Blowing my own trumpet

This is not a very Irish thing to do. We’re meant to act all coy about our achievements and feign surprise if complimented. Being proud is culturally unacceptable; like the Chinese tradition of greeting a Newborn with “ugly baby” to avoid it being stolen by bad spirits, Irish people are self-deprecating for fear of “The Begrudgers”.  Then I remind myself of what it is I feel proud about and I’m ready to shrug off generations of culture and bask in a little self-reflected glory. Like Irish sunshine, it’ll be gone before you know it’s there. Who am I kidding: I have a knitting blog – what else is it for?

You remember this lovely skein of yarn? And the heart-warming story of why I was given it? And the beautiful socks  it became?

Magic skein of yarn that it was, I had enough left over to knit a jumper.

Aran Beag (meaning: Little Aran)

Aran Beag (meaning: Little Aran)

I had been wondering for a while about how to thank Bridget for her generosity and thoughtfulness. When I had so much yarn left over after finishing the socks, I had the urge to make her something. I wanted it to be something that referred to her Irish roots but I didn’t quite have enough for cabled hat – bainín style, à lá Makem & Clancy.
Then a light-bulb went off when St Patrick’s Day started looming and I hit on knitting a traditional aran sweater – in miniature, on sock needles with scaled-down versions of common cable patterns.

So I charted up a bit of a pattern for the cables – I mainly used EZ’s travelling stitch in lieu of the usual zig-zagging cables. The traditional Aran is dropped sleeve so I didn’t worry about arm-hole shaping. All the same, I threw in a few short rows around the bum area – the intended wearer needed a bit of extra “room” there.

I also put in the traditional “deliberate mistake”. This goes right back to what I was talking about at the begining of this post: traditionally the Irish knitter could not appear arrogant or over-proud about her work so she would deliberately mis-place a purl or, as in my case, a cable, somewhere in the garment. However, in truth, my deliberate mistake was an actual mistake but I decided that it was my Irish-Karma catching up with me and thought it best to leave it be.


2 Responses to “Blowing my own trumpet”

  1. Bridget Says:

    I just want you to know that the young ursine gentleman with the fabulous sweater has really needed it here lately, as it has been wet and cold in spite of the first day of spring occurring …

    Seriously, I wish everyone who reads this could see the sweater, especially on the bear – I consider it a work of art, and cannot believe that someone made it for me! He now has a place of honor in our office/craft room, to remind me that you don’t need to know someone in the flesh to experience true friendship.

  2. Sinéad Says:

    So cute! And you’re dead right to blow your own trumpet. It’s really lovely. And kudos for designing it yourself too!

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