Bláithín

Ok, before I begin, allow me a moment: I think that this is probably the best photograph I have seen of myself in ages. I like it because I look comfortable and physically capable — concepts which, a couple of years ago seemed totally unimaginable. Few people seem to talk about just how bloody uncomfortable it is living in a body that has had a stroke. I am happy to say that this discomfort abates somewhat as time goes on . . . Anyway, for a multitude of reasons, I would heartily recommend a trike to anyone with neurological weakness or balance problems. I love it as you can see . . .

Now I have got that shot of me, wildly gurning, out of the way, I can tell you about the cardigan.

It uses the same motifs as the Peerie Flooers designs, and its name is Bláithín, which means, in Irish “little flower.”

It is knit Donegal yarns, “Soft Donegal” – a squooshy, nubbly, and richly saturated tweed.


It is knit in one piece, and then steeked up the centre. Design features include inset pockets, steek sandwich facings, and i-cord buttonholes.

If you look carefully at the centre right of the photograph above, you’ll see a buttonhole. You’ll also note that there is i-cord around the cuffs and pocket tops. Yes, I do like my i-cord . . .

The i-cord edging is added after all the knitting is complete; it is worked all in one piece, all the way around the cardigan. Here is a shot of the edging worked along the “steek sandwich” buttonband. . .

Here is the edging on the inside of the cardigan, so that you can see the sandwich from the reverse, together with a buttonhole . . .

. . .and here is a buttonhole in action.

One of my aims with this design was for it to be as accessible as possible not only to those knitters who were cautious about steeking, but those who were afraid of colourwork. The yoke design is very simple.

It is also easily-customisable for the more adventurous knitter who would prefer to insert their own yoke design. The pattern repeats are short, and the decreases are worked over a number of plain rows.

Bláithín comes in nine sizes, covering a 30 to a 50 inch bust. The cardigan has a gentle A-line shape and is designed to be worn with 1-2 inches of positive ease. It is soft, warm, and very easy to wear.

Ideal for the novice tricyclist!


The Bláithín pattern is now available, and you’ll find it here or here!

I’ve also designed a wee Bláithín, in babies and girl’s sizes. This pattern will be available very shortly.

That’s all for now – I’m off up North today to look at some wool. See you later!

123 responses

  1. Wow – you are looking GORGEOUS!!! I’m so glad you are having so much fun on that trike…. And I love that cardi – another beautiful gift from you and your amazing talent…. I’ll be knitting one, probably in those exact same colours for me I am sure – and the steek won’t scare me after your tutorials, which will also hep me face up to steeking the Freya….. No doubt my daughter will want a cardi too. My twins adore their owlet sweaters. Thank you thank you thank you – and keep triking… that smile is priceless!

  2. FABULOUS!! The photos are stunning, cardi is beautiful and weather looks amazing!! This is on my TO DO list (may even jump the queue!). Thanks for sharing your talent. x

  3. That first picture – its ease of movement that it conveys – such a wonderful picture given the juxtaposition of how you feel your body works for you! oh and beautiful cardigan too :)

  4. Hey, what is the dress that you’re wearing? Like you, it flies happily and beautifully against the wind…

  5. Kate, wow! A stunning, stunning cardigan! And it’s so great seeing you look so, well, alive! I’m making an assumption that Tom was your photographer – bravo, fabulous… he’s managed to capture the essence of Kate :-)

    I’m off to purchase the pattern now and will be spending an inordinate amount of time in the next few days here and on Rav to read comments from other Kate Davies fans.

    Thank you :-D

  6. I love that photo too, Kate – you look so relaxed and carefree, and the billow of your skirt and the cardigan on the trike just adds to the breezy feel – I hope you have more capable and carefree days ahead….

