Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wearin' O' The Green

Trilo by Carol Feller - copyright
The Irish are amazing marketers. Few cultural figures enjoy the popularity of St. Patrick, whose feast day - today, March 17- is celebrated virtually everywhere! Even fewer nations have a  colour that is so recognizable. Add to this "branding" a capacity for fun, fantasy and fortune and you have an irresistible magnet for luck.

The Irish, however, have never really been that lucky. It is true that they were an enlightened society in the 1200 to 1400s. Their monasteries were centres of learning, in fact they even ordained women priests. Unfortunately, this time was short-lived and when the English arrived, Ireland began more than 500 years of  misery. A misery that was compounded by famines, when the potato crops failed. Events which forced almost half the population of Ireland to leave in the hopes of finding prosperity elsewhere.

And prosper they did. Maybe this is why they are called "lucky," because they have survived so many hardships. My great great grandmother was one of the famine survivors. While her husband stayed in Ireland to work their passage over, she left with her 9 year-old son and two very young daughters.  They were given crown land and homesteaded near Mt Forest - a small town about 2 hours north of Toronto. Years ago I spent a summer in a log cabin without electricity or running water. The "house" was located in the middle of a 100 acre farm, not far from where my ancestors began to re-build their lives.  I can't imagine how one woman, with the help of a young son managed to run a farm, under those conditions for 10 years, until her husband could finally join them.
Trilo by Carol Feller - copyright

That boy was my great grandfather. He had 14 children. One of the boys, Peter, was my grandfather. My father is 96 and still longs for Ireland - a place he has never been.  The Irish may have left Ireland, but they took their culture with them and have instilled in each generation, a haunting need to return. Failte ar ais - Welcome back.

Trilo by Carol Feller - copyright
I think that I have to knit Trilo by Carol Feller of Stolen Stitches, who lives in Ireland with her husband and four children. When I saw this sweater, I knew that it was special. It may be knit in any colour; but the green is lovely. It goes with the leaves in the pattern and congers the idea of verdant fields and mossy rocks. The hint of lace suggests a lightness in the air, maybe a song and the entire silhouette is timeless.

Erinn go brach

To see all of Carol Feller's patterns which are distributed by infiknit follow this link. (Please note that all pictures are copyrighted.)

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