Thursday, 4 April 2013

Tweedy granite and granite-y tweed

Donegal is well known for its tweed fabrics and yarns. And if you are a geologist, it is also famous for its granite. Every year I spend two weeks in Donegal, in the northwest of Ireland, teaching undergraduate students geological field techniques. Although very intensive and tiring, I love this class. It falls at the end of their second year, just before they head out on their own to complete 35 days of fieldwork that they write up as a dissertation. The best thing? Seeing a group of people turn from students to geologists before my eyes - it never gets old. Add to that, the fascinating geology, the beautiful scenery... it really is a great way to spend two weeks.

Dolmen near Ardara

some students studying the Ardara granite

For the last couple of years, I've managed to wangle myself a couple of hours off duty during the field class, and have spent the time happily browsing (and spending cash) at either the Donegal Craft Village  in Donegal Town or the Crafter's Basket in Cliffoney, County Sligo.

On my last trip, I spotted this beautiful Donegal Aran Tweed yarn in a shade reminiscent of the Ardara granite, which we get the students to study in some depth. I bought enough to knit a cardigan, although I didn't have an exact pattern in mind.

Donegal Aran Tweed - granite coloured!

After some time perusing Ravelry over Christmas, I noticed that a number of knitters were using their Donegal Aran Tweed to make a short-sleeve, cabled cardigan. I loved it. And the best bit? The name of the pattern - Ardara! Serendipity, or what?

Serendipity - the Ardara pattern with the Ardara granite coloured yarn

I cast on a couple of weeks ago. The cardi is knit in a single piece which means that there are A LOT of stitches making up each row. Even so, I have use up three and a half balls of yarn so far, that's more than a fifth of the cardigan knitted. I'm trying to knit a ball a week, which means that this little beauty should be ready to wear some time in the summer (but probably not before my next trip to its namesake in June).


Jane McLellan said...

Lovely, lovely. I like the look of the yarn and the pattern, and the way it echoes the granite.

Kathy Niklewicz said...

You always take us to neat places! And it must be great to see all that enthusiasm! You might find it amusing that we will be celebrating our great nephew's 3rd birthday at the Hall of Dinosaurs in the Carnegie museum in
Pittsburgh. Imagine how excited he and his 5 year old brother and the other little ones will be.
I'll be interested to see how much the exhibits have changed. Haven't been there for 20 years!

Love the yarn and the pattern. And no seams to sew up!

Maureen said...

I hope you have more balls of wool than the ones in the picture! - just had a look at the pattern on Ravelry. It does look lovely.
I should keep away from Ravelry altogether - I'd never heard of this book before, and it is so tempting! - but no. I'm trying to finish a lace shawl to wear to a wedding- it isn't going to happen, but I keep plugging away at it.

Quiltification said...

Jane - thank you. It's definitely serendipity.

Kathy - I'm happy to take you on my journeys with me! Hope you had fun in the Hall of Dinosaurs. Sounds like a place I would like to visit.

Maureen - Thankfully, yes, I bought 17 balls. The pattern calls for 15 so I should be ok. The book is lovely - there are probably another 2 sweater patterns that I will knit. And possibly a beret, and maybe a hat...
I have to limit my time on Ravelry - it is a fantastic resource, but I end up with all sorts of patterns favourited and plans to knit more than I could ever manage in my lifetime, since I am possibly the world's slowest knitter.