Satisfy Your Irish Knits Curiosity

Knit Me, I’m Irish!

irish knits

Even dogs are Irish on Saint Paddy’s Day! Photo Credit: Diane Collins and Jordan Hollender | Getty

Ah, Saint Patrick’s Day—the one day each year when everyone is Irish. We all wear our green, go to parades, drink green beer (ick), and celebrate the fact that we’re 0.005 percent Irish. Seriously, have you ever noticed that just about everyone you meet on Saint Patrick’s Day boasts about how their great-great-great-great-great-grandparents were from Ireland? It’s an interesting phenomenon.

Now for a little ancestry boasting of my own: my grandpa is Irish—born and raised in County Tipperary!—so my Irish bona fides are pretty legit. He lived in a small village as a boy and has an abundance of amazing stories about his Irish childhood. He emigrated to the United States in the 1940s, but he’s made frequent trips back to his homeland throughout the years.

Now that he’s getting older, though, the trips back to Ireland have slowed; trans-Atlantic flights are difficult when you’re in your 90s. But my husband and I have launched a crazy scheme to get him to make one last trip. I’ve never been to Ireland, and I would love my first experience there to be with my grandpa. I have grand visions of us walking the hills together—him showing me all the sights and telling me all his stories—and then heading down to the pub to have a few pints and listen to some music.

 

irish knits

Grandpa’s house: The house my grandfather grew up in. This photo was taken in 1995, long after the family had moved out (and the sheep had moved in!).

In these visions, I’m always wearing some kind of cozy sweater, preferably with cables. It would be just the thing to keep me warm on those cool and rainy Irish days. Even if we travel there in the summer, I know it can be cool in the mornings and evenings (and even during the days sometimes), so I’d want to be prepared. Plus, who hasn’t imagined themselves roaming the Irish hills in a traditional knitted sweater?

Luckily, Interweave has me covered. Our Irish Knits 2! More Aran Sweaters contains some of our best Ireland-inspired sweaters. It’s chock-full of cables, tweed, and wool, so you’re sure to find the sweater of your own Irish dreams.

irish knits

Eight of the nine gorgeous patterns in this collection. I want to make them all!

If you’re looking for a traditional sweater, try Kathy Zimmerman’s Rhapsody in Tweed, an Aran-inspired pullover with wide and narrow open cables. If you want to branch out a bit, check out the Cable-Down Raglan by Stefanie Japel; between its bright color and its center diamond cable and smaller asymmetrical cables that begin at the midriff, it’s perfect for knitters looking for traditional with a twist. And if you want to embrace the whole “wearing o’ the green” thing, try Triona Murphy’s Sprague Lake Pullover, which features modern cable motifs in a lovely green yarn.

irish knits

Some of the Ireland-inspired sweaters from the Knit Me, I’m Irish collection: Rhapsody in Tweed (left), the Sprague Lake Pullover (top right), and the Cable-Down Raglan (bottom right).

Because I’m a beginner, these sweaters are beyond my current knitting abilities, but I’m hoping I can improve my skills enough to tackle one before my trip. I have my eye on Amy Miller’s Livingstone Cardigan, which has everything I love in a sweater: tweed, cables, a nice big collar, and a flattering fit. And I like that it’s a cardigan—it’s nice to have easily removable layers when you travel.

(Of course, before I can start on the Livingstone Cardigan I’ll need to finish my Killarney Tunic, which is still very much in progress. But how wonderful would it be to have two gorgeous Irish-inspired sweaters to take on my trip?)

I don’t know if I’ll be able to talk my grandpa into going back to Ireland, but even if he decides not to go, I’ll certainly make the journey myself. I’ll be thinking about that trip and all these beautiful sweaters this Saint Patrick’s Day as I wear my green, drink my (non-green) beer, and enjoy some traditional music. I hope you do the same, no matter how much (or how little) Irish heritage you can claim.

—Sláinte!
Rachel


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