back 2 back fun 4 U

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events

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.

but for today . . . we have a new offering from designer carol feller and publisher john wiley & sons, inc.

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.

562 thoughts on “back 2 back fun 4 U

  1. Wow! Love this book. I’m doing some cables for coffee cup cozies for a class I’m teaching in November and couldn’t help but think “would that fit in three inches of worsted…?” Maybe not, but what a great book! It’s going into my queue. Thank you for all of your reviews.

  2. Wow..Wow. I have never left a comment before. I am irish and I love your review of the book and your blog is one i read all the time. I have purchased your patterns and enjoyed knitting them. Thank you for all your time and work you put into everything you do. I love that you love life and your work.

    I plan to purchase this book asap.

  3. Wow, what a great offer! Saw this recently and really admired the designs.
    Thanks for the chance!

  4. Gorgeous book on my new favorite topic. Thanks for the wonderful review and a chance to win a copy.

  5. That book is so gorgeous! I have admired it from afar and would love to win!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Oh how I love Irish knits and the book looks wonderful! I would love to add it to my collection.

  7. I have put several of these patterns into my Ravelry queue and would love this book to actually make one of these days. Thanks, Anne, and welcome back home.

  8. Beautiful patterns! I too have a soft spot for the little girl in the red cardi with the rosy cheeks!

  9. ooh – I just ‘faved’ a pile of these patterns as I surfed Ravelry last night. I want to make them all. Thanks for offering another great giveaway, Anne! (crossing fingers for all I’m worth.)

  10. Oooooh, these look super cozy and warm! I have a couple of dear friends who are going to Ireland in April who could use some new knits if I win : )

  11. OMG i love aran knitting and if i don’t win this book i will be buying it to add to my knitting library…. i love that you post and review books on your blog

  12. Oh dear – what can be nicer than a decent tweed yarn to be knit in cables combined with a cup of tea? Then wind and weather can’t harm you at all! The patterns are adorable!

  13. Looks and sounds like an incredible historical reference book on the very perfect subjust of Aran knitting! Gotta have it!

  14. What a wonderful and lovely book, I’d sooo love to win =) I already have some of the patterns in my Ravelry queue as I’m hugely into cables (and bobbles) right now. Great review, thank you very much.

    Kind regards,

  15. Ohhh That book looks fabulous!!! You had me at the cover actually. Wow.

    Thanks for the giveaway!!


    PS – please pick me 🙂

  16. Just like everyone else, I, too would love to win this book. Thank you for offering a chance to win it.

  17. I am sending out prayers to your mom of good health and recuperation and would also really like to win this book. Carol Feller is a great designer with a beautiful eye towards garment construction. Thanks for giving us the chance to win this giveaway. Enjoy your day.

  18. I would love to win the book. I am campaigning for a trip to Ireland next year, i need all the ammunition I can get! thanks for the opportunity!

  19. Great information about a great-looking book. Wonderful patterns! How fun–back-to-back giveaways!

  20. Thanks for the review and giveaway Anne! Love the patterns in the book, especially the textures!

  21. What a great book with gorgeous patterns. I, too, love all the background information. Thanks for sharing with us!!!

  22. Looks like a good book with wonderful patterns and good information/history. Thanks for the inside views. This will go on my wish list.

  23. oh my – this book is just perfect for fall! I’m always drawn to delicious thick cabled goodies as soon as the weather cools. thanks for this review! the book is now on my short list!

  24. Coveting this book! I still have a bunch of tweedy yarn from my trip to Ireland four years ago. We started in Derry and ended in Galway – watching the weavers in Donegal was amazing, as was the endless landscape throughout the whole trip.

  25. I’ve been admiring Carol Feller’s work for a long time, and this book looks amazing !

  26. Hope I win! Some of those yarns pictured would look great knitted up in those latest sweaters of yours…..hmm…….

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