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Book Review & Interview: Contemporary Irish Knits by Carol Feller

© Joseph Feller

Contemporary Irish Knits by Carol Feller, Wiley, 2011, 152pp.

If you’re a cable junkie like me, you’ll adore this book.  Carol’s come up with a wide range of gorgeous knits for all family members, from sweaters to hats to shawls (and a skirt!). My favorite, Killybegs, is a lovely update of use of the honeycomb cable, with subtle shaping.  Straboy, the men’s Aran hoodie, also looks incredibly cosy.

If you’ve not yet given cables a try, this book may change your mind.  And it’s not just cables — Carol’s included a lace shawl/blanket, a colorwork yoked sweater, a supercute colorwork felted bag, and a very pretty textured fingerless mitt/ hat duo in Hedgehog Fibres.

© Joseph Feller

Not convinced yet?  How about the gorgeous photography (done by her husband Joseph) that’s an armchair trip to Ireland in itself?  Or the indepth look at the remaining Irish mills (each gets its own chapter)?

To sum up: 20 patterns, to include

  • 1 Women’s pullover
  • 3 Women’s cardi/jackets
  • 1 bag
  • 1 skirt
  • 2 Men’s pullovers
  • 4 Children’s garments
  • 3 Hats
  • 2 Fingerless mitts
  • 1 Cowl
  • 2 Shawls

© Joseph Feller

Steph:  Do you have a favorite pattern? Which one(s) & why?

Carol:  I have several favorites from the book, all for different reasons.  The first pattern that I wrote and knit for the book was the cardigan Killybegs.  I was very happy with how the cables added to the structure of the garment; the increased cables at the waist draws it in without needing stitch decreases, and the shaping of the yoke was achieved by working decreases within the cable pattern.

Another pattern that is close to my heart is Killorglin.  This was the first pattern that I dreamed up but it took me a long time to reach the point where I could write it as a pattern.  I wanted the cables to flow organically from the ribbing but translating that into a multi-sized pattern took a lot of thought!  I’m really happy with the end knit and the pattern is an easy one for knitters to follow so I feel a great sense of completion with this one.

As you can see I get the most pleasure from a pattern when the stitch pattern and garment shaping form a cohesive whole, in other words creating as knitterly a pattern as possible.

I think Killybegs is my favorite!  Do you knit all your own samples, or have a sample knitter?  Why/why not?

I knit almost all the samples for the book myself, except for one.  The Straboy hoodie was knit by my friend Sue. She was describing it to her husband and he loved the sound of it so she offered to knit the sample.  It is in fact her husband who is modeling the hoodie in the book!

In general, I do knit my own samples as it helps me write a better, more intuitive pattern for the knitter.  I start with a gauge swatch and write the pattern up in rough form.  Then I begin knitting the sample and rewrite the pattern along the way.  This way I can ensure that what I have written makes sense as a knitter and if there is a problem area I can solve it as a knitter rather than a designer.

The bottom line is that if the garments aren’t enjoyable to knit (as well as looking good when finished) then I feel I haven’t done my job right.

Describe your perfect workspace.

Actually, this is a very relevant question to me right now, as I’m slowing being swallowed up in my office by boxes of samples and paper (not to mention yarn!)

In an ideal world, I’d have a two-room workspace. One room would be a large storage area for samples, paper, printed patterns and yarn.  The second would be a well lit space with a computer desk, a large table for organizing samples and swatches, and, of course, a comfortable knitting spot.

Is there anything you can tell us about your next project?

I’m currently working with the yarn company, Fyberspates, on a small pattern booklet that I’ll be self publishing.  It’ll have a combination of garments and accessories for women.  It should be finished in the next few months and as of yet I don’t have any longer term plans!  I must admit, though, I really enjoyed the process of working on the book so I can definitely see another big project happening some time in the near future.

Thank you so much, Carol!  Visit Carol’s blog here & Ravelry page here to learn more about Carol & her designs.

Visit the other stops on the tour:

9/15/2011    Stephen West
9/17/2011    Hoxton Handmade
9/21/2011    Shannon Okey

9/23/2011    Rosemary Hill

9/25/2011    Ann Kingstone

9/27/2011    Marly Bird

9/29/2011    JC Briar

10/1/2011    Woolly Wormhead

10/3/2011    KnitSpot

10/7/2011    Here on Sunset Cat!
10/11/2011  Alice Yu
10/13/2011  FickleKnitter
10/15/2011  Deirdre Thornton
10/17/2011  Ilga Leja

Disclaimer:  I received my review copy from the author. All opinions are my own.
3 comments… add one
  • Adriene October 8, 2011, 9:33 pm

    I’ve seen this book, and I’m totally in love with Killorglin! What an amazing talent! Thanks for the interview!

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