Know your knits
“This is the tree of life, that is the blackberry stitch and that plaited double diamond is called the Mary Ann stitch in this house, because Mary Ann is the only one who does it.” Anne O’maille gives a chuckle as she takes me on a visual tour of knitting from the Aran Islands. You see she owns O’, The Original House of Style on High Street in Galway and she knows her knitting. In fact she knows knitting, lacework, crochet sewing and embroidery. She learned it all from her mother when she was six.
“My generation learned it from our mothers and our grandmothers. We were told to sit and watch and do what they did. That’s why there aren’t patterns for these stitches. Then it was taught in the schools for a very long time. It hasn’t been taught for 50 years,” O’maille says. So we have to really watch for good knitters. I have a group of about 100 right now and the oldest one is in her eighties.”
She says this shop is the only one of it’s kind in Ireland.
She’s right. There are a lot of woolen shops, but most of what they offer is machine made. It’s uniform. And it’s beautiful but it’s not handmade.
She can tell you about Paula and Peggy and Mary Ann, because she knows them. She knows their work and she knows the quality of their art. And she sends them the wool.
“This is natural cream, that is oatmeal, look at this violet and the most popular is the grey that comes from the black sheep,” she says.
O’Maille, The Original House of Style in Galway is committed to the Irish culture of woolens and to tradition. The shop is located on High Street and if your are lucky enough to visit when Ann is in, you are in for a tremendous treat!