Sunday, 17 November 2013

Carol Feller Workshop

Back in Galway, Carol Feller joined us for a trunk show/workshop based on her 2011 book, "Contemporary Irish Knits". We each received a complimentary, signed copy.

This book is based on her:
sense of heritage and inspiration ... from the remaining Irish mills. Aran knitting has long been marketed to the rest of the world as a quintessentially Irish craft. ... much of what people know about the history of Aran patterns is half-truth and misconception; it is, in fact, a knitting style created out of necessity during the twentieth century. The earliest appearance of an Aran sweater was from the 1940s. By the 1950s, women living on the Aran Islands were encouraged  to knit on a commercial basis, because there was little employment on the islands and their knitted sweaters sold well. 
Due to rising costs and reduced demand, all but a few mills are closed... three mills continue to produce yarn for hand knitting on a commercial basis. Their yarns are featured in the first three sections of the book. 
We visited one of these mills, the Kerry Woollen Mills, and in our workshops, knit with yarns from Donegal Yarns.

Carol talked to us about many of the garments from the book
and passed them around for us to see close up.

This is the Ballinagree boy's sweater. It was worked bottom-up in one piece.
This skirt, 'Tralee', has patterning inside the kick pleats on each side at the hem. It, too, was knit bottom-up, folding the knitted fabrics to the centre of each pleat and then knitting to close the pleat.
We got to knit the decreasing honeycomb swatch from the Killybegs women's cardigan.

My swatch:
The sweater below was actually the same colour as my swatch but the light was so bad in the room, it was hard to photograph well.

This shows the decreasing honeycomb cables in the yoke area. You can see the tweedy flecks of the Donegal yarn.

Here, I was looking at the hook and eye closures at the front of the cardigan.
Listowel, a girl's heart shrug, is knit from the neck down in one piece with raglan sleeves. At the underarms, the sleeves are joined and knit in the round. Then all stitches are picked up and the ribbing is completed.
This twisted stitch hat, Ballyragget, is knit with DK weight wool
I like the criss-crossing of the twisted stitches above the ribbing.
We were shown almost every other garment from the book except Knockmore, the twisted stitch sweater. Apparently it was given to her father (who models it in the book) and he hasn't given it back.

On, Carol has a class on "Celtic Cables". It is based on her Portulaca cardigan. I was lucky enough to snag one of  these patterns she had on hand for sale.
I also purchased her 'Among Stones' pattern booklet.

I was very glad we were the morning group as we pretty much cleaned Carol out of the extra patterns and bookets she brought.

I always enjoy this type of workshop with a designer as I find it so interesting to hear about what inspires them to create their designs and how they encounter and then overcome problems with their designs.
Geri and Carol Feller

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