Knit, Inc

Contemporary Irish Knits Review

Posted on: September 14, 2011

Here’s a review of Carol Feller‘s fantastic new book, Contemporary Irish Knits. I’m excited to do this review, I’m a huge admirer of Carol’s talent. Her designs are so beautiful, and are all in a fantastic range of sizes. This book was inspired by the three Irish mills left in operation and the yarns they produce. Her designs are all a modern take on what is considered traditional Irish knitting, lots of yummy cables. One of  my other favourite things about this book is that if not all, then most of the patterns are seamless. I love seamless. Sewing is not my friend 🙂

All photos are ©Joseph Feller and are taken from the pattern pages on Ravelry. Joseph is a fantastic photographer, the book is peppered with beautiful pictures of the mills and the Irish countryside.

Carol starts with a section on the origin of Irish knitting, and moves on to fit and gauge with an interesting section on ease.

The first mill is Kerry Woollen Mills.There’s some gorgeous shots of the outside & inside of the mill and a brief history too.

The first pattern in this section is Killorglin:

I love the cable pattern, it looks really snug and warm for the colder weather. The high collar and zipper would definitely keep out the cold wind!
The next pattern is a really gorgeous skirt, Tralee:

Isn’t it gorgeous? So sexy and refined. I love it. Unfortunately, not one for me to knit, but this would look just amazing on a slimmer lady. I love the small details, such as knitting it on a tighter than normal gauge so as to prevent the dreaded “butt sag” and the cables hidden in the vents at the sides of the skirt. So clever and sophisticated.

The next pattern is Listowel:

Such an adorable little bolero. This would look really pretty over a cute dress. Alice wants one for Christmas.

Next is Caherciveen:

This is a really great pattern for boys. It’s hard to find patterns for older boys, most patterns seem to stop once they hit 2 or 3. As if they wouldn’t wear handknits. This looks perfect for the rough and tumble of Autumn! There’s a great hood on the back too.

The next section is based on yarns from Cushendale Woollen Mills. I adore Cushendale yarn, really reasonably priced and so lovely to knit with. This is my favourite section of the book. Again there’s some lovely photos and a description of the mill and the yarns it produces.
The first pattern is Knockmore:

A really great mens sweater. I love the saddle shoulders and the way the stitch pattern runs all the way down the arm. I’d love to knit this for hubby. This could be his Christmas Sweater…

The next pattern is Ballyragget:

A really lovely twisted stitch hat. I love hats, so comfy and warm on cold mornings! Another definite make for me.

On we go to Dangan:

Isn’t this gorgeous? I love it. It’s a square blanket/shawl with a really lovely and effective feather and fan edging. So lovely. And I have the exact yarn in my stash! Begging to be knit!

This design is Belville:

This sweater is fab. Slipped stitches make the colourwork pattern which is so effective, but it’s the little details I love such as the folded under hem and cuffs to make it look really neat. Just gorgeous.

Another lovely boys sweater, Ballinagree:

You’d know Carol has four boys, her boys designs are really lovely and wearable! This looks really warm and snug, and would look really smart on a little boy. The collar is really cool, but I’m not 100% sure I’d make this, there’s an awful lot of reverse stockinette! If I did make it, I think I’d end up knitting it inside out so I could knit instead of purl!

The next pattern is Kilnamanagh:

Such a cute bag! I’ve never felted before (except by accident) so this could be a good first attempt. I’d knit this to match the purple sweater above, but then I like to be matchy matchy sometimes.

On to Donegal Yarns, best known for their fabulous tweed yarn. More lovely pictures of the mill and surrounds, with a description of the mill.

The first pattern is a star guest, Killybegs:

This pattern is beyond clever. There is no shaping, the honeycomb cable pattern does it all for you! It’s such a flattering silhouette, I’m dying to make this.

It also comes with a matching beret, Bundoran:

Really cute and cheeky beret. Very dapper!

