Sunday, 7 July 2019

Exclusive Interview With An Caitin Beag + Simpler Sinister Cat Sweater

I mentioned in my review of this year's Edinburgh Yarn Festival (I'm still sad that it's taking a break in 2020) that I bought An Caitin Beag's Simpler Sinister Sweater pattern and Northiam DK wool from Kettle Yarn Co to knit it with.

The pattern was one I was itching to get started with and therefore it leapfrogged over others on my 'to knit' list. Fast forward to June and, even though I'd been working on other projects as well, I'd finished it. I love the way the cats eyes pop out in the pattern, plus Northiam wool feels so soft next to the skin and yet is incredibly warm.


Here's a picture of the whole sweater:


When I emailed a picture of my sweater to Marna, aka An Caitin Beag, she was delighted to see my colour interpretation of her design (although actually it was Linda of Kettle Yarn Co who suggested the two colours would work well together, pushing me slightly out of my sartorial comfort zone) and agreed to a mini interview.

Q. When and how did you come up with the idea for the pattern?

A. I came up with the Sinister Catdigan first, by that's knitted in 4ply, and has three-colour colourwork, so it's not the easiest or fastest knit. So this one was invented to simplify the catties and make for a faster, funner, knit - plus the very simple yoke meant I could easily grade it down to child and baby sizes.

Sinister Catdigan image courtesy of An Caitin Beag
Q. The cats' eyes are really striking - were they hard to chart?

A. No! But I've been sketching these cats for years, so I know what I want them to look like. The charting for this took about four iterations - that's really quite quick for one of my designs.

Q. Where does your fascination with cats come from?

A. Ah, that's like asking 'Why is the Moon?!' I've always loved cats, and I've been lucky enough to live with quite a few. I like their belligerent independence - reminds me of me.

Q. You launched some new patterns at Edinburgh Yarn Festival - can you please tell me about them?

A. Yes I'd love to! I launched two new patterns. The Catwing Sweater is a batwing sweater with cats on the sleeves (or wings). It's not as complicated to knit as it looks: there's some simple intarsia and it's a sideways knit.

Catwing Sweater diagram courtesy of An Caitin Beag
The other pattern I launched was (I never promised you a) Cat Garden, which is a pretty, fitted cardigan with a slightly retro-70s flowery yoke - but the flowers are tiny, budding cats.

Cat Garden image courtesy of An Caitin Beag
Q. Can you give A Woolly Yarn readers any clues about what you're designing for the future?

A. It will involve cats! I'm right now knitting up a version of the Sinister Catdigan graded won to a child size, but I have the Sinister socks (socks with so many cats!) on the needles too, plus a couple of surprises in the pipeline.

Peeky Catsocks image courtesy of An Caitin Beag

Many thanks to Marna for answering our feline-themed questions. Go to An Caitin Beag's website to see what other catty things she has on sale, from fab stitch markers to enamel pins and project bags.

All Marna's patterns are available on Ravelry. I'm fancying channelling my inner 1980s (without the ill-advised curly perm and frosted pink lipstick) by knitting the Catwing sweater. A little bird has told me that there may be more shades of Kettle Yarn Co's Northiam DK and 4ply in the pipeline - hopefully they will be perfect for choosing yarn for Catwing.

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