Knitting and Stitching Adventures

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I’ve been dying to tell you all about my trip to the knitting and  Stitching Show at the RDS last Saturday, but had to wait until the magazine went live on Thursday.  We had deliberately set our publication date for after the show, in order to shine a spotlight on the event, so I’ve had to stay shtum until now.

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It was rather a long day, having set off at 6.15am to meet my fellow knitty friends at 7.15 in Midleton, where we caught the minibus to take the 12 of us up to Dublin.  The weather wasn’t so great on the way up, and after such an early start, it was important to stop off for refreshments.

Having arrived in a very wet Dublin, we filled in past the poor people patiently queuing for tickets in the rain and headed in our separate directions.  Some of us had booked into workshops, others just wanted an opportunity to peruse and some of us even managed to pop along for a quick visit to This Is Knit to make a couple of purchases too.

I don’t think I’ve ever visited the Knitting & Stitching Show on a Saturday before, having had the shop in the past usually meant I’d get to pop up on a Sunday, when it’s a little quieter.  Saturday was heaving and there were times when it was a little difficult to move.  That number of people in a confined area is also going to mean warmth and boy was it hot.  There were times when I’d have merrily stripped off and I did remove all knitwear, after I’d met the people I had wanted to.

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Talking of meeting people, I bumped into so many people that had been customers of mine in the shop and I was sad not to have enough time to catch up properly.  I even found Moya from Patchwork Plus – Look at the stunning quilts behind her.

Having visited a good number of yarn festivals now, I had felt the RDS show to be somewhat lacking in the past and was worried it wouldn’t have enough to hold my interest for a full day.  However, I was thrilled to see that there was a real buzz about the place and the energy of the visitors just added to the feeling.

The exhibitions were incredible as usual, with such a variety of things to see and delight over.  I always think it’s important to remember that the items on show are the exhibitors work and although invitingly tempting to touch, it should be avoided.  I did notice one or two people unable to resist stroking, pinching and rubbing the displays and I also saw how agitated this made the exhibitors.  It would be a shame if this put people off of showing there work in the future or if the work had to be cordoned off.  Maybe, bigger ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ signs will be needed in the future to serve as a gentle reminder.

There seemed to be a good number of workshops timetabled in, with all of them selling out quickly.  Some were a little oversubscribed and space was at a premium, but I imagine this was probably an oversight.  It would be great to know which classes were the most popular, so groups and teachers could work on trying to get courses in these areas together to run throughout the year here in Ireland.

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There were of course lots and lots of lovely, pretty things to tempt the Euro’s from your purse and despite having tonnes of stuff already, I did succumb, but only a little.  How restrained was I?

The linen type fabric was from Fabric Time and I’m going to make a smock apron dress thingy with it.  No doubt they’ll be leftovers and I’m hoping to use them to make little lavender sacks for my friends (at some stage).

The sari silk scraps and lime green fibre are to have a go at making some felted fabric.  I absolutely adore sari’s and would love to wear one all the time.  The colours and designs are truly inspiring and I’ve always been interested in crafting with these fabrics.  So when I spied the Felt Creative stall I knew now was the time to try.

Of course there must be yarn and the hank of lovely rainbow goodness is from A Fine Fish Yarns who are based in Belfast.  A latecomer to the RDS, three weeks notice I think, the stall was a riot of colour to tempt.  I’ve bought it with socks in mind, but it may well become a shawl as it’s just so pretty.

The green fibre was a freebie for taking out a membership to the Feltmakers Ireland guild.  I’ve been following their exploits for some time now and thought a membership might be  good way to stay up-to-date.  Although with all my fibre exploits, I could probably do without another addiction.

That awesome ball of turquoise and cream fluff, is 200g of merino fibre bought from the Bronte Glen  and I haven’t got a clue what it will end up being, I just had to have some.  I’m really looking forward to spinning it, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten, it may end up being knitted, woven or just looked at for a very long time.

