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How to make a Zwartbles Sheep Egg Cozy

January 14, 2017

How to Knit a Zwartbles Egg Cozy

Inspirational Women

This post is a little different from the usual as it contains a simple knitting pattern that I came up with when I was trying to think of gifts I could make for friends a few years ago.

How to Make a Zwartbles Sheep Egg Cozie

©Suzanna Crampton

We’re often quick to knock social media but I met Suzanna of Zwartbles Ireland, Catherine of Foxglove Land, Eadaoin of City of Blackbirds and Susan from Vibrant Ireland on Twitter soon after I began using it in 2009/10 and we’ve remained on and offline friends since.

As a result we’ve created an uplifting support network. Genuine, incredibly creative, non judgmental and never ones to gossip, it’s always a joy to meet these women in person once or twice a year for tea, chat and an illuminating catch up.

Photo copyright Suzanna Crampton

©Suzanna Crampton

The idea for knitting gifts made from Zwartbles wool arose because Suzanna had linked up with Cushendale Woolen Mills to create her beautiful rugs and yarn. I was looking forward to making something with wool that was cleaned and spun 30 km away, from sheep reared 24 km away by a female friend.

I ended up making two tea cozies, a mug warmer and these egg cozies pictured, going on to sell a few of the latter by request. I’m no longer making the cozies to sell so for those of you who might like to make them, I’ve left the pattern below.

I enjoy knitting during the winter months when it’s quieter in the gardens, having learnt from my Mum when I was a child. Mum was always clacking the needles in the evenings as she relaxed and I miss having her nearby to help me out when I get stuck on the tricky parts. Unfortunately Mum can no longer knit due to crippling arthritis but when I pick up my own needles I think of her and wish that my own children would take an interest in this useful and rewarding craft.

How to knit a Zwartbles Egg Cozy

How to Knit a Zwartbles Sheep Egg Cozy

There’s no comparison – Mum was an amazingly talented knitter but without her close by I find YouTube a great source of help for explaining any tricky stitches in more detail. The following pattern is quick and easy to knit up if you have some very basic knitting skills.

Materials and Size

Width:  7 cm, 2½ in   Height: 6.5 cm, 2½ in (will stretch)

Using Zwartbles Wool (available from Zwartbles Ireland online shop) and 3.25 mm needles (UK 10, US 3)

How to Make a Zwartbles Sheep Egg Cozie

©Suzanna Crampton

Method

Cast on 26 sts
Rib 2 rows *K1, p1; rep from * to end of row
Stocking stitch 10 rows (K a row, P a row, *repeat for another 8 rows)

To shape the top

Row 13:     K4, K2tog) to last st, k2

Row 14:     S1 (slip 1 stich), purl to last st, k1

Row 15:     (K3, K2tog) to last st, k2

How to make a Zwartbles Sheep Egg Cozy

©Suzanna Crampton

Row 16:     S1, purl to last st, k1

Row 17:     (K2, K2tog) to last st, k2

Row 18:     S1, purl to last st, k1

Row 19:     (K1, K2tog) to last st, k2

Row 20:     S1, purl to last st, k1

Row 21:     (K2tog) to last st, k1  (5sts)

Cut the wool leaving a length of around 15 cm. Using a yarn sewing needle, pull the wool through the remaining stitches and secure. Sew up the seam.

How to make a Zwartbles Egg Cozy

To decorate

Use the images as a guide. Crochet four legs using a simple chain stitch in a combination of black/brown/cream colours (like the sheep out in the fields) and secure equally onto the bottom of the egg cozy.

Cut out a small piece of black felt and sew another small piece of white felt onto to it. Secure to the cozy to create the nose. Cut and stitch two pieces of brown felt on the top for the ears. Stitch in place.

Are you a knitter? I wonder how many youngsters learn these days compared to my own childhood?

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Lifestyle

Ten Christmas Gift Ideas Made in Ireland

November 23, 2013
Irish Garden Magazine December 2012

Irish Garden Magazine – December 2012

Selling is harder than we think!

A couple of years ago I launched a limited edition Greenside Up seed gift range that was not only available in various outlets and online shops. The support and encouragement I received from so many of you, not only in terms of promotion and publicity, but also from feedback and sales was tremendously heart lifting. I was thrilled that they were so successful and that so many of you bought the seed gifts for friends, family as well as yourselves and not least that the seeds grew and produced so much produce!

Selling a product as opposed to a service was a valuable learning curve and gave me a much greater appreciation and insight into the retail business. Like so many small craft business’, I designed, developed, printed and made up the products myself. That was the easy part. As the two community garden groups I was working with found, getting out there and marketing, promoting and selling our wares takes a whole new set of skills as well as a tremendous amount of time!