This pattern has got a lot of folks talking, Ardara:

This truly is an amazing garment. It would take a lot of commitment to knit it, but it’s something that you’d wear all the time. It would be so lovely with jeans as pictured, but I think it would also look really smart over a blouse & work trousers. The colour of the yarn is just divine, too. I adore the cables in this cardigan.

The next pattern is Glengesh:

I love this. it’s really dramatic with the wide cable in the centre back, but I bet it’s also really snuggly and warm due to the extra fabric from the cables. Wrap this around over a nice dress and you’ll be the belle of the ball! Definitely one I’m going to make.

The next pattern is Straboy:

Isn’t this a fantastic picture? I love it. The sweater is amazeballs too. So intricate and traditional, yet brought smack bang up to date with the wide centre band that flows around the neck and into the hood at the back. Just brilliant.

The final pattern in this section is one I’ve already started knitting, Rossbeg:

So cute. Alice can’t wait for me to be done so she can wear it! It’s flying off the needles, a really quick and easy pattern to remember, yet really effective.

Carol moves on now to independent Irish dyers. She mentions two dyers in particular, Dublin Dye Company (facebook link) and Hedgehog Fibres, both of whom produce really lush yarns. Mmm.

Using Dublin Dye Company yarn is the Dalkey Cowl and Mitts set:

Really nice and simple cowl and mitts that would be perfect for cooler Autumn days. Great for gift giving too, they’d make a great present for someone. Squishy and warm!

Using Hedgehog Fibres, there’s the Rathcooney Hat and Fingerless Mittens:

I love the cocoon stich, and the way it almost grows out of the rib that runs up the mitts and hat. Really lovely. I’d say you’d get lots of wear out of this set. I like the hat especially, it looks really snug.

So there you go! Isn’t it a great book? Showcasing the best in Irish yarns and Irish design. Who said Irish knitting was all about Aran sweaters? This should convince you that arans are only scratching the surface of the vibrant knitting scene here in Ireland. Thanks so much Carol for such a great book, I’ll be knitting furiously!

Good knitting!


12 Responses to "Contemporary Irish Knits Review"

Oooh, nice overview! There are three or four absolute standouts from this for me, but it's a great collection overall. Do you reckon you'll tackle any of them for yourself after you've the Rossbeg done for A?Torn between getting this for a yarnie friend abroad who'd love it and keeping it for myself.. hmm..

Sinead, You've got me blushing :0Lovely review, thanks!

What a great review of a fabulous book. I have been looking thru this book almost everyday since the book launch. I am definitely going to that skirt, but I am far from slim, but thank you in advance and Carol did say that I would look good in the skirt ; )

I tell you, I love Irish knitting and the traditional patterns, like the cables and the Aran sweaters, but this just kicks it up a notch. It makes me wish I lived someplace cold where I could get a lot more use out of these patterns.

Lovely review – I'm feeling very inspired, looking at some of these patterns.I've 1200 yards of this lovely three ply in three different shades of brown alpaca off of a New York farm. I've been saving it for a wedding shawl and want to bring in something symbolic of the Dublin hubby-to-be….those shawls got me thinking in a whole new way!

Great review! I thought Ardara would have been picked for the cover. It's on my must knit list too. I even have the wool!

Now how do I live up to this review. You've set a high bar!

Great review! I'd been contemplating getting the book but after that overview it's moved from 'should look into picking it up at some stage' to 'must buy now'!

OMG! I am not one for knitting mags or books, but this one? This one I might just have to get to survive!!!!

Great review. I love everything in this book too. It's so cool to have a book of fab patterns where it's possible to get all the yarn too. Looking forward to seeing what you do with the patterns from the book.

Great review, Sinéad! I love Carol's patterns, and this book looks like a definite WIN 🙂

[…] Ballyragget Hat by Carol Feller from her faboo book Contemporary Irish Knits. (I reviewed the book here) I knit it using some Cushendale DK I had in my stash, in Charcoal. Yummy yarn, it was lovely to […]

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