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Contemporary Irish Knits

A New Look at Irish Knitting

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Contemporary Irish Knits

Contemporary Irish Knits by Carol Feller.


Irish knitting is known for the twisty cables and textured stitches found on Aran sweaters (though those "classic" garments were a construct of the 20th century, not a longstanding knitting tradition) and the tweedy yarns produced in that country.

Carol Feller combines these traditions with a modern twist in her book Contemporary Irish Knits, which uses classic and more modern yarns, lots of cables and some innovative styling to produce more wearable cables to suit today's tastes. You'll recognize some of the pattern stitches used in this book, but you'll also see them used in ways you might not have thought of before.

About the Book

  • Pages: 160
  • Format: paperback with flaps
  • Number of patterns: 20
  • Skill level: none given, but most are best suited to intermediate or advanced knitters
  • Sizing: patterns for women offer seven sizes while those for men and children have five; actual bust measurements, finished garment measurements and ease suggestions are provided to help you choose the right size and get the best fit
  • Illustrations: full-color photographs
  • Publication date: August 2011

The Patterns

The book is arranged based on the kind of yarn that was used for each project. Feller profiles three traditional makers of Irish wool yarns -- Kerry Woollen Mills, Cushendale Woollen Mills and Donegal Yarns -- and provides several patterns using yarn from each of those companies.

To show that the tweedy wools of the past are not the only things happening with yarn in Ireland today she also looks at two independent hand-dyers -- Dublin Dye Company and Hedgehog Fibres -- and highlights their yarns with patterns as well.

as you might expect, this book is heavy on sweaters, but they are more interesting than the boxy Arans you're probably used to. Feller likes to use simple stitch patterns on the sides of her garments so she can create waist shaping, making a much more flattering shape for women.

There are also wraps, hats, a felted bag, fingerless mitts and a skirt with cable patterns inside the kick pleats for added interest.

Some of my favorites are Killorglin, the women's cable rib jacket pictured on the cover; Listowel, a girl's shrug with a heart pattern on the back made with cables; the Dangan cable and lace square blanket/shawl, worked in panels of Feather and Fan bordered by simple cables; the lovely two-color Belville, a woman's tweed circular yoke sweater; Kilmanagh, a felted bag with a two-color tweed pattern on the flap and gussets; Killybegs, a women's honeycomb cardigan that uses the cable pattern as a means to shape the waist; and the rustic Rossbeg girl's cabled yoke cardigan, the perfect companion for any girl's fall adventures.

The pattern shave a classic look thanks to all the cables and the tweed yarn, but they don't come off as too traditional or boring.

Bottom Line

If you're a fan of cables and classic Irish knitwear byt also like a streamlined look, Contemporary Irish Knits is a great choice.

MP>This book offers lots of interesting options, different garment types and shapes to suit a variety of styles and fit most members of your family. This is perfect comfort knitting for when you just need to get your hands in some wool and knit yourself -- or a friend or family member -- a hug.

Publisher's website

Projects on Ravelry

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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