What you can’t see here in the photo, is the lovely bundle of scraps and off-cuts that I bought from the Magee Weaving stand.  Their wool fabrics are beautiful and the stall was decorated with all of their bags, cushions and patchwork ideas.


Having checked the Magee Weaving website I’ve found they do sell their fabric in bundles of fat eights, patches and lengths, but haven’t found any information regarding the kits and off-cuts so I’ve emailed them and will update this post when I hear back.

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As I said the day was a long one and we were all very grateful for being able to sit down and relax whilst Dave, our lovely bus driver delivered us home safe and sound in what can only be described as ‘shocking’ weather conditions.

I say home safe and sound, but of course I still had to drive from Midleton to Lismore 8O

If you’d like to read a little more about the Knitting & Stitching Show in Dublin, pop over to our magazine article here.

Happy Fibre Crafting!

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Panic Stations

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So the first issue of Olann and is due for release on Thursday – only 3 more sleeps and although we’re there with pretty much everything, it feels like there is still so much left to do.

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I have been sneaking in a little knitting occasionally (mostly by lamplight and often in the wee small hours.  I added the red row to my crochet blanket last night, finally giving up at 12.20, when I’d completed the whole round.  I look a mess, I’ve booked a haircut for Friday morning, enough is enough.  My family, could do with a proper meal and my house, well, how about I show you how bad certain areas have become?

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Currently I’m typing this post at this.

I barely have enough space to move.  I only cleared everything off my desk on Thursday evening and I was out all day Saturday at the RDS, so I’ve no idea how it’s got so bad, so quickly.  What you can’t see in the photo is that I’ve more piles of stuff on the floor to the left of my desk and then there’s a make shift table with piles of books, yarn and papers on it.

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The kitchen has become a makeshift photography studio, the light is at it’s best in there.  It’s completely in the way though, getting into the fridge is difficult to say the least.

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Think it might be time to take the dogs for a walk, someone seems to be growing a little impatient, Errol and the other three, get far too crazy to overlook this necessity.  Nothing would be safe, if he wasn’t sufficiently worn out.

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Thankfully, living on the farm means it’s unlikely I’ll bump into anyone.

Normal service will resume shortly.


Happy Knitting!

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Quick Hat For The Simon Community

warm and woolly

The Olann and Warm + Woolly Campaign for The Simon Community is in full swing.  There are shops and businesses getting involved and signing up to be ‘Drop Off Points’, there are library’s up and down the country popping up campaign posters and we’ve even been on the radio.  Not that I managed to hear it though, as my broadband was awful on the day :-(

Anyway, as some of you probably already know, I’ve been involved in the odd charity knitting campaign in the past and as a result have written a few, easy knit patterns, that are listed on the pattern page here.  (must tidy them up now and make them all uniformly me as Leftfootdaisy).

Quick Chunky Hats
Quick Chunky Hats

One of them, The Quick Chunky Hat, was originally used for our Chernobyl Children’t Trust collection.  I opted for a standard chunky yarn, for a couple of reasons.  The first –  it’s mighty cold in Belarus and chunky hats tend to be cosier.  Secondly, double knit yarn tends to be the most popular weight here in Ireland and if you hold two strands together when knitting, it makes a chunky = Great for using up your ends.

Going back to my original pattern with fresh eyes, so to speak, it occurred to me that the addition of a longer band, might be more beneficial when it comes to keeping out the cold.  Ears are more delicate and therefore sensitive to the cold, so a folded band would add extra warmth, where it’s needed.  The longer band also gives the individual a couple of options on how to wear the hat, depending on what they find most comfortable.


Those lovely people over at Thomas B. Ramsden (they distribute the yarns from Robin, Wendy, Twilleys and Erika Knight), gave me a couple of balls of Evolve Chunky from Wendy in different shades, for the magazine and I wanted to make good use of the remaining yarn.


