Sunday, December 5, 2010

Making a knitted scarf look different.

Here are two simple ways of making a plain scarf look different.
Turn back the bottom to make pockets. Crochet a decorative seam or just top sew the edge.
Make a cosy hood by folding the scarf in half and joining the two edges at the centre.

The ball of yarn / wool.

Start the ball of wool by pulling the end from the center. Not only does this stop the ball of wool bouncing around the floor, it also keeps the wool clean. You can also put it in a bag at this stage.

Joining in a new ball of yarn.

Measure the amount of yarn that is left. To complete a a row of knitting, without a join in the centre, you will need four times the width of your knitting. If the yarn does run out in the middle of a row, more than often it really is worth taking the stitches back to the start of the row

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How to read a chart.

A chart may look like a difficult crossword puzzle, but its a very simple way of reading a fair isle or multi stitch pattern. Each square on the chart represents one stitch. Each horizontal row equals one row of knitting.
Always begin a pattern reading the chart from right to left, bottom to top.
So the right side of your knitting is row 1 of the chart and every following odd row 3, 5.7 etc.
The wrong side of your knitting is row 2 of the chart and every following even row 2, 4, 6 etc. and read left to right.

Purchasing yarn

Purchasing yarn
When purchasing yarn it is always best to buy all the yarn you will need to finish that particular garment and check that the dye lots are all the same. Dye lots change, and even though the dye number is the same the shade of the colour can vary hugely. This can show up badly on a completed garment. If you have to knit a sweater in different dye lots, a good way to avoid seeing the shade difference is to knit the back in one shade lot and the front and sleeves in the other.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Teddy Bear Accessory

The teddy bear aran sweater is an ideal gift for someone who likes to collect teddy bear accessories or a perfect gift for that special bear that needs a new sweater.These teddy bear sweaters are knitted to my own original traditional designs. At the moment I have three different patterns. If you find it hard to choose one just treat your teddy bear to all three! There are different colours to choose from and I will be introducing more. The teddy bear aran sweaters are knitted in Bunmahon,Co Waterford, Ireland, a small village overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The aran’s are knitted by local people in their own homes which supports a more ecologically sound way of life. So give your teddy bear a treat, a new aran sweater, he’s worth it !
Buy this pattern on or buy the finished article on

Handmade Tea Cosy

Buy a unique tea cosy from our range of Irish handmade crafts. This tea cosy pattern is an old pattern I found in my grandmothers knitting bag along with her rusting knitting needles and odd pieces of yarn. In her day new yarn or wool was costly and unaffordable so wool sweaters or jumpers were never discarded, no matter what the condition. Any knitted garments were undone, stitches ripped out and then re knitted. It was a tedious job and there was a certain amount of skill involved to insure that as much of the ripped yarn could be saved as possible. So I am following in her tradition for some of the way. The yarn used is new but none of my tea cosy’s are the same! This pattern dates back to the 1940,s or so. These tea cosy’s are very practical as they are made with yarn that has a wool content. This means they are washable, hardwearing and long lasting and most importantly they keep the tea in your tea pot hot! I have chosen demure colour contrasts and some mad ones. Hope you like our exclusive tea cosy range.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Heirloom Shawl

Check out my new Heirloom gift page on my Wool Shop. I will choose the gifts for this page based on the statement below.

Welcome to our heirloom range of Hand Made items from Ireland. We expect to build a range of goods from different craft disciplines. All the pieces are made by hand in the homes of art and craft artisans around the county of Waterford on the south coast of Ireland.
The creation of each item imparts unique and individual qualities to that piece of handicraft. The person who creates your heirloom piece will have evolved their skill from family and community, where these skills are passed from generation to generation.
By buying an heirloom piece you are receiving a crafted piece of our community, which you can pass on to your family. You are also supporting a more ecologically sound way of life where people are working in their own homes and connecting with the world through the wonderful technology of the World Wide Web.

Tension Squares

If the tension square you knit is too small, use a bigger size needle. If the tension square you knit is too big, use a smalller size needle.

Knitting yarn information

Remember in most cases a ball band will give you all the information you need to knit your garment, from the yds/mts, to the needle sizes, to the tension. Read all ball bands carefully, they can save you a lot of work.

Switching yarns

If you are using a different yarn than the one sugested, compare the tension square on the recommended ball band to the tension square on the yarn you wish to use.

Can I use a different yarn?

If you are unsure about using a different yarn than the yarn recommended for the pattern, just check the ball bands and make sure the needle size suggested is the same, or check the pattern for the needle sizes.

How much yarn to buy

When you are not using the recommended yarn for a garment, you can judge the amount to purchase by the length of yarn shown on the ball bands .

For example: 100 grams (3 1/2ozs) of wool will have less length than 100grams (3 1/2ozs) cotton.

If 100grams (3 1/2ozs) of wool has 156mts (169yds) and the pattern recommends 10 balls you will need 1560mts (1690yds) of yarn.

If equivalent weight in 100grams (3 1/2ozs) cotton has 230mts (249yds) you will need only 7 balls of cotton 7 x 230mts = 1610mts (7 x 249yds = 1743yds)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Aran Sweater History

The Aran sweater in Ireland is called an geansaí árann. It is a style of jumper or sweater as they are called in tourist shops, that takes its name from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland It is also known locally as a fisherman sweater. This I think describes the true history of the Aran. In years past it was the wives of island fishermen who knitted these sweaters. They used unwashed, untreated,undyed wool from sheep which retained its natural lanolin oils, this insured that the geansaí would be totally waterproof against the harsh elements of working at sea. It also guaranteed warmth. These fisherman sweaters were never washed in soap and water as this would have washed away the natural oils.The aran geansaí would be cream coloured báinín to start with but with wear and lack of a warm wash the colour would have been a murky grey. Up to the 1970s, the island women spun their own wool on spinning wheels.It has been said that each aran sweater that was knitted on the islands by the different families had its own original, unique pattern. The reason for this is sad in so that if a fisherman was lost at sea and was found, maybe weeks later, on the beach, his body could be identified. by the stitch pattern on his geansaí.The honeycomb stitch is a symbol of the hard-working bee.The cable (a huge part of a fisherman’s life) is a symbol of safety and luck when fishing.The diamond stitch is a symbol of success and wealth.The basket stitch symbolizes a fisherman’s basket and the hope of a plentiful catch.In the past, the majority of aran sweaters and were knitted by hand, today the majority of items for sale in Ireland and elsewhere are machine knit.. There are very few people still knitting sweaters by hand on a commercial basis.Machine-knitted sweaters tend to use wool blends instead of 100% wools and have less complex patterns, since many of the traditional stitches cannot be reproduced this way. They are also the least expensive option. Hand-knit sweaters tend to be more tightly knit, to have more complex stitch patterns and to be longer-lasting and they attract a significant price premium. By holding them up to light, the difference between the machine knit and hand knit is evident.