The last of the Christmas knits. This one deserves a post all its own.
I mentioned that I have the Aran Knitting book from Alice Starmore. It’s a wonderful read and I love all the patterns in it. So far, I have knitted four of them (this is the last) and each one has been a pleasure. I have my eye on several more.
The book has five chapters. The first is a comprehensive study of Aran knits in general. It’s fascinating. Alice has researched them and includes a history of Aran knits and photos and information about Aran sweaters that are in the National Museum of Ireland. She had a goal in mind when she set out to write this book. Read about it here.
The second chapter of the book is a guided lesson on how to knit different classic Aran cables. The third and fourth chapters include patterns for Aran knits and Celtic knits respectively, and the last chapter teaches you how to design your own Aran sweater.
When I first got the book, I asked my daughter to skim through it and put a Post-it on all the sweaters she liked. From those, I chose the design I wanted to knit and then sent her a link to the Virtual Yarns’ Hebridean 2-ply selection for her to pick a color. She chose Kelpie. She didn’t know which sweater I had chosen to knit. I chose Eala Bhan and knit it with ten inch size 3 needles.
I knit both fronts at the same time on the same size 3 10” straight needle, reversing the left front cables to mirror the ones on the right and also knit both sleeves the same way. The only other modification I made was to lengthen the sweater to fit my daughter’s torso.
I was taught to knit by my neighbor, an old Italian woman, who held the right-hand needle under her arm for stability. That was never comfortable for me, but I do stabilize my right needle by setting it in the crook of my thigh while sitting so ten inch needles work best me. Maybe you can see it in this photo where I’m knitting the fronts. You can also see the three pattern pages I needed to refer to while knitting them.During blocking, I paid special attention to the tiny scallops on the hems and cuffs to be sure they didn’t fold over and disappear. I also gave special attention to the knots. I’m never happy with the little knots. They never pop for me; always recede. So when the piece was all spread out and spritzed, I took a tweezer to each one and pulled. I seamed with the right side facing using Deborah Newton’s suggestion of sewing into two rungs of the ladders for each stitch. I used an alpaca/acrylic blend yarn for the seams because the Hebridean was too weak and tore when I tugged at it.
Here’s the final product! Each row was different, so it definitely kept my interest. I loved knitting this pattern. I loved working with this gorgeous yarn. It was quite forgiving in that if/when I dropped a stitch, it didn’t unravel. I think it turned out real pretty and it looks gorgeous on my daughter!