Materials and Method
I knit by hand, using natural fibre yarns. My specialty is seamless knitting in the round, whereby an article of clothing is created and shaped in one piece on a set of circular or double-pointed needles.
The seamless method of garment construction dates back to the earliest forms of knitting and was traditional in Ireland until the mid-1800s, at which point knitting-for-hire made pieced assembly more practical for groups of women sharing the work. The seamless knitting method, however, continues to hold unique merits. It is better suited to making adjustments in fit and style at various stages of the knitting process. The finished garment feels more comfortably on the body, without seams digging into the skin. Seamless knitting also possesses a distinctive sculptural look that holds a special aesthetc appeal.
My preference is to work with locally sourced, natural fibre yarns when possible, including -
The distinctly speckled and wonderfully tactile, Donegal Tweed is spun in Kilcar, in County Donegal. Its production today is split between two mills, which are situated beside one another at the edge of the village: Studio Donegal for small scale and homespun batches, and the Donegal Wool Spinning Company for larger scale production. With tweed re-gaining in popularity over the past few years, these mills supply wool to knitters, weavers, yarn sellers, and fashion houses all over the world. I feel quite fortunate to live close enough to visit them in person.
Hand Dyed Yarns from Local Dyers
There are some fascinating yarn dyers emerging out of Ireland, UK and Continental Europe. This year I began working with Apple Oak Fibre Works, based in County Clare, designing patterns for her beautiful yarns. Other projects with local dyers are in the works.
Sheep to Skein Yarns
This may come as a surprise to many, but producing yarn in Ireland sheep to skein is not easy. There are now several initiatives that are trying to make it happen. I am very pleased to be working with the Co. Tipperary-based S Twist Wool, designing patterns for their beautifully rustic yarns. The S Twist Wool yarn itself is now also available in my shop.
I am not a spinner. But I love to work with local home-spun yarns, and am fortunate enough to know some fine spinners from Counties Donegal, Antrim, and beyond. These yarns are usually spun in small batches and in one-off colour schemes, so my stock always changes. If you are interested to see which home spun yarns I currently have to work with, please drop me a line.