So this is my new Aranware pitcher. Don't you just love it? One of the things that I find particularly fun about being a yarn store owner is that you get to be official Head Cheerleader for absolutely anything that has to do with knitting, sheep, fibre, and just about anything else of interest to our customers. When I was researching Irish knitting for the March newsletter I came across Ann Mullan-Karakatsanis, the creator and designer of Kara Irish Pottery, inspired by Aran Irish traditional sweaters with patterns that reflect elements of Celtic art. I loved the pictures of all the pottery so much that I had to get a piece to show off at the store, as an example of how beautiful knitting can inspire so many other art forms. When I picked up my pitcher last week, in the box I found a copy of a magazine article from TEA, A Magazine, Spring 2003 which featured an interview with Ann. They explained that one of the greatest challenges of the production was that the pieces originated from a factory in Derry, in the predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland AND the only other Irish pottery, in County Cork in the Catholic South. Derry however is predominantly Catholic and the home of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland so an accord was forged and we are the beneficiaries. Also included with the article was the following side bar. It sounds relatively authentic and dependable but I'm always suspect about any "definitive" stories about traditional origins of any kind. For what it's worth, here it is: "The true story of Aran knitting was discovered by knitwear designer, Rohana Darlington while in Aran during the summer of 1984. She searched for Mary Dirrane, said by the islanders to know more about knitting than anyone else. Mary told her the tale of when her mother, Margaret, and her friend Maggie O'Toole had gone to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1906 with the intention of emigrating. They stayed on "some islands off Boston" and learned from some "foreign immigrant woman" how to do cable, moss stitch and trellis or lattice patterns. In 1908 they returned to Ireland, blending their new knitting skills with what they saw sailors wearing, and experimenting with patterns." Now that I have you all gung ho about getting your own piece of Aranware pottery, the bad news is that at this time, Ann has difficulty shipping to Canada as the products, being from offshore, are not covered under NAFTA and consequently are subject to duty and all the shenanigans that that implies. But if you have friend or kin south of the border who can accept your order (as I do) Ann is happy to do that for just $5 shipping charges. karairishpottery.com 1-800-430-2008