Rosleague Shawlette

First of all I'd like to resolve the winner of the Classic Woolly Toppers hardcopy. After notifying the first choice last week, with a request for her address, I've heard nothing, so have picked a second chance winner.  Many congrats to Sally BC, if you could please email me your contact details, this dream collection for hat-lover's will be winging its way to you.
Rosleague urn
I've just spent the past two weeks in Ireland, hosting our Knit Ireland tour for twenty-five lovely guests. I always try to focus on one piece of knitting while I'm away and so, knowing that space and weight was at a premium, I chose this gorgeous cobweb lace yarn - 50% baby suri alpaca, 30% mohair and 20% silk.  I bought the yarn on our last tour in May at a mill in the Dales and have had it sitting in my studio asking to be knit ever since.
Natural Born Dyers cobweb lace yarn
The first few days of a tour are always hectic so by the time we'd travelled through the Burren and visited Galway and Inis Oirr, one of the Aran Islands, I still hadn't managed to cast on.  So by the time we reached Letterfrack in Connemara and settled into the beautiful Rosleague Manor that was to be our home for the next few days, I was determined to make a start. 
In The Swirl workshop
The morning after our arrival I was teaching a workshop called In The Swirl - the basics of swirl knitting.  Previously, when I picked out the yarn, I'd thought how lovely it would be to design a swirl shawl. Perhaps I needed that extra bit of impetus and the buzz in the workshop provided just that, so in the afternoon I got stuck in and started what turned out to be a very interesting and enjoyable knit. 
First few rows of my swirl shawl
Everyone worked hard in the workshop producing many lovely medallions, with the resident dog, Reuben, amusing us and keeping us company.
What a handsome workshop model!
Workshop in the orangery
Rosleague Manor, a lovely pink-washed Regency house overlooking the tidal inlet of Ballinakill Bay, was the perfect place to wind down after several exciting days on the move. Standing in its own 30 acre woodland garden, planted with rare shrubs and plants, the whole Rosleague ethos is a haven of cosy tranquility.  Many of our guests commented that they felt a deep sense of peace and relaxation there, and certainly from my very first visit, I felt there was no better place to recharge the soul.

View from Rosleague over the inlet
Indeed, we had such a fabulous time hanging out in this gracious old house, that I decided to call my shawl the Rosleague Shawl. Most of the knitting was done on the bus on our travels around Ireland, from the west coast to Dublin, then down to Killarney and around the Dingle. I was pleased when I realised I'd be able to finish it off at Shannon Airport, on our long wait for our evening flight, so I'm proudly able to say it was knit in Ireland - even though the finishing was done back home. I have to add I don't consider this to be my best piece of knitting ever, as I had lots of other things on my mind during the knitting, but I'm trying not to be bothered by the mistakes and see its flawed beauty as a bonus. 
Finishing the shawl the day after we arrived home
I decided to finish the shawl with turquoise beads to match the garden urns with the fairies above, and work a crocheted shell stitch across the bottom for those little beauties on the beach just up the road.  

During the Swirl workshop I mentioned to everyone that I would be giving them the pattern of the swirl beret that's featured in my next book, Sweet Little Gifts.  That afternoon I tried, with the help of Loretta at Rosleague, to print out the pattern.  Unfortunately this was not to be as the file was ginormous and the printer would not play ball.  Kismet! On mentioning it to Philip he told me it was 
probably not a good idea anyway as I was sure to breach copyright issues with my publisher. Phew, am I grateful to that printer for letting me down! However, to make up for this, I planned to write the pattern for the swirl shawl and make it a gift to each of our guests.
So as soon as it was finished I did a critical assessment of the piece and then wrote a pattern for the revised, hopefully perfect swirl shawl - rather than my peppered-with-small-mistakes version.

Back view tied in the middle
When I looked at ways of wearing it, it turned out to be quite versatile as it works well worn in the conventional way tied at the front, but also great worn from side to side and tied at the shoulder.

Worn in a swirl
But the way I like to wear my Rosleague Shawl is to swirl it around my body in a comforting cocoon, making me feel I'm back at Rosleague Manor, enjoying the warmth and charm of this colourful and friendly place - a hotel with a heart.




    Now how do I get in touch with you?

  2. The shawl is very lovely, I hope the pattern will be published sometime soon so the rest of us may purchase it. Gorgeous pictures from Ireland, thank you for those.

  3. Lovely shawl, and the beads are a perfect finishing detail!


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