Thursday, October 7, 2010

Alice Starmore's "Fulmar"

Despite all the hustle and bustle of having Alberto and Paulina in town a week and a half ago, I still managed to find time to finish a sweater.  Here's Alice Starmore's "Fulmar" sweater from her classic "Aran Knitting" book - a project I started last July:

It's one of the most intricate Aran knitting patterns you can find anywhere on this planet.  Alice Starmore rules!  Man Yung loooooooves the sweater.  It fits great and just look at the gorgeous pattern and colour!  It took forever on tiny US#1 (I could only get gauge by going one size down from the recommended US#2) needles, but it was a very satisfying knit. The tightly spun British 5-ply wool first seemed a little rough but after a little while, I appreciated the yarn's crisp, solid texture with the sweet scent of meadow grass and lanolin.  Just in case you were wondering, "Herring Girl Pink" does not at all detract from Man Yung's ability to kickass - and I quote him in a recent exchange with one whirling-dervish, spatially and navigationally-challenged bozo in Toronto: "Bump into me again and I guarantee I will break your nose." 

I used Frangipani yarns to make the sweater - and it was a great experience.  Firstly, the customer service from Jan and Russ of Frangipani was great - and shipping was super fast from West Cornwall, UK, to Toronto, Canada.  I received the package within a week of ordering.  Secondly, the yarn was amazing quality - not a single break or knot in the middle of the yarn, from beginning to end, in any of the cones of yarn I used.  If you want to knit a traditional fisherman's gansey, Frangipani's 5-ply gansey yarn is a fabulous choice.

I ordered three cones of yarn and I still have about 2/3 a cone left over, more than enough to make this - the "Kittiwake" hat from Alice Starmore's "Aran Knitting":

Alice Starmore's "Aran Knitting" book had been out of print for a few years - but now it's been reissued in a new expanded paperback format with new photos and one new pattern.  Back in the days when the internet (and ebay) was still in its infancy, the only way I was able to get my hands on a copy of the book was by calling knitting shops all over Canada to see whether they still had a copy in stock (I found mine in Ottawa).

If you like sweaters, or are interested in celtic culture and celtic crafts, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of the book (it's available from Amazon). 


Sharon said...

This sweater is incredible! I am is such awe of your work and the fortitude it must have taken to finish this beautiful sweater! As a maker/seller of knit and crochet accessories, I never have time to knit intricate projects and I am so jealous!

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Sharon,

One really important thing that knitting has taught me is that I can do anything I set my heart to do. It might take a year (that's how long Fulmar took!) or five years (that's how long Mary Tudor took!) but if I keep on going, it will be done!

I hope you will find time to finish knitting an Alice Starmore design that you fancy. Knitting her sweaters is such a rewarding journey!

Thanks for your comment and happy knitting!


Christine--RHP said...

wow--this is a beautiful sweater!! What an accomplishment! Please take a photo of you and Man Yung wearing the hat and sweater!
I'm an occasional knitter--just finished my first pair of socks, and a fairly new tango student. I'm really enjoying your writing.

(also have become a fan of Alberto! I wish I could have seen the videos that got removed...but I guess I have to wait for the film)

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Christine,

Thanks for your comment! Sorry about the delay in replying, but we just got back from Bs As and then we got sick with the flu.

Osvaldo and Coca were rolling around on the floor laughing when Man Yung wore the Kittiwake hat to the milonga (it was cold!). If Man Yung wore both Fulmar and Kittiwake at the same time, I think the merriment might just kill them. But I promise to upload some photos of Man Yung wearing both when we get to it!

Tango and Knitting - two of the finest pastimes in the world. I hope you have incredible fun with both, as I do.


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