Each 100g ball of Evolve Chunky contains a generous 180 metres/197 yards of yarn.  The fibre composition is 10% Alpaca, 50% Wool, 40% Acrylic, which when knitted to the recommended tension of 14 stitches to 20 rows on 6.5mm needles, produces a lovely, light, warm fabric ideal for most projects.  There are 10 shades of Evolve Chunky available, each with it’s own subtle changing tones and should you want to investigate further there are some lovely patterns available to support the yarn too.

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I’ll update the pattern when I get a minute, but if you do want to knit this hat in the meantime.  It’s the largest size and everything is the same except at the beginning I ribbed for 21 rows instead of 7, which then means you have to work until the hat measures 9 inches before you begin to work the crown shaping.

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I’m pretty sure I have enough left to knit a second hat too, maybe I’ll stripe it with some of the blue?

Before I go…..

Did you notice that my URL has changed?

I’m now officially on the interweb (thanks to Shane, Dina’s beau).



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Rainbow Bright

Woman found safe, but extremely warm, after becoming engulfed by her yarn stash early last week. The first thing she did was sit down with a cuppa and her knitting --)

I was looking for knitting needles the other day, only to realise that I broke my last set of 3.5mm interchangeable Knit Pro’s a while back and forgot to replace them, before closing the shop.  So I did something I haven’t had to do for years (holiday yarn shop excursions don’t count), I went to a wool  shop and bought a set.  The trip provided a great opportunity to peruse the shelves of yarny goodness as a customer, tempted by all the woolly goodness and to look for yarn for Dina’s next project too.  Unfortunately, the one she’d fallen in love with wasn’t in stock, so now she’s going to use something I have left after closing the shop.

A much better idea, before the above really does end up happening 😱

Happily, I have also found some time to play with woolly goodness over the past few days, in fact I’m on a bit of a role with my knitting and crochet – Long may it last.

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I’ve finally managed to finish the pair of sparkly socks I cast on back in August.  As you can see from the photo, I’ve taken to just casting on the second sock straight after finishing the first.  Previously, I’ve been trying to match them a little more, but this method is appealing to my way of thinking a little more at the moment and let’s be honest it’s quicker ;-)  I’m not sure how many pairs I’m up to now in my New Year’s quest to make a pair every two months, must check.

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Being in need of a bit of instant knitting gratification, I’ve also knitted up a quick cowl for Dina.  The yarn is Elektra from Conway and Bliss that I bought whilst attending the Debbie Bliss event in Kinsale recently.

Elektra has a recommended tension of 12 stitches by 18 rows on 8mm needles and the blend of 70% wool and 30% alpaca makes for a very light yarn, but to ensure it’s super softness next to my daughter’s neck, I chose to use 9mm needles.

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The cowl, as you can see is very basic.  I cast on 21 stitches and then knitted in garter stitch, alternating the colours after working two rows.  I stopped knitting when the work reached approximately 130cm and after casting off, sewed the two ends together.

I was a little unsure if I liked the way the colours were knitting up together and even thought about ripping it back, but after a little more knitting, the colours won me over.  More importantly, Dina loves it and she seems to be able to wear almost any colour.  She tells me it’s extremely warm too, even better – as she’s always cold.

Of course she should have known what was coming next……

My kind of photography drives her crazy though.  I ‘persuaded’ her to strike a pose whilst we were out on our yarn shop trip and just kept pressing the button.

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Can you guess that she’s telling me she’s not ready as she moves her hair out of her eyes?

There are a good few more, but I think she might kill me if I post them 💀

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Beautiful ❤️

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Psst….Fancy Doing a Little Charity Knitting or Crochet?

So we have a bit of a dilemma here at Olann and. As you know we’re busy working on our first issue, due for release in November. So far so good, except November is still a ways to go and there are events and campaign (1)

If you’ve been following my exploits for some time now, I’m sure it’s pretty obvious, that I’m a bit of a ‘how can we help’ fiend?  I’ve often found myself knee deep in knitted items, sorting out, bagging up and horror of all horrors – sewing seams 😱 To be fair, my long suffering knitting friends are usually roped in somewhere along the line too 💗 💗 💗

In the past getting a charity knitting and crochet campaign off the ground was relatively easy.  I had the shop and a lovely customer base, who spread the word high and low.  Once I’d got everything together and had a plan in place, I knew I could rely on everyone to champion the latest collection.  Whatever the cause, the response was always fantastic and every time, I was honestly blown away with the amount of work everyone put in.