    The cardigan looks astounding – I’m a steeking champion, but I’m keen to try out your techniques – and being a colourwork novice, this might just be the project for me….
    Congrats on another accomplished design – its a pleasure to drop in here every day and see what you’re up to…

    Cheers,

    Leah x

  7. How wonderful to see you looking so at home on that trike! I live in The Netherlands, where people with physical difficulties can often be seen on all sorts of bike-type contraptions and it gives an amazing amount of freedom. Glad to see you found something that helps you get out and about :-) And oh what a divine new pattern! Just got to finish off a couple of other projects first, but this goes on the list for sure :-)

  8. Thank goodness you can have moments of freedom and mobility and joy! That trike is ace! The joy in your face and the colour in your cheeks make you glow! And by the way…you are one of the most capable and clever people I have ever come across! Dextrous, smart and thoughtful. I realise you capacities are limited from the stroke and that you would feel frustrated – but you on even half capacity would still be vastly more clever and capapble than many of the rest of us! May you continue to improve in your physical limitations. Oh and the cardi is amazing.

  9. What a gorgeous cardigan. The shape is great, the yoke has a pleasing design and of course the steek sandwich buttonband with the icord trim going all around (didn’t EZ say something about this like: just keep motoring on?) And your wool choice is well-suited to the design, as always. Amazing.

  10. Oh Kate! This is Fabulous! Your cardigan and sweater are amazing and I love this one as I love the other!! thanks also for the steeks tutorial, I’m going to add it to my raverly cart :))

  11. The only thing more fabulous than the cardigan design are the photos here … wonderful.

    My family has, for the past four years, been adapting to life after my grandmother’s stroke. Your blog has been an immense help.

  12. Wonderful- I’m definitely making a childsized one for… umm… well, I’ll find someone ; ) I just can’t resist!

    Have fun up north.

    PS I like the giggly photo, the second one- I have a feeling you could be quite cheeky in real life.

  13. Love it!! Also, what a wonderful dress – floating around you in the breeze. Fantastic… Another terrific design with a beautiful name to boot……

  14. That last shot is perfect … setting off into the distance with Bruce in hot pursuit. Love the cardigan, and I’m so happy for you that you are finding new skills and strengths :D

  15. Wonderful pictures (at Crammond?), you look so cheery, cheeky and alive! And, even though it’s May, an Aran weight fairisle cardigan, particuarly one as gloriously colourful as this one, is very appealing…

  16. What a pleasure to wake up this morning and see those photos of you feeling free and joyful on your trike! A very special start to the day indeed. Congratulations on another wonderful design…. and I look forward to the wee version as well. Love it.

  17. That is a great photo. I would love to be able to ride a trike. I shall have to make do with my mobility scooter though. The cardigan is gorgeous. That yarn looks pretty special too.

  18. Oh so pretty! You have the most wonderful sense of style. Thank you for making these techniques accessible. Now, where in the states can I find that lovely yarn?
    You look wonderful and happy :)

  19. I have been waiting anxiously for the pattern! Totally made my day to tune in a see your awesome design. I’m already on the search to find a comparable yarn! Love the pictures. Sweet to see your pup by your side.

  20. Oh this Blaithin cardigan is just *too* dear for words !!!! I am absolutely smitten with your steek sandwich and i-cord finish. Extremely adorable peerie fleur motifs and I’m really loving the fact that you’re beaming and looking exceptionally beautiful I might add. Life is good. Isn’t it just?

  21. I like how you mention that a knitter can insert their own yoke design. That really got me thinking about what I would like to put in there.

  22. How beautifully simple it looks, perfect for tricycle riding. Maybe this will be my first attempt at color-work, steeks and i-cord – would that be too ambitious? Glad to hear the bike gives you a sense of confidence and wholeness (is that a word?).

  23. At first I was too busy noticing how happy and relaxed you look on your trike to notice the sweater, but then I did and wow! Beautiful sweater and great way to learn some new techniques.

  24. Lovely. Definately worth strapping on a pair and braving steeking! I love the fact that you don’t usually go in for more typical summer knitting patterns, after all we live in Britain, where a wooly cardi comes in handy throughout the whold year.

