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Barra's Blanket and Cap


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  • Cables

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Barra means "fair haired" and has been a popular name since the sixth century when St. Finbar came to an area of Cork that was being tormented by a serpent. The people begged him to do something to help them. One night he went to where the serpent was sleeping and sprinkled it with holy water. The angry serpent tore and devoured the land until she slithered into the sea at Cork Harbor. The track she left behind filled with water and became the River Lee. It is said that the sun didn't set for two weeks after Finbar's death. The Scottish island of Barra is the southernmost island in the chain of the Outer Hebrides; an ocean-going ferry ride from Oban takes you out to this predominately Gaelic/Catholic island filled with ancient churches and sites ... well-worth the time to visit. It can be extremely hard to find a nice, boyish baby set. Here's my answer to this dilemma. Barra's blanket (30x30 inch) and cap (newborn-12m) are exercises in twisted and cabled stitches to create a lovely example of traditional knitting perfect for any little boy ... or girl ... on on your gift list. The blanket makes a wonderfully cozy lapblanket for the older crowd,too! Directions are charted and written-out with stitch counts whenever the sts increase. BASIC SKILLS NECESSARY understanding of knitting in the round understanding of creating cables and twisted sts understanding of yo's and kfb GAUGE 14sts x 22 rnds = 4-inch stockinette (knit in the round; blocked) SIZING / FINISHED MEASUREMENTS 30-inch square blanket/lap blanket; cap to fit newborn-12mo SUGGESTED YARN 600 yards of Worsted weight PREFERRED BRAND/YARN Plymouth Galway COLORWAY Oatmeal

Recommended with this pattern

  • approx 600 yards of worsted weight wool (85yds for cap, 515 yds for blanket) -- sample used 3 skeins of Plymouth's Galway
  • US #10 dpns, circs (16"; for blanket you might also want a 40/47")
  • stitch markers (4 for blanket; 7 for cap)

Sold by

By Hand, With Heart
By Hand, With Heart
Hi, my name is Mary Gildersleeve. I began designing shortly after teaching myself to knit at the age of 8, primarily because I do not take commands very well and I also could not afford the fancy yarns back then. Knitting and designing were my constant activities throughout undergrad, grad school and family life until, in 1997, I finally went professional and established By Hand, With Heart ... traditional hand-knit designs with a modern twist. I now create designs for various knitwear outlets (including published designs in Knitters, INKnitters, Cast On), custom knit original designs, and self-publish my own patterns . I maintain a website ( where I discuss my work, my finds (reviewing books and supplies) and suggestions for teaching everyone this age-old art. I particularly love teaching all aspects of knitting ... from beginner to expert, from learning to read charts to designing your own. On most Saturdays, you can find me working at my LYS, Dog House Yarns in Culpeper. I am the exclusive designer for the cashmere-farm, Spring Gate Farm, located in Barboursville, VA. I earned an MBA from the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA) in 1988 and a BA in Print Journalism from Gonzaga University (Spokane, Washington) in 1983. I continue with my knitting education by attending seminars, voraciously reading all knitting books, magazines, and websites, and constantly honing my practical knitting skills. I was an active member of the Association of Knitwear Designers (which shut down, unfortunately). I am married, have 5 children (10 to 23 yrs) and keep busy homeschooling, working on the computer, writing articles, and knitting, knitting, knitting in rural Virginia. In 2008, a book I wrote was published "Great Yarns for the Close-Knit Family: over two dozen hand-knit designs inspired by a dozen fantastic family read-alouds"; a year later, another book I wrote hit the bookstores, "In His Image: Nurturing Creativity in the Heart of Your Home" (both are available on Amazon and other book outlets)..