Eightsome Reel


Small — Underarm 92cm. Waist 86cm. Length 53cm.
Medium — Underarm 97cm. Waist 92cm. Length 55cm.
Large — Underarm 102.5cm. Waist 97cm. Length 56cm.
XL — Underarm 108cm. Waist 102.5cm. Length 57cm.
XXL — Underarm 113.5cm. Waist 108cm. Length 59cm.
XXXL — Underarm 119cm. Waist 113.5cm. Length 61cm.

This kit includes a colour-printed pattern card with full instructions in all sizes and all the yarn required to make Eightsome Reel in your chosen size.

This design can be ordered in any of our available colours of Hebridean 3 Ply.

Click here for a digital shadecard of all Hebridean 3 Ply colours.

Visit our Video Tutorials section for tutorials on a variety of knitting techniques to help you with your projects.


The Eightsome Reel has a special place in the memory of all fun-loving teens and twenties of the sixties in the Isle of Lewis. A typical weekend programme of entertainment would begin with dressing up in style – girls in miniskirts and Mary Quant make-up, boys in sharp suits and cuban heels – then off to the disco to pose and groove to all the new rock and pop sounds of the day.

Once the disco ended we would pile into cars and head off out of town to the village halls where the dances were altogether more traditional, with live dance bands playing jigs and reels. Though we considered ourselves the acme of sophistication, there is no doubt that the country dances were much more sociable and consequently, a lot more fun. The Eightsome Reel involved four boys and girls getting together, with each one taking a star role in the centre of the group to dance with every other of the oppostite sex. This was interspersed with all eight joining hands and whirling around in a circle, first clockwise, then anticlockwise. This began decorously but quickly became wild and often dangerous, so that hanging on for dear life was all that mattered. Broken limbs were generally avoided only because the floor was well packed with dancers, but it was not unusual to find yourself flying across the hall and crash landing on the wallflowers. The lesson being that it was as well to join in as stay out of the reel.

I designed Eightsome Reel with very happy memories of these times in mind. My first objective was to design a Celtic symbol with with four double elements all linked together, echoing the formation of the dance. I then designed a cabled and ruffled edging which is offset by the simple reverse stocking stitch of the main body. The style is easy and comfortable with a lightly shaped waist. For those familiar with cabling and knitting up stitches along edges, this is a quick design to knit. For beginners who are competent with the basics and are ready to tackle a few new techniques, it is ideal.