  25. Love all the photos but the ones of you breezing along with that wonderful smile says it all! The sweater looks great and I am very interested in knitting one myself!

  26. Adding my kudos to all of the above :) Love all the details of the pattern – especially the i-cord neckline and pocket trim – love it! and the joy on your face says it all – ——–

  27. Okay, a little gushy comment, but I can’t help it. I love the sweater and plan to make one for my niece when the pattern is available. I love your trike…….hmmmm……maybe I need one of those. Last but not least, I love the look of pure joy on your face, for a day when everything is just wonderful. I hope you many more of those to come. Thank you so much for the steeking information and the new pattern.

  28. the whole thing just beautiful-yo , the dog, the sea, the light, the sweater and the trike-i would like a trike for groceries etc

  29. Yeah! It is nice to have wheels! It is nice to be able to enjoy speed and to move through the environment under you own power. Go Kate!

  30. Superb! Elegant, understated chic – and so smart of you to have included pockets. That teal/turquoise is one of my favorite yarn colors, btw. I made a cable-y coat in that color of the original (not Soft) Donegal some years ago as a souvenir of my trip to Ireland, and would love to return to the mill to buy more.

    Bruce really enjoys tricycle escort duty, doesn’t he?

    • Can you tell us how to pronounce “Blaithin”? Many of us, faced with Erse spelling, will probably say BLAY-thin, but that can’t be right. Blah-DEEN?

      • Hello Gretchen, my name is Bláithín…I’ve had all sorts of fun with people trying to pronounce my name over the years….to help you, the first bit rhyms with “Flaw”….Blaw…..then heen…the “T” is not pronounced….Blaw-heen it means “little flower” which is kinda the perfect name for the jumper…I’m not a knitter but I’d love one just like this! Lol Blá

  31. You look GRRRREAT! I’m soooo happy for you! Can’t wait to clear my project list so I can get to this cute sweater…one for me and one for my darling girl….mommy daughter look is IN :)

  32. How gorgeous “Blaithin” is & well worth the wait when you teased us with a little look at the pattern. You & Bruce also look so happy. The pictures make me smile. So glad you’re feeling better. Take care & enjoy this week-end’s yarn hunt.

  33. Not only is that a beautiful sweater design it is wonderful to feel your joy jump out of the computer screen. I think I too shall go ride a wheeled-motorized-by-human contraption.

  34. Absolutely adorable cardigan, I want to make one for me, one for the 5 year old, and one for the baby. And one for my sister. We´ll have to see…

  35. Right, now I’ve had a look at your beaming face, I shall now take a look at the cardi. Well done again, Kate, and it’s so lovely to see you so happy. Days to savour. x

  36. Love, love, love that trike! I want one. Newbie to your blog, and what a way to start off – the pics are wonderful and so is your sweater. Breathe in your moments of freedom – all the best to you.

  37. Lovely cardi & a lovely post! I love the tricycle – I have arthritis and would love to get one since I feel I’m a bit too wobbly for my old bicycle.

  38. Hello Kate!
    I just found you on Ravelry and I am so glad!! Your designs are amazing and I feel like you designed Blaithin just for me! I’m really fighting the urge to put down the summer knitting and start right now!
    I cannot imagine what you have been through. I can only say that it is wonderful to see you looking so happy and alive!

  39. What a beautiful sweater, I have never knit one but maybe this will get me going on one. I think I would start with a one color frist.Wish me luck. The sock -shawl kniter from Maine USA lol.

  40. Kate, love the sweater and after reading your tutorial it will be fun to knit. Seeing your gorgeous and joyful smile made me so happy and I am so glad your trike is assisting you in your progress.

  41. I will knit this cardigan…I will dream about this cardigan and will think about it often until the time comes for me to knit it. You look so beautiful on your tricycle, beautiful work both by you and your photographer!

