Tuesday, 27 January 2009


My mother lent me a wonderful book on Irish crafts, and in it I found the meanings for the traditional cable patterns.  I think it is important to know what we are knitting! They usually relate to fishermen's lives, sea, earth, sky, marriage, and sons to take his place.
Starting second from top left, the Marriage Lines, or Crooked Road is a zig zag stitch, depicting the ups and downs of married life (usually shown running from shoulder to the hem of the garment).
The Tree of Life, middle row, second from the right symbolizes a long life and sturdy sons.
The Irish Moss, (seaweed with medicinal properties, also used for making blancmange) represents wealth to fisherfolk. The Honeycomb bottom right is a tribute to the bee, which was considered a lucky omen if fishermen saw them before going out to sea.
cable and rope stitches are of all types and represent the sailor's ropes, and the Diamond, usually formed in Moss St represents wealth. 
For more information you'll have to buy the book, 'Traditional crafts of Ireland' by David Shaw Smith, Thames and Hudson.


This week, I am working from my parents' house in the Lake District.  It's lovely and quiet here and so cosy in my bed.  I thought I would write from my bed and tell you about the bedspread that I am not allowed to sleep under. It sits on a chair by the window while I am resting.
When my great aunt died, my mother was clearing out the back of a cupboard and found a patchwork bedspread. It was filthy and dusty with a few holes. She gave it a wash, patched the holes and I was delighted it ended up on my bed. It is a proper traditional piece.
Then mother was invited to a ladies lunch where they went to an exhibition about patchwork.  To her suprise she saw our new bedspread hanging in the show.  Here is the picture from the catalogue. 

The caption read, 
"A large chintz central panel of a palm tree with foliage and birds with stylised oriental leaves of 1815-1817 surrounded by a furnishing floral pattern dating from the early 1800's. This quilt is an excellent example of the original vegetable dyes. Particularly note the blue on yellow squares with green leaves. The selvedges indicate the narrow width of the material."
The curator said it was originally sold in kit form, so our bedspread would be slightly different, but it has the same panel with the birds and simular surrounding patches.

I am not allowed to sleep under the bedspread anymore, or drink tea any where near it, but it serves as a lovely welcome when I come home.