Norman-based A-Wee-Bit-Of- Ireland.com owner Janne O’Donnell traveled all the way to the Emerald Isle to personally select traditional, all-natural Irish textiles to bring to Oklahoma.
O’Donnell’s website offers handmade scarves by famous designer Edel MacBride; woolen throws from Ireland’s oldest mill, Avoca Handweavers, in County Wicklow; Branigan Weavers baby blankets from County Louth; and Aran fishermen’s sweaters to keep you warm when that icy Oklahoma winter wind sweeps across the plains.
If you’re a fellow do-it-yourselfer, A-Wee-Bit-Of-Ireland’s wares might inspire you to learn a new craft and take up some knitting needles to make your own traditional Aran jumper — that’s what they call sweaters across the pond, luv.
Some believe Aran knitting was born in the Aran Islands just off the west coast of Ireland, in Galway Bay, thousands of years ago. It is said they were worn by fisherman and farmers, to protect them from the cold weather on the treeless islands. However, some say they were originally stitched around 1900 and the myth is used as a marketing scheme.
Regardless of when they were invented, Aran jumpers are thick and warm — which makes them perfect for the crazy, unpredictable weather we have here.
The Gourmet Yarn Co. (gourmetyarnco.com; 2915 W. Britton Rd.; 286- 3737) has everything you need, whether you’re a novice or a master. Its expert knitters and crocheters can help you find patterns and the perfect yarn and needles and will figure out where you went wrong if your sweater (or whatever you’re making) isn’t exactly looking wearable.
If you’re just starting your knitting journey, you can take a few beginner classes — and make new friends — at a Knit-In, 4-8 p.m. the second Saturday of every month.
If you live in the southern part of the metro, you will want to visit L&B Yarn Co. (lbyarnco.com; 425 W. Gray St., Norman; 310-3636). It offers a wide selection of yarns and patterns for knitters and crocheters at any skill level. You can even download free patterns from its website.
Sign up for a class, and then knit and chitchat with other fiber-lovers at the monthly Knit Nite 5:30-7:50 p.m. every first Tuesday.
Take a short drive north of OKC to historic downtown Guthrie and visit Sealed With a Kiss (swakknit.com; 109 E. Oklahoma Ave.; 282-8649). This colorful yarn shop offers a large array of supplies and project-specific classes, as well as gifts and trinkets. Participate in Guthrie Getaway Weekend, a weekendlong knitting workshop taking place Nov. 15-17, or attend a yarn tasting or a trunk show by Classic Elite Yarns.
Help keep traditions hundreds (or thousands) of years old alive by supporting handicrafters or becoming one yourself. Let’s get crafty, OKC!