  42. Love everything–the cardigan, the richly coloured wool, the seashore, you looking so happy, the I-cord edging (I love it too and used in on my Trellis waistcoat for all the same reasons), the fact that the colour pattern can be customized… Need I go on?

  43. This is awesome – literally. You look happy and free and moving rapidly under your own steam. Huzzah. The cardigan looks like good fun to knit and a great wardrobe staple. I look forward to making one for myself. Happy tryking!

  44. I feel like quite the stiff asking for this, but could you post a photo with you just standing there in all your glory and in this glorious sweater? I am feeling the need for one standing shot, perhaps with the trike behind you….

  45. Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes!!! Beautiful, you truely are and how wonderful to be riding your bike! Gorgeous photos and a gorgeous cardigan which of course I totally want to knit! Who wouldn’t! Well done Kate and congratulations of conquering your challenges! Off to buy that pattern right now… :-)

  46. I love the first picture so much, the scenery is gorgeous, the sweater is lovely, and the woman looks happy and content. Annnd, I love the last picture for the addition of the always energetic and faithful Bruce.

  47. I too would like to know how to pronounce ‘Blaithin’ please.

    Your trike looks wonderful. A couple of years ago I won a fabulous bicycle but couldn’t ride it because of a physical disability, but seeing you having such fun on your trike has made me think – perhaps there is a way for me to ride after all. I know nothing about you or your history, since I joined your list very recently, but I am coming to understand things gradually and I admire your guts and determination not to let this setback get the better of you. You go, girl.

  48. I love the cardigan but I think I love the photos even more! You look so happy and it’s great that you’ve found a way to ride again. I’m looking forward to having a go at steeking with this design.
    p.s. you really are an awesome and inspiring person!

  49. It’s snowing here in North Ron today – mist in March, snow in may – keep cosy in your cardi, Kate! x

  50. I also love the three-wheeled bikes. I fell in love with them 30 years ago when I went down for a vacation to the in-laws trailer park where they had one. I had great fun putting the babies in the back carrier and wheeling them for a ride around the park. Unfortunately I’ve never seen them up north here in Canada but maybe I should have another look now that people are going green and finding friendlier means of transportation.

    The thing I really love about them (aside from the huge carry basket for groceries) is the fact that if you get tired and want to sit a bit you don’t have to worry about toppling over from lack of balance. Also they have nice wide seats.

    Beauty sweater by the way.

  51. perfect post and photog’s for the start of the weekend! You are an excellent designer, and amazing knitter (academia frankly doesn’t deserve you). There is a real sense of the modern traditional in your designs – a continuity of craft into the present.

    Any plans for a man’s garment? Have you knit anything for Tom? Guy knitter here, so would love to see what you would create for a man. I manage to make a sweater and a few small things (socks, scarves, hats) every year. Right now i’m working on a Gansey sweater in deep indigo mule spun yarn from a local mill. Most sweaters are too warm, but something DK weight or lighter is pretty versatile (sort of the old school version of polar fleece).

    cheers,
    jake

    • Yes, my husband doesn’t wear his really warm sweaters. I second the motion for a man’s sweater in DK or lighter. I would love to be able to replace one of his favorite polar fleece vests with beautiful, hand-knitted wool. You see, we like your designs so much that now we are getting positively demanding. ;-)

  52. I am so so so so so pleased you got a bike! Such a sense of freedom!
    Also pleased with your naming.

    To those who asked; you would pronounce it ‘Blaw-heen’

    (B) law as in legal practice, (h) een as in between

    Forgive my lack of phonetic alphabet!

    Aoife (pronounced like FIFA without the first F!)

    • Being a Scottish Gaelic speaker, I am often enthralled with Irish pronunciation. It is usually really similar, yet sometimes unexpectedly different. I was reading Bláithín with a clear “ah” sound in the first syllable instead of the “aw”, and the “aoi” cluster like in your name is usually pronounced as a weird sound close to the French “eu” in Scottish Gaelic. I have Irish-speaking friends in Belfast and we often talk in a mixture of our respective dialects, with lots of hilarious misunderstandings.

