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Institutes of Technology Ireland
Research & Innovation

Eire Knits – The Irish Knitting Club

Rosaleen Hegarty started her career in the town of Buncrana, Co. Donegal, as a primary school teacher who taught needlework to her classes. To overcome the lack of employment in the area in the 1970s, Rosaleen encouraged her pupils to knit sweaters that were then sold in a local shop. This was the beginning of Crana Knits, which is now recognised worldwide as the top quality supplier of Irish Aran Knitting.

Over the years, Crana Knits has used the advent of the internet to promote and sell knitwear and had recently decided to develop an add-on facility to its website to teach visitors the art of Aran Knitting. Although, the company had many years of experience in Aran knitting, it lacked the technical knowledge and skills to deliver the multimedia online content needed to develop this facility.

The company partnered with Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT), which has expertise and facilities in computing and multimedia. Staff at the Institute conducted research into the various web technologies required for delivery of the knitting lessons.

The Institute then allocated the services of a web and graphic designer and a web programmer to work closely with the company to develop the website. A series of video tutorials, designed to teach knitting skills, were developed using specialised equipment in the Institute’s dedicated audio visual studio. Experts in the development of e-learning content at LYIT formatted the content of these tutorials, ready for online delivery.

The final output of the project was Eire Knits - the Irish Knitting Club, which was launched in January 2011 and is available at www.eireknits.com. The Irish Knitting club comprises a series of 50 multimedia lessons on traditional Aran knitting. These lessons include video tutorials, digitally rendered knitting patterns, close up images and textual descriptions of the steps required to knit the perfect Aran Sweater.

The partnership was funded initially by an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher and subsequently by Líonra, under the Business Mentoring for Winners Innovative Actions Programme.

The Irish Knitting Club is a commercial subscription based service which is heavily targeted at the American market. This website fulfils an important cultural role, facilitating the passing on of Rosaleen’s experience in Aran knitting to current and future generations.

Testimonials

“The Irish Knitting Club would not have been possible without the skills and knowledge from the staff in Letterkenny Institute of Technology. We know a lot about the area of Aran Knitting, and we already have good experience of the Internet through our other websites, but the skills required for developing the Irish Knitting Club were very different.”
Rosaleen Hegarty - Owner, Crana Knits Ltd.

“This project allowed staff from the Institute to gain valuable experience of working on a real-world project. There is always a danger that academic institutions could become detached from industry, and this type of industry involvement helps keep our research and teaching current. Staff benefitted enormously from working on this unique cultural and commercial project.”
John Conaghan - Lecturer in Computing, Letterkenny Institute of Technology

Client: Crana Knits
Institution:
Letterkenny Institute of Technology
Industry: Manufacturing
National Priority Area: Digital Platforms, Content and Applications

Head of Development
John Andy Bonar
Letterkenny Institute of Technology
Port Road, Letterkenny
Co. Donegal
Ireland
T: +353 (0)74 918 6060
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Industrial Liaison Manager
Dr. Padraig Gallagher
Letterkenny Institute of Technology
Port Road, Letterkenny
Co. Donegal
Ireland
T: +353 (0)74 918 6062
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Dept. of Computing
John Conaghan
Letterkenny Institute of Technology
Port Road, Letterkenny
Co. Donegal
Ireland
T: +353 (0)74 918 6343
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