Ravelympics, Day Twelve

Finally, some progress. Last night the gods smiled, the angels sang, two cans of Coca Cola kept me alert, and I got some knitting done on the second Rose’s Wrist Warmer. I was feeling pretty good about this all day today until I grabbed some heavy pans while preparing dinner and got so much pain in my left hand I thought it was broken. My very first thought was d@mm!t, there goes the wrist warmer. But it seems much better now. I’ll just knit s-l-o-w-l-y and perhaps my hand won’t mind.

Want to hear about the Mystery Knitter I met at Irish Fest? Of course you do! But first, some background.

In May of 2007, in cahoots with my never-met-but-sure-we’re-sisters blogger friend Lauren, I checked out a web site called Clanarans, which promised a sweater or sweater kit that corresponded to your Irish clan. Lauren was able to order sets for her surname, but for some reason “Dooley” wasn’t included. Not Irish enough for them? I don’t know. Anyway, I emailed them about it, supplying the English and Gaelic spellings, and asked if they would have it available someday. They wrote back and said, Not now, but keep checking. So, every few months I’ve been checking. Still no Dooley sweater.

So. Fast forward to Sunday at Irish Fest. I was at the Cultural Village anyway, so I decided to take a look through the tents and see if there was any wool. A few years ago, there was; lately, not. But you never know. I went through every tent, I tell ya. Nothing.

There was one tent left, which looked like it was probably selling T-shirts and jewelry. I decided to go in anyway.

Just inside the door were dozens of knitted wonderful things. Aran sweaters, baby bonnets, “longies,” mittens, you name it. I recognized the sweaters immediately, but a big sign behind their table confirmed it. Clanarans.

“You know,” I said to the woman on the left, “about a year ago I emailed you because you didn’t have a sweater for my name.”

“What’s your name?” she said, jumping up to check the list.


“Hmm, we still don’t have it. Tell you what, e-mail me with the Gaelic spelling of it and I’ll see what I can do.” She took out one of their flyers and wrote her contact information on it, then looked up at me. “I’m the sweater designer for Clanarans.”

Folks, she also had just finished four days of teaching a class on sweater design as part of Advanced Knitting during Irish Fest Summer School. She teaches you how to select cable patterns, allow for proper size and fit — the works.

Guess where I want to go next year!

It gets better. I pulled out my completed Rose’s Wrist Warmer for her to see. “You can do this,” she said. I felt that same warm rush I got in college when a professor told me I could write. My goodness, I’d been writing constantly since I was about eight years old and pretended to start a neighborhood newspaper. But the Validation by an Expert still gets to me, in a good way.

So, I’m going to email her, and keep plugging away at this. Four years ago I didn’t own a set of knitting needles. Three years I thought I’d only need one pair if I picked the right size. Now I’m afraid to count them. If you insist upon learning something…you can. You truly can.

Published in: on August 19, 2008 at 8:36 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Check us out, the Injured Twins. 🙂 I’ve done something to my right hand, but like you, I don’t plan to quit knitting!

    I have GOT to have a look at Clanarans and see if they have my grandmother’s maiden name listed! (My own maiden name isn’t Irish, but that’s okay. Must see if there’s a Bavarian knitting site.)

  2. That is an awesome story! I too need validation that I’m good at what I do. I hope that she’s able to make a sweater for you!

  3. How BRILLIANT! Well, you’re four times the knitter I am, and I’ve been at it for – well, let’s say a lot longer than you’ve been around. I am an Admiring Fan (not jealous; I’m a happy placid bovine process knitter). I looked at that book of Viking Knits and it’s stuck in my mind……it’s cables, I can do cables so I’m thinking about it. (I do cables like I do maths: slowly, carefully, carrying numbers and using cable needles &c &c – if the end result is accurate, it’s all good!)

  4. Oh, oh, I have a Viking Patterns for Knitting book! Not that I ever think I’ll be up to tackling one of its projects. Weren’t vikings from Scandinavia? That where my grandmothers were from. But now I need to visit Clanarans and see if they have a sweater for my married name, which may be Scottish instead of Irish.

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