Tír Chonaill

Woolfest is just a fortnight away! I am pleased to say I am mostly prepared (hoping to hear about the whereabouts of the last of my stock today, fingers crossed). I’ve produced two new designs to launch as kits at the event (with yarn and project bags), and sent the patterns off to my printers yesterday. As it really isn’t long till they are published, I thought I’d show you a few photographs in advance. So here’s the first design: it is a Donegal wrap or throw, and I’ve called it Tír Chonaill.

The wrap is knitted in “Soft Donegal” – the same lovely Irish yarn I used for the Bláithín designs. As well as the fresh, Spring-like shades I used for the cardigans, there are a number of deep jewel-like shades in the Donegal Yarns palette that really speak to each other, and which I wanted to bring together. The throw mingles three of these rich shades against a creamy báinín background.

The palette and pattern were inspired by Medieval tapestries. And the name of the design also has historic associations: Tír Chonaill was the name of the last independent Gaelic sovereignty in Ireland: a kingdom which, until the Flight of the Earls in 1607, covered most of what later became County Donegal.

The finished design is about 3 feet square – just right for a wrap or lap blanket – though the tiled repeats mean that it is easily customised for those who would prefer a smaller pram blanket, or a larger throw. It is knit in the round, steeked and finished using similar techniques as those used on the Bláithín cardigans. And the pattern is surprisingly simple to knit — because the yarn is worsted-weight, and the background shades are never carried over long distances, the throw works up quickly, and would be fine for someone reasonably new to colourwork. You can see the steek-sandwich and i-cord edging here:

One of the things I really like about this sort of tiled design is the way that the repeat creates different lines of visual continuity. This only works over a reasonably large area – so this is an ideal design for this particular repeat.

The rich tweedy colours – which really speak to, and blend with, each other – add to this sense of continuity as well.

We took these photographs at St Anthony’s Chapel, just down the road in Holyrood Park. When I’m there, I always think of the ascent of Arthur’s Seat in James Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

Unfortunately, it was too cloudy for brockenspectres when we took these photographs. But even when there are teenagers and tourist buddies about (it is a popular spot) I always find the atmosphere around the chapel just a wee bit eerie.

. . . an atmosphere which was only added to by a little wind and rain.

There were also several canny rooks knocking about the ruins of the chapel, but none of them wanted to participate in our wuthering photoshoot, unfortunately.

So, if you like this design, I’ll have it available in kit form at Woolfest! The pattern now has its own ravelry page, and printed and digital copies of the pattern will also be available shortly after the launch. I may be able to offer some kits as well, depending on the level of interest.

69 thoughts on “Tír Chonaill

  1. I love this design! I will not be at Woolfest, but would be interested in purchasing a kit for Tír Chonaill. Please let me know how to go about that if there are any kits left after the event. If there aren’t, would you be able to suggest other color-ways and let me know where I can purchase this yarn. Thanks.

  2. This is absolutely beautiful Kate, I’m definitely putting this on my list of things to do. I really don’t know how you find the time to do all that you do, quite frankly it’s exhausting just reading about all your adventures and designing. looking forward to meeting you at woolfest.

  3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your use of colour is astounding, the way you blend colours is unique. I love the way in which the landscape of the highlands is conjured up in all your work…stunning!

    Hope you are feeling refreshed again.
    Fleur xx

  4. Another beautiful design! Lovely photographs too. What a wonderful site. Good luck at Woolfest. Wish I could be there.

  5. Smuk … The danish word for beautiful. I would also like to buy this kit.
    Have a great woolfest greetings from denmark

  6. Hi Kate

    This is stunning. Hopefully there will be some kits available for those of use who can’t get to Woolfest.


  7. I too would love a kit! It’s stunning. I’m a bit of an Irish history nerd so that just adds to the appeal!

  8. Wow, this pattern is mesmerizing! I love the way the design shifts when you look at it close up vs. far away. Looks fabulous. Do you have any shots of the underside? I love me some good colorwork behind-the-scenes action.

  9. Truly amazing. The design is quite beautifully unusual and a wonderful representation of your knitters development. And the scenery is so fitting!

    If you have a minute to spare, just how long did it take you to knit this? You speak of a fast knit, I would be months. But then I cannot knit the continental way.

    I, too, would be very interested in a kit.

  10. This is beautiful! And it’s very impressing that the inspiration comes from a medieval patern! Congratulations! I would love to come to the Woolfest, but unfortunatly, it’s to far from home.

  11. Oh, Kate, this is just so impossibly lovely. I actually gasped when I scrolled down to the photos. My, but you’ve got an eye to blending colours in a pattern.

  12. Amazing. I love the pattern and how you have incorporated these beautiful colours. How wonderful to have such an amazing talent.

