Ceilte Cowl  | Celtic Knits Club 2024

We can’t quite believe that it’s time for our second Celtic Knits Club installment!

The Ceilte Cowl is Eimear Earley’s contribution to this year’s Celtic Knits Club. A design inspired by a distant horizon where stories become cables.

Ceilte (Irish for ‘hidden’, pronounced ‘kel-teh’ or ‘kel-tche’ depending on dialect) features a cabled panel at the front, with garter stitch to the back. The pattern makes a generous sized cowl, intended to provide coverage across the wearer’s front.

We asked Eimear to share her inspiration for the design. In true Eimear fashion, she made herself a cuppa and wrote these wonderful words for all of you:

Island Inspiration

The inspiration for this year’s Celtic Knits Club is Islands of Ireland. I live, and grew up in the east of Ireland, away from the rugged Atlantic Coast and its many islands. I felt that I couldn’t claim inspiration from real places I have not lived in nor visited.

But stories, on the other hand, can be shared and experienced without restriction due to location.


Since childhood, I’ve been aware of the story of Tír na nÓg (Land of Youth): a place without hunger or
aging. Tír na nÓg is said to be located to the west of Ireland, across the ‘Mag Mel’ – or Plain of Honey –
delightful imagery for the gold of the setting sun shining on the Atlantic Ocean.

It features in the story of Oisín and Niamh: the hero Oisín falls in love with Niamh and agrees to go to her homeland of Tír na nÓg, travelling on a magical horse that can walk over water. After what seems like three years have passed, Oisín visits Ireland and learns that he has been gone for 300 years: everyone he knew is long dead and forgotten.

In recent years, I’ve also learned of Hy-Brasil, a mysterious island said to lie off the west coast of
Ireland. It is said to be hidden in mist except for one day every seven years. Lost ships are said to have landed there, and there is a folktale, telling of a man abducted & brought to the island, who later became a great healer without training. There are reports of multiple expeditions that have tried to reach this island, and it was recorded on maps for centuries, until as recently as 1865. *

These two legendary places are easily conflated: both located to the west, difficult to locate, and are
rumoured to be places of prosperity and learning.

So how do we turn stories into knitted cables?

I imagined a distant horizon, with an island rising from the ocean. This became a line of simple twisting cables with a wider curving cable at the centre. The Mag Mel (Plain of Honey) became large sections of honeycomb cable. The mirrored cables hint at another world, other perspectives, reflections on water. And symmetry is always so very satisfying, don’t you agree?

We will be chatting more about this during our zoom live, so if you have questions about the Ceilte Cowl or my design inspiration, please post them in the comments below!

Ceilte Cowl Pattern Details

The Ceilte Cowl explores cabling, short rows, picking up stitches, with a grafted finish – quite a lot for
a fairly small project!

The cowl starts with the front cable panel, worked from the bottom up, casting on just a few stitches and increasing to its full width. The cable panel features twisting cables in the centre, framed by honeycomb cable on each side.

When the front panel is complete we continue by picking up stitches along one edge of the panel and work the back of the cowl in garter stitch, from side-to-side, lightly shaped with short rows. The cowl can be joined by grafting live stitches, or by binding off and seaming the garter stitch and cable panel together.

Then the cowl is finished by picking up stitches to work an I-cord bind off along the top and bottom edges.

If you are new to any of these techniques, the Deas yarn is a lovely material to work with: it is lovely and grippy so is very unlikely to run away if you happen to drop stitches. Its medium weight makes for a nice visible stitch while learning to graft, or pick up stitches.


And if you go slightly astray, its lovely woollen-with-tweed texture is great for hiding slight errors!

If you’d like to join us for our Celtic Knits Club 2024, our Digital Club is still open and you get access to all our club patterns, workshops, exclusive chat threads and zoom live chats:

For those of you who would like to read a little more about the topics mentioned above, try:
* Wikipedia page on Hy-Brasil
Manchán Magan’s Listen to the Land Speak. (Affiliate link.)


MEET OUR FEATURE DESIGNER

Eimear Earley – Irish Knitwear Designer

Eimear Earley lives in Dublin, Ireland, with two small humans and a supportive spouse. Eimear originally learned to knit as a schoolchild, dabbling with leftovers of yarn and absolutely no concept of gauge or ease during her teenage years. After spending her student years playing with molten glass, she now gets her creative kicks from knitting and spinning wool – much more practical pursuits. Eimear loves to reinterpret old Irish things into modern knitwear, from ancient gold artifacts to less ancient cable knitting.

You can keep up to date with all of Eimear’s designs and publications here.

2 thoughts on “Ceilte Cowl  | Celtic Knits Club 2024

  1. Oh, I love this post! I loved the pattern when I saw it , but your story made me even more excited to get to knit this cowl!
    I also like the size if it, nice and big :)
    Very excited to knit it!

  2. Such a beautiful design, and fascinating story to go with it as I knit away. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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