.
the patterns helpfully include both charted and written instructions for the motifs along with clearly-drawn schematic for a generous range of sizes.
garments include sweaters, jackets, and accessories for women, but also for men and children as well
i love this handsome sweater—it has simple lines with a single featured detail, all knit up in that smashing wild salmon colorway. so arresting as shown, but i can also easily imagine it in the gray, brown, or dull green that most men would prefer, without losing any of its handsome good looks.
speaking of handsome, the boy’s sweaters included are just that. rugged, warm, and tough for tumbling around the yard or hiking with scouts, these selections speak of a designer who knows her business. with four boys of her own, carol certainly does know a little something about what they like.
but she’s no slouch in the girls department either—how cute are these little girlie things?
omg i just love this jacket . . . or is it those apple dumpling cheeks i like so much??
as mentioned earlier, the book focuses on several regions of ireland in turn for a closer look at the types of yarns produced by each and designs that suit those yarn types.
donegal, for instance, is famous for its tweed yarns and carol takes us through a bit of the history and process of making them, then treats us to a variety of patterns using the specialty tweed in natural tones as well as updated colors.
likewise for the cushendale yarns, where we get to peek inside the mill for a glimpse of the spinning equipment and afterward, are treated to the lovely results of taking up these yarns upon the needles.
most of these yarns are commercially available to us, though you may need to search a bit to find them. not to worry—the book includes a resource section at the back to lead the way
since color is one of the ways that traditional knits can be updated to reflect contemporary taste, a discussion of hand dyers based in ireland is included as well, with patterns to show of their artistry.
and while i have focused mostly on the book’s sweater options, there are a number of great accessory pieces to knit with the yarns discussed.
ireland can be a damp and chilly place after all, so hats, mitts, shawls, and scarves are needed for every set of pockets, especially when exploring the island’s heavenly outdoors.
and well, with fall coming our way, exploring yarn through small projects can be a productive way to get used to being indoors for the longer evenings ahead.
now i bet you know what’s coming next and if you guessed that it’s another giveaway, you’d be correct! wiley has generously provided a copy of contemporary irish knits to go to one lucky winner.
you know the drill—leave a comment at the end of this post by 9 pm EST on thursday and you’ll be in the running. we’ll announce on friday or saturday morning.
thank you for your patience with my getting behind a bit; i’ll be back in a couple of days, hopefully a little further on top of the pile.