This time round, there’s no shop.  There is a magazine, so you’d assume it would be much, much easier, but it’s not due for publication until next month :-(

The charity in question, is an Irish one and they’re in need of a long list of things, woolly and not so woolly.

So here in lies a dilemma and I’d love to hear your thoughts?

How do we gauge interest?

How do we spread the word?

How do we collect the items and where are we going to put the drop off points?

It can only go ahead with your help, so I’m looking forward to hearing all of your ideas.

Happy Knitting!

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Yarndale 2015

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I can hardly believe a whole year has passed again, Yarndale 2014 seemed like only yesterday and I almost missed it this year, due to the distraction that is Olann and.

Hubby needed to take a course in the UK, which we were able to time beautifully to coincide with the annual pilgrimage to Skipton and we’re lucky to have family in Yorkshire too.  Handy for staying over and availing of all the Yorkshire bargains, my family are obsessed with bargains – 25% off a meal here, a free coffee there.  It’s really funny and the subject of many a jest, but every little helps after all.

We caught the ferry in the wee small hours of Friday morning to give us a couple of days to spend in Yorkshire with the family.  Saturday included a road trip around the dales, exploring some beautiful places and happening upon the Holmfirth Food Festival too.

Rising bright and early, we made our way to Skipton on the misty Sunday morning, stopping off for breakfast on the way (as you do).  Despite arriving by 11am, the marts was already filling up and parking was at a premium.

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Heading straight in as we’d pre-booked, we were handed our Show Guide, which contains details of what’s on over the weekend, all the exhibitors and a few lovely little knitting & crochet patterns.  This years programme also contains a great interview with John and Juliet of John Arbon Textiles who won the best stand award at Yarndale 2014.

Having just closed a yarn shop, it’s fair to assume that I might have a few balls and hanks hanging around the house, so purchases could seem just a little extravagant.  There’s so much to tempt you though that resistance is futile.  I did buy a couple of books and some fibre to spin.  I also bought some good old fashioned rug wool to use with my stash of weaving yarn.  There were a couple of books and magazines too, but my hubby has it all with him in the UK to save me carrying it on the plane and he’s not coming home for a while yet.  So it will be like Christmas when he does :-)

You really have your pick when it comes to Yarndale, there’s stalls selling everything from fibre and spinning wheels to yarn and patterns.  You can even enquire about purchasing an alpaca or two if you want.  Setting a budget, is probably the safest option and then leave your bank/credit cards at home too.  Bare in mind that there are bargains to be had, with many of the vendors offering ‘Yarndale Show Deals’ and ‘Special Prices’.

There are classes and workshops, but it’s better to book ahead as they fill rather quickly.  Grabbing a bite to eat will no doubt involve queuing and seating near the food area is very busy.  There are chairs set up in pens on almost every row throughout the marts though.  So you can stop and rest your tootsies or even eat your lunch.

There’s a great atmosphere, with many attendees bedecked in their woolly creations and many of the stalls have garments on show for you to see in ‘the flesh’ and try on before choosing.

I could rattle on for ages about the things to see and buy, but maybe I should just let the photos speak for themselves?  I took so many, but the lighting has meant loads of them are unusable :-(

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The day went by all to quickly ⏰ but not before we’d managed to head back into Skipton town for a walk around in the gorgeous late September sun ☀️2015-09-27 14.52.17

With so many lovely places to stop for a bite to eat it would have been criminal not to partake of a cup of tea and a slice of cake before heading back down to South Yorkshire.

L👀k at that cake.

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We took the scenic route back to South Yorkshire, enjoying the stunning views and beautiful Autumnal sun.

