Sunday, April 01, 2007

National Knitting Centre

We visited Donegal for a couple of days and while perusing my handy hotel guide to nearby attractions, I was delighted to find the National Knitting Center was just down the road.

National! Knitting! Center!

It promised a light-hearted look at knitting through the ages, the story of wool from sheep to shawl and a shop full of Irish yarn. What we found was slightly different. First, there was a shop with lots of Irish knit sweaters and caps. I sifted through the wares and talked to the shop assistant about why they had to close the knitting center and move to a smaller location (lack of visitors and support). I asked if they had any yarn for sale and she took me back to, storage facility, largest stash I've seen in my life.

They had shelves built from floor to 30-thirty foot ceilings. All stuffed with raw wool, coloured wool, rough wool, soft wool, thin wool, but mostly aran-weight wool and not a label to be found for miles. Not categories, names, wool-types, dates of shearing. recommended needle-size, dye-lot. Nada....
Just me and wool. So I searched out as much as I could carry (literally) and when the nice lady went further back into the shop to weigh it, she invited me along.
The next room offered the needed scale for weighing, the owner of the shop, a floor covered with bagged and tagged Aran sweaters and two ladies sitting and knitting saidsweaters. Turns out they sell sweaters (not sure where or how). And the knitters were totally excited to have their picture taken :)
So maybe it wasn't what the hotel had advertised, but it was certainly the most knitting I've seen in Ireland to date. And I made off with 1.5 kilos of wool.

Cute story about the red lace-weight in the middle. I asked if anyone knew the content because it was sooooo soft and squishy. The owner jumped into her office for a little
Steiff bear wearing an Irish knit sweater made from a similar colour. But the bear wasn't wearing the same content of the squishy in my hand, he had a cashmere Irish knit sweater (or Aran Jumper, as the locals say). The shop had been consigned to knit cashmere sweaters for Steiff bears to be sold at Harrod's and she had their sample leftover. It's a good thing I had just dumped the contents of my wallet into their cash register, because I would have searched the car and Dave's pockets for enough money to tempt that bear away from her. I can't even imagine how much they retail for!
So, now to dream up project for my new yarn :)


  1. Let's see the new yarn!!

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