Jennifer Wood on Ahenny – Echoes of Heather and Stone.
It’s time to have a look at another Echoes of Heather & Stone pattern and today the talented Jennifer Wood of Wood House Knits is sharing her design – Ahenny. Jennifer kindly took some time to answer some of our questions on inspiration, tips and techniques.
Hi Jennifer, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative background?
Although I have always enjoyed working with my hands I never thought I would be working in a creative field. I studied biochemistry in college and worked in cancer research until my third child was born. I did not learn to knit until my late thirties but have hardly put the needles down since then. While learning new techniques I found myself making up simple projects rather than following patterns. And from that Wood House Knits was formed. Now I cannot imagine not designing. I so much enjoy taking a picture I get in my head and turning it into a reality!
Can you tell us how your design process started for Ahenny?
Working on this design was so much fun! I started by researching the history of High Crosses in Ireland, which is fascinating. They are stone storytellers that beautifully record Ireland’s rich history. As I mentioned in the description for Ahenny in Echoes of Heather and Stone, I imagine that cable knitting developed as a way to continue the alluring and intricate stories contained in the spirals, braids, and knots. I wanted to reflect that allure and intricacy in a design.
Within Echoes of Heather & Stone can you tell us about your inspiration for the design and then how it translates to your finished piece?
The High Crosses were my inspiration for my design. As I said above, I find them captivating and wanted to capture the essence of their beauty in a cabled sweater. Somewhat of a daunting task! I loved the challenge and was able to find ways to manipulate and combine cables, which I think captures the allure of the crosses. The full story can be found in Echoes of Heather and Stone.
Where did the name of the pattern come from?
While doing my research I came across the High Crosses located in the graveyard of the Kilclispeen monastery. These were some of my favourites. Near the monastery, there is a picturesque village called Ahenny, which sits on a hillside above the river Lingaun and its valley. It is a place I would love to visit, so I named the sweater after it.
What level of knitting experience would you need to knit this sweater? Is it one that you would recommend to adventurous beginners?
Ahenny is a good pattern for an intermediate knitter. The sweater construction is straightforward, but there are a lot of cables. Adventurous beginners could do it if they have some experience knitting cables and reading charts.
When knitting Ahenny, do you have any tips for knitters to take care or watch out for?
Yes, I do. First, a recommendation: Use different coloured markers for the raglan markers and chart markers, it makes working the yoke less confusing. Second, a helpful reminder: remember the increases in the beginning of the charts; they are worked on non-cable rounds so they can be easy to forget.
The sweater is knitted with Nua yarn, do you have any tips for knitters working a sweater with Nua?
Mostly just to enjoy it! I absolutely love working with Nua. It feels wonderful as it slips through my hands and around the needles, like gliding on smooth ice. And the stitch definition is so good that the result cannot be anything but beautiful!