Thu, Jun 30, 2022
It's officially summer, but someone hasn't told the Irish weather yet! (Although it is actually closer to a typical summer to have sunshine, clouds and showers than it is to have bright sunshine). (And it's also typical for an Irish person to mention the weather nice and early in any correspondence!)
As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I have been working on an Aran weight version of the Beirt Beanie, which I previously had available in double-knitting weight. It is finally ready for test-knitting - I just announced the call on social media, so you are definitely in time if you are interested in participating.
I knit the hats pictured in Donegal Yarns Soft Donegal, and Aran Tweed, Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, and Quince & Co. Lark. Any Aran or heavy worsted weight yarn should work well with the pattern, and it is a one-skein knit for the yarns mentioned. The beanie is knit in the round, on two sizes of circular needle (4.5mm and 5mm, or US 7 & 8). I re-worked the crown from the previous pattern three times in total, but I am quite pleased with the final version. I had a little vote on my social media platforms as to which (of two versions) to go for, but I think I'll provide both versions to my newsletter subscribers in the future.
I've continued to make a few knitting tutorials on Instagram Reels and on TikTok; the latest ones were on weaving in the end of a top-down sweater, and weaving in the end of a hat. I will keep adding to these as I go along - although my cat is doing her best, in various ways, to stop me!!
Wed, Jun 1, 2022
In this past month, I finally reworked some previously published patterns of mine to make them available for digital download for the first time. They were both originally published in 'Your Crochet & Knitting' magazine, and were designed to work with yarn kits and knitting needles which came with the magazine. Both designs are worked flat, using fingering or 4-ply weight yarn, and are perfect for using up smaller amounts of those yarns.
First up is a baby & toddler hat, which comes in 2 sizes. One of my favourite things about this design is that the black and white chevron stripes allow any other two colours to work together above and below them. Having said that, it would be interesting to see a version where someone used completely different colours for the stripes too, but so far I haven't seen that! (Don't forget to tag your finished knits #aranaccessories if you like to share them on social media).
Also newly published online is a sweet little seatpad, which is a great introduction to colourwork. It uses slip stitches so that you only ever use one colour at a time, a technique which is also called mosaic knitting. In fact, I liked this technique so much that I used it again in the Easy Tweed Beanie knitting pattern!
I have also been working on my Beirt Beanie hat pattern to make the design suitable for Aran weight yarn (it currently uses DK or double knitting weight yarn). It is nearly ready for testing, but I want to make the crown decreases work in a more pleasing way than they currently do. It's one of those things that will probably be easier to work out on a hat, than on a knitting software programme - but I'll have to knit the rest of the hat first to get to the crown ; )
Sat, Apr 30, 2022
April came and went rather quickly, didn't it? I was really happy to round off this month with a pattern of mine being published in the STEAM issue of Knotions online magazine. STEAM stands for Science Technology Engineering Art and Maths - it was a great theme to get ideas flowing!
You can see my contribution here - the Aranacci Shawl. Aran + Fibonacci = Aranacci (that's how my thinking process went!) I've been fascinated by the Fibonacci sequence for some time, and it was a pleasure to work it into a design. Perhaps the introduction to the shawl explains this best:
"The Aranacci Shawl is an easy-to-knit, reversible, (slightly asymmetric) triangular shawl; with a hugs-and-kisses cable running along one edge, and plenty of relaxing garter stitch in the main body of the shawl. Increases are worked using simple yarnovers, which create both an inner border of eyelets, and a decorative feature of eyelet rows which take place in a Fibonacci sequence. The eyelets have one garter ridge between them at first, then two, then three, then five, and so on following the Fibonacci sequence.
The Fibonacci sequence (named after an Italian mathematician who first described it in the West in 1202) is a series of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two that precede it. So 1 is followed by 2 (1 + 1), then 3 (1 + 2), 5 (2 + 3), 8 (3 + 5), and so on. This sequence is found to occur mysteriously often not only in mathematics, but also in biology (e.g. flower petal arrangement, tree branches, snail shell curvature). In our case, the shawl finishes with a section of 34 garter stitch ridges, but if you have plenty of yarn, you could continue knitting theoretically forever (well, maybe with another section of 55 garter stitch ridges!)
The reversible Aran cable actually only has three different rows in the whole cable, yet looks much more impressive than that would suggest! The shawl overall strikes a balance between relaxing garter stitch and an interesting (but not too taxing)
Sat, Apr 2, 2022
As you can see from the photo of hats, I also was busy knitting and writing a new pattern! I came up with the Easy Tweed Beanie because I really wanted a way of using up my little leftovers of beautiful yarn in a colourful and useful way. I had written a cushion pattern for 'Your Crochet & Knitting' magazine last summer using this slip stitch pattern, and I really wanted to use it again in hat format! I was so happy that my test knitters had really positive things to say about the pattern; a common theme was that it was soothing to knit, while having the fun element of seeing the colourplay.
Wed, Mar 23, 2022
I've always been interested in Ogham writing - did you know it's one of the oldest hieroglyphic languages in the world? The Ogham scarf takes inspiration from this Celtic hieroglyphic language (which is pronounced Oam or Ome) - the earliest known form of written language in Ireland.
It was originally carved onto the corners of standing stone pillars, many of which can still be seen today in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The carved letters are read from bottom to top.
The Ogham scarf features the Irish words 'Le grá'/With love, which repeat three times in total.
Fri, Nov 12, 2021
The Inishere Shawl combines traditional Aran stitches in an easy-to-wear rectangular shape. The center panel features intertwining diamonds, like the patchwork fields of the designer’s Aran home, filled with seed stitch and garter stitch, and a ‘hugs and kisses’ cable running along each side. The seed stitch from the diamond centers is echoed in the shawl border. This shawl highlights the joy of Aran knitting: there is something different to do in each row, yet once you can read your knitting you can put away your pattern thanks to the repetitive nature of each individual element.
Thu, Oct 28, 2021
The Beirt Beanie design was in my head for quite a while - and one of the things that delayed its arrival was the fact that I found it hard to pick a name for it!
Thu, Sep 23, 2021
I recently had a lovely collaboration with Sophie from Sionnach Yarns; she contacted me about working up a hat in her Aran wool, and I actually had two designs in mind, so created two new knitting patterns.
Thu, Nov 19, 2020
I finally got some of my other hat designs down, and am happy to say that I have already released the Salthill Beanie, and the matching Salthill Wristwarmers. Salthill is a lovely area in Galway which has a great walk by the seaside, and these accessories are perfect for keeping you cosy on a windy day by the Atlantic!
Tue, Jul 7, 2020
I can hardly believe it's been so long since I last posted. Mostly this has been because I've been having IT difficulties uploading content, so fingers crossed it works this time.