Irish Made Christmas Gift Ideas

We are however, blessed in Ireland to be surrounded by hardworking people who continually create wonderful products and crafts that can enrich our lives – we just need to support them. Guaranteed Irish undertook some research in 2013 and found that if families spent €4 a week more on Irish products, the country would be able to create over 6,000 jobs. Imagine the change in people’s lives!

With that in mind, if you’re looking for ideas to help you find Irish made Christmas gifts for friends and loved ones over the coming weeks, here’s my own favourite Top Ten Irish made items, any one of which I’d love to see under my Christmas tree, and all fairly local to me.

In no particular order of preference:

Christmas Gift Ideas Made in Ireland

Purity Belle Antique Candle

1. Purity Belle Candles

I’m loving the ethos behind the Purity Bell range of candles available from their website. The candles are made from non GM soy wax, no palm oil is used and Cliona specialises in making them in recycled containers. Just look at these beautiful tea-cup candles. As a result of spotting these I’m constantly on the lookout in charity shops for china tea cups to drink my tea out of but I think Cliona has beaten me to them all!

Christmas Gift Ideas Made in Ireland

Zwartbles Rug

2. Zwartbles Rugs & Yarn 

I’m currently knitting away, making Christmas gifts with wool from the adorable black Zwartbles sheep that graze in close by Bennettsbridge, County Kilkenny.

If you don’t like your presents in kit form, how about becoming the owner of one of the 100% pure wool rugs designed by Suzanna Crampton, take a look at the Zwartbles.ie website here for more information.

3. Foxglove Lane Photography

Christmas Gift Ideas Made in Ireland

Foxglove Lane Photography

I’ve watched Catherine’s photographic skills develop through her blog over the past couple of years and was delighted when she began to sell her prints and cards online as it meant I could see them on my walls! Here’s the link to the Foxglove Lane website where you might find it difficult to choose just one image!

Christmas Gift Ideas Made in Ireland

Roisin Markham Art

4. Roisin Markham Art

I was aware that Roisin Markham from Wexford makes, among other things, exquisite textile art but it wasn’t until I saw her stunning display at the Wexford Heritage Park that I realised how beautiful textiles can be when highlighted in frames. This image is my personal favourite but there are several more. If you’re interested in purchasing one of Roisin’s pieces or finding more of her art, contact her directly creativedynamix1@gmail.com for details.

Christmas Gift Ideas Made in Ireland

Martin Marley Ceramics

5. Martin Marley Ceramics

I blogged about the moment I was prompted to buy an exquisite ceramic bowl made by Martin Marley at a pop up shop in Carlow last year. I haven’t tired of holding it or running my finger around its soft surface. If you’d like to see more of Martins work, contact him at Kilgraney House for details of stockists.

Christmas Gift Ideas Made in Ireland

Klaus Hartmann Pottery

6. Klaus Hartmann Pottery

Klaus’ pottery is designed and fired in both modern and traditional kilns from his home.  He has several pieces in his range, including cane toppers and plant markers for the garden, but for indoors I’m especially fond of his candle centre pieces.

Klaus and Heike (see below) will be exhibiting their wares at the National Craft Fare at the RDS on the 4th to the 8th December.

Christmas Gift Ideas Made in Ireland

Baunafea Willoworks

 

7. Basketry from Baunafea Willow Works

Heike Kahle’s willow work is well-known in the south-east and her basketwork is grown and handmade just two miles from my home. I’d be hard pressed to choose between any of her products as they are all extraordinarily beautiful and I’ve seen first hand the love and care that goes into making each and every piece.

Klaus & Heike are regulars at Kilkenny Farmers market on Thursdays if you’d like to see more of their work.

Christmas Gift Ideas Made in Ireland

Siobhan Jordan Art

8. Siobhan Jordan Art

The walls in our home are for hanging pictures and art and it’s just as well as Siobhan Jordan is another favourite artist of mine! I’m entranced by her quirky and fun yet unusual and detailed prints.

Check out her range at siobhanjordan.com if you’d like to see more.

Christmas Gift Ideas Made in Ireland

Bramble Cottage Metalworks

 

 

9. Ironwork from Bramble Cottage

Bramble Cottage Forge create bespoke pieces forged from iron and steel in nearby Castlecomer. I’m loving this bottle opener available from their Etsy Store – one item that’s a must in every household at Christmas!

Christmas Gift Ideas Made in Ireland

Jane Donald Sacred Messages Book

10. Sacred Ireland Book

Finally, no home is complete without a coffee table book and Jane Donald’s Sacred Ireland, Sacred messages would be a special one to buy or be given.

Printed in 2011 Jane’s book hasn’t lost it’s edge. Insightful messages coupled with beautiful  imagery of this ancient isle we live on would make this book top on my wish list.

It was difficult to choose just ten items for this post, there are so many beautiful products out there. I haven’t been sponsored or paid to recommend them to you but chose them for my own love of the products and that they all come from local friends, neighbours or business’ I’ve come across over the past couple of years.

Will you be making an extra effort to support and shop Irish this Christmas?