Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Eala Bhan


I’m reading Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting at the moment.  If you are keen on cables, I highly recommend this book.

A lovely Raveler from France who got in contact with me a while ago mentioned this book when we were exchanging ideas on what she could knit with possum yarn.  I’ve had it in mind ever since, and have finally laid my sticky fingers on a copy.  I’m so glad I did!  Thank you Dominique!

Aran Knitting examines the history of Aran and Aran knitting and helps to dispel many of the myths surrounding it.  I’m thoroughly enjoying reading it.

Alice Starmore is a genius with cables.  There’s a very enticing pattern in it… Eala Bhan.

This pattern makes my heart go bumpity bump extra fast.  It’s so pretty!!!  I simply have to knit it!  Even if the prospect of knitting an entire cabled sweater in 3mm needles is rather daunting.

Of course, the question now is:  What yarn should I use?

I’ve decided that I really need to make a bit more of a dent in the yarn I already have rather than go out and buy more.  Surely there must be something in my yarn collection that I could use?

Digging in my yarn collection is always a most enjoyable experience.  Sylvia (my daughter) was lying on the bed watching me while I happily pulled various yarns out of their cubby and examined them for potential.

“Mother, what are you doing?”

“I’m looking for a suitable yarn for this project.” (Indicating Eala Bhan lying open on the floor next to me).

“But you’re not finished your other projects yet!  You haven’t finished my sock!” she squeaked in a tone of rising panic.

“I know!  [feeling guilty].  But I just have to work out what I’m going to use for this project so that I can get started on it as soon as I finish a couple of the projects on the table.”

“How can you do that?  It’s like going off in the middle of baking something to look at other recipes to see what else you can make!”

[Uncomfortable wiggle].  “Yes, but this pattern is haunting me!  I’ve got to know if I can knit it using yarn from my stash!”

A sigh of utmost disapproval issues from pursed lips and she walked away, muttering things about attention deficit and overly creative minds…  hehe.

I continued my hunt.

The yarn mentioned in the pattern is Alice Starmore’s own Hebridean 2 ply – a sport weight yarn that knits to a tension of 27 stitches x 40 rows on 3mm needles.

While it’s quite easy to get a yarn to knit to 27 stitches on 3mm needles, it’s less easy to find a yarn that will squeeze 40 rows into 10cm.  So far, I’ve swatched four separate yarns and none of them match the tension exactly.

However, the yarn that I really, really, want to use is Zealana’s Kiwi in fingering weight.

Its tension is 27 stitches x 35 rows on 3mm needles, incidentally the closest match I’ve got so far.  It’s got that swing and drape that I want in this project to counter the extensive cabling.  Plus it will be lovely and soft which means I could wear Eala Bhan against the skin.

I’m wondering if I could just fudge the length.  I think I might just have to do a larger swatch and see what happens…  the need to knit this is killing me.


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

14 thoughts on “Eala Bhan

  1. I had a look at it on ravelry and it is beautiful! It will look lovely in the Kiwi, but didn’t you have the Kiwi in that lovely aqua? Or was that the one with no cotton in it…. and maybe that was for another project in your queue! :o)

    Maybe Sylvia needs to learn to knit socks instead of crochet heh he he!!!!!
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend XXX

    • I have two lots of Kiwi. One in fingering, and one in lace. The lace one is becoming a cardigan… the charcoal was supposed to be for another project, but I think this will be prettier!

  2. i’m waiting to see it… (is the colour gray or black; gray isn’t?)
    kind regards

  3. Daughter just don’y understand do they!!!!

    Have started fingerless mits with your Rimu. Mastering the art of DPN’s. It i just so nice knitted, even softer then it felt when it was still in the ball.

  4. You have the knit bug bad on this one, lol. Love the pattern, I’m not very good with the swatching thing and will usually just wing it…………..had a couple of disasters this way though……………………… the yarn you want to use looks fab for this pattern and a little fudging never hurt anyone.

    lily x

  5. I’ve read several articles on getting gauge, and it seems that it is more important to get the stitch count right, and not worry about the row count too much. It is much harder to find a yarn with the right drape/ feel/ quality than it is to adjust the length of a sweater. Use Kiwi. You’ll be much happier with the sweater in the end.

  6. Oh how I love having the next few projects planned well in advance! I think it is all part of the creative process. And, thinking about what to use for the next must do project when finished with the current 3 or more on the go. We do need to have several things on the go to find our mood at any time don’t we? Socks are great to have in the handbag from what I understand. I always have my ‘carry around’ projects in my bag to take out when I have a few spare minutes somewhere. Managed to finish a sleeve on a jumper for my husband last week in the dentists waiting room last week. One thing I do find though is that it often seems to require the purchase of more yarn or fibre to spin. However there is great satisfaction in finding a project and completing it in some yarn from the stash.

    And, what a stunning pattern to use some of the stash with. I look forward to seeing the finished garment.

    I agree that the stitch count is more important – can always add more rows but not more width.

    • Haha! You’re so right. And funnily enough, I do have to acquire a couple more balls of Kiwi to do this project (to have enough meterage). But that’s ok – far cheaper than going out and buying a whole new project’s worth.

  7. Could you suggest an online seller of Zealana yarns? I’m in Sydney, Australia.

  8. looks lovely. I really like cables, and they are so much less hassle and mess than knitting with 2 or more colours. And since it’s using tiny-breadth yarn, you don’t have to worry about ending with too much bulk.

    • You are so right! Now I’ve done a swatch, I like the feel of cabled Kiwi very much. And as you so rightly say, it isn’t bulky at all.