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Happy Knitting!

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Debbie Bliss is Coming To Town


I know you’re all expecting a post about my exploits at Yarndale, but this is more important.


Debbie Bliss, has been a knitwear designer for over 30 years and was recently awarded an MBE for her services to the hand knitting and craft industry.  Her designs are renown throughout the knitting world and include everything from classic shapes and beautiful baby garments to high end fashion knits and quirky accessories.  I’m sure she needs no introduction, as most of you will have heard of her and many of you will have used her designs.

Debbie will be appearing at three yarn shops, whilst visiting Ireland and is keen for the shops involved to use her visit as a way to support and raise funds for their charity of choice.  As Debbie is extremely busy she will only be able to squeeze in appearances at three shops this time.

The shops are, Crafty in Wexford, Vivi Trading Co in Kinsale and The Knitting Room in Malahide, all have promoted Debbie’s visit by way of a ticketed event.  With the proceeds from the sale of the tickets going to charity.

Knitting room

Debbie Bliss kicks off her whirlwind tour of Ireland with a visit to The Knitting Room in Malahide this coming Monday, 5th October.  Tickets are €15 each, with 100% of the proceeds going to The Simon Community.  Brendan from The Knitting Room said ” he couldn’t think of a better way to kick of the busy Autumn/Winter season, than with a visit from Debbie Bliss”.

Debbie’s visit is also timed perfectly to coincide with The Knitting Rooms promotion of The Simon Community’s Winter Woolly Campaign, which Brendan and Carrie are fully committed to for the coming season.  More about that to come in a separate post, but if you want to get involved now, you can drop off any warm, woollen items to The Knitting Room where they have a collection point set up.  Clair Rooney from The Simon Community will also be in attendance at The knitting Room Debbie Bliss event, where she will talk more about The Simon Community Campaign.


The tour goes from Dublin to Wexford next.  Diane from Crafty in Wexford told me “everyone is really excited to have Debbie visiting the store.  They are expecting a really great turn out for the day and are thrilled by the level of support from the local and wider community”.  Debbie will be at the shop on Tuesday 6th October between 11am and 3pm.  Tickets are €5 each, with all proceeds going to Wexford Hospice Homecare who provide an invaluable, home based Specialist Palliative Care Service in County Wexford.

Last stop for Debbie is Vivi Trading in Kinsale on Wednesday 7th.  The shop is hosting two separate events, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, in order to accommodate as many visitors as possible and raise funds for their chosen charity, Kinsale Youth Support Services who work to support young people and promote positive mental health in the local community.  Tickets are €15 each with every cent going to the charity.

Meagan, proprietor of Vivi Trading Co. commented “Debbie Bliss is one of the people I admire most in knitting. She has set a standard with the quality of her wool and yarn products, and for me she is the reference in design and fashion for modern knitwear. I’m personally really looking forward to meeting her and I have to admit I’m particularly honoured that she has chosen my shop from which to host one of her only workshops in Ireland this year,”

For all three stops of the tour Debbie will have a good selection of her knitted garments with her for people to look at and try on and will be talking about her design process, great for all those budding knitwear designers among you.

Quite by coincidence Debbie’s visit coincides nicely with National Knitting Week a UK campaign, with a slogan that’s close to my heart – ‘Commit to Knit for Charity’.

In the past, when we ran the charity knitting campaigns via the shop,  I was amazed by the support these campaigns generated from the local, national and international woolly community, so I have no doubt that most of you will get your needles and your hooks out to show your support.  There are lots of charities that need your support including the Annual Big Knit, many of the Maternity Units up and down the country are usually in need of premature baby knits (contact your local hospital to check first), Feileacain are sadly always in need of blankets.  Knitted/crochet blankets are often wanted by your local animal shelters and community hospitals too, again it’s better to contact these directly to check first.

I’ll get back to you all with more information about the Simon Community Campaign ASAP.

In the meantime, maybe I’ll bump in to you at one of the Debbie Bliss events?

Happy Knitting!

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