  13. Oh Kate, adding my dittoed gasps!!! I want one too please, USA-based as well so awaiting the pattern asap! How did you do that ‘mobile’ pic where the pattern moves as I scroll down? exactly the visual continuity seen from afar. Love, love, love it <3 <3

  14. I love those pictures; the long skirt, the wrap, and your hair! The scenery is beyond what I can describe, I swear I’m coming your way for my 30th wedding anniversary, but don’t worry, I’m not a stalker. The wrap/throw would be perfect for chilly evenings when the cold just creeps around your back. I hope you have an incredible time. Lois

  15. Yes, it’s a stunning item. I guess my (rhetorical) question is – should I be patient (and content myself with other in-progress projects) and wait for the book you mentioned you were working on? Or do I give in to my need for immediate gratification?

  16. Very beautiful. Hope you are feeling better. And how do you do your hair? I absolutely love the woven velvet ribbon!

  17. You are truly an artist!
    And the photos – somehow they remind of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, so atmospheric…

  18. Awesomely beautiful – you and the wrap. Love it and want it! I’d definitely buy the kit, Kate. Your work is stunning. Please let us know how we can get it. : )

  19. SO RICH looking. Good job! Love the site………….oh those canny rooks………..:)
    Am definitely going to look for the Justified Sinner book as it sounds interesting, thank you for mentioning it. Hope you are progressing in your health and Woolfest won’t do you in!!!

  20. “Wow” was the first thing I said when I saw this new pattern. I’ve already queued this project & can’t wait for the pattern to go on sale. Thanks again, Kate, for another wonderful pattern. Good luck at Woolfest!

  21. The blanket looks so complex… it’s hard to believe a new knitter can manage this! Hope as it looks like an interesting project and wish you the best at Woolfest (can’t attend this, unfortunately!)

  22. This is gorgeous, and the scenery was perfect. I have a shallow request, but please tell us how you do your hair so lovely sometime. : )

  23. Absolutely wonderful, the stitch pattern and colors are so inviting. I think it may be a bit above my ability. I’m going to be in Scotland at the start of Woolfest. I’m so hoping to get a chance to met you. It’s basically my husband’s trip through Great Britain, but I said the one thing I’d really like to try and do is to get to Woolfest. Here’s hoping.

  24. How incredibly beautiful. I would be very very! interested in the kit being available after Woolfest, maybe with an option for a slightly larger version!

  25. Tír Chonaill came together beautifully, gorgeous design and colours, and I so love the way you have done your hair for this photoshoot. Everything matches so well, and the scenery…eerie you say.., I don’t think you were alone there at all ;-)

  26. This is another beautiful design! I also love your hair in the photos. My hair is fine, like I believe yours is, too. How about a hair tutorial for these kind of ribbons?

  27. Holyrood park is another place that I must visit someday. You have the most beautiful life! All that atmospheric nature! All of that wool! I am also amused by all the complements on your hair in these comments. I will also add that your hair looks wonderful and I too really do need to know how to do that style. You mentioned, two new designs? The photos for the second are coming? Have a wonderful relaxing and productive wool week.

  28. You had absolutely better get all your kits lined up in a row … because they are going to go fast, fast, fast. Great design and presentation – well, well done!

  29. I am very intrested in buying a kit but would like to see the same colours worked with the navy/blue being the back ground, with children and dog(not to mention the grubiest cat ever, he rolls in the brown/black sand and then jumps on our knees) the darker the better is possible could you knit a small swatch showing this and do you post to the other side of the world?? Ps love bruce seated at the door lord of the manor!!

  30. I love this design! I will not be at Woolfest, but would be interested in purchasing a kit for Tír Chonaill too. Please let me know how to go about that if there are any kits left after the event. If there aren’t, would you be able to suggest other color-ways (in brow n and blue ?) and let me know where I can purchase this yarn. Thanks
    PS: I’m French so don’t forget to charge extra cost for mail. I can pay by Paypal if you are agree. Many thanks in advance.

  31. I watch in amazement ! This is truly a notch advanced in all-over design and color. Your designs are ever-improving. There I went on about how your presentation is so much more substantial and perhaps even intellectual than the super- designer AS’s fashion-model presentation… but I must say, you’re looking just as one of those dreamy fair girls who wander about the ancient places while being professionally photographed in Celtic Collection ! (I love your hair worn that way, with the red ribbon). You and your modest support team will give A.S. a run for her money ;)

  32. Please excuse my poor english. I love your designs and i knitted many of them.
    This plaid is so beautyful. But the yarn is not available in germany. Would you sell a kit to germany?
    the postage from ireland is so expensive.
    I love to see the wonderful pictures of the wonderful land you live. Sometimes i hope to visit scotland and the isles.
    Wish you all the best

  33. It’s lovely, and the colour palate is mine!! I’d be very interested in a kit if you ever consider international shipping to Australia.

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)