      • Actually, now that you mention it, Irish speakers from Northern parts probably would pronounce it more similarly to the Scots way. So that might be more appropriate given the Donegal origin of the wool! Hearing Scots Gaelic is very confusing to my ear (I’m from Cork). It sounds like Ulster Irish to me so I feel like I should be able to understand.. it’s really frustrating!

  53. you and your sweater…BOTH…Beautiful and inspiring…!!! Continued success and healthfulness to you….

  54. You look awesome!!! Your dress and sweater just wonderful!! Keep on smiling! Hope to make a sweater for myself.

    Happy Trails!

  55. FANTASTIC! Such happy, free pictures! Congratulations on feeling better in your post-stroke body. I remember when, several months after the accident that smashed my right shoulder, I was able to lift my arm to make it parallel to the floor—in Warrior Pose. It was a great feeling of triumph for me that I still think of whenever I do that pose in yoga. (I love the sweater, too.)

  56. I shared your photos of you on the trike with my husband this morning. He’s a cycling nut from way back. Congratulations from both of us on finding a way to get back on wheels and on feeling more and more at home there!

    I love your new pattern and as I was reading the blog, I was thinking it would be perfect to knit for my little granddaughter…and then you say you’ll soon have a modified pattern for little ones. Perfect!

  57. Beautiful design! Beautiful colours! Beautiful scene! Beautiful you!! You have inspired me to get my own bike out, tuned and on the road!! Thanks. Can’t wait for the small person version.

  58. That second picture is probably the happiest we’ve ever seen of you, why you look practically Bruce-like in sheer happiness :-). The whole thing is gorgeous, the weather, the sweater, the freedom.. Good for you finding techno-help to do what you love, and this will so much enhance your independence.

  59. Fantastic design, fantastic trike photos, fantastic billowy dress and big happy WAZZGRIN! Congratulations, Bláithín is a triumph. I love your evident confidence and joy in the photos, and all the fine, knitterly finishing details which you have included in the beautiful cardigan.

  60. Love the pictures of you Kate, also does Bruce ever take a ride in the trike basket at the back, tight fit I know but maybe? love all the steek info, and the garments you have used in the tutorial pics.
    Love the 2nd photo of you especially, you look like a grown -up little girl again.;-)

  61. A lovely cardigan, in a lovely country and countryside. Your pictures are very nice too. It’s taken with sudden happiness and cute laugh.
    I expect to knit one piece soon from my Normandy :) It’s not easy to find the yarn but when I’m ready I’ll find !

    Thanks to share your passion all your lovely knits !

  62. Gorgeous! You look so carefree. That sweater is to die for. I wonder if I could ever knit it? I’ve got so many baby projects on the go for friends at the moment…

  63. Gorgeous Kate as usual. You look free as a bird and I love seeing Bruce following you rather than taking the lead as he does in most pictures. The smile on your face says it all! Now I am thinking of getting a trike for myself. I am certainly stable on a bicycle, but having all that space at the back to put things in, and never having to worry about sharp turns and things and bothersome cars to run me over – well, I just might get one for myself and try it out. I live in a much more populated area, and the fight between cars and bikes on the road is fierce. But a trike says “move over and give me room”. I can even put a orange triangular reflector on the back like they do on buggy’s, and I’ll be set to go.

    And I love the sweater! Is it possible to make the sweater with a drop shoulder sleeve? I have very wide shoulders and raglan sleeves just make me look silly (I’m also 5’10” tall and short waisted). I love the pattern, and can do the conversion myself, but lazy me would rather not.

    Kudos to you for another great and easy to folly and quick to knit design. I love the button/buttonhole detail. So simple, easy and clever. Best way to tie up a steek I’ve seen yet!

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