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January Kit

Back in college, one of my projects included a lot of inspiration from maps of Ireland. You see I was pretty homesick at the time. And we had been given a brief to create work on the theme 'best dream, worst nightmare' or something to that effect. I was exploring how the whole experience of going to college abroad was both really. I loved stitching and all the new techniques we were learning. And I loved the new friends I had made. But I was also missing home an awful lot, and not quite feeling like I was fitting in over the pond.

Anyways, I was looking back over some of this work recently. As I mentioned a lot of my experimental sketches revolved around maps. I had a lot of sketches of contour lines. Contour lines are found on topographical maps. They are lines drawn on a map connecting points of equal height above sea level. Essentially, they represent the three-dimensional landscape of Earth within the two-dimensional space of a map. I even created some of my own 'maps' with tea stains and contour lines. Tea was something I always felt kept me a little closer to home. I stocked up on boxes of Barry's every time I visited! So I used it a lot in my work at this time as well.


Eventually I thought maybe there could be a kit in there somewhere. Now, I wanted something most people could relate to rather than my own favourite spots, or made-up tea maps. And of course, higher peaks create better patterns of contour lines. So that's how I decided on Carrauntoohil - the highest point in Ireland. While I was stitching this kit I was also wondering about the name 'Carrauntoohil' and the history of the site. According to Patrick Weston Joyce 'it descends on the Killarney side by a curved edge all jagged and serrated with great masses of rock projecting like teeth. Tuathail [toohil] means left-handed, and is applied to anything reversed from it's proper direction; carrán is a reaping hook; and Carrauntoohil is "the reversed reaping hook", because the teeth are on the convex side of a concave edge'. Although it's not certain this is the origin of the name I thought it was a pretty interesting interpretation.

In this kit we'll be learning a whopping 7 stitches! I think that's the most I've had in 1 kit so far. The design will act like a bit of a sampler. We'll do at least 2 lines in each stitch and use differing numbers of strands in the needle so that you can compare for each too. I hope you enjoy stitching this one as much as I did! And as always, feel free to share your thoughts on the piece

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