Fibre all Round


I included British Fibre Art Magazine as one of the things I had my eye on in February’s These Are a Few of My Favourite Things.  The eagle eyed among you, will no doubt have spotted my copy resting (artfully like), under one of my Portuguese knitting projects a couple of posts back.

I was chuffed to bits that I’d managed to get hold of it, because at the time, the print run had all but sold out.  Since then there has been a reprint, so I’m imagining you might still be able to pick up your own if you’re interested?

With the second issue due out any day, I thought I should get a post about it written up toot sweet.

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Stupid Hands! – The Explanation

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So why don’t my hands work?

It’s a bit of a long story that actually begins with The Tour of Britain, which kicks off today and runs until the 11th of September.  For those of you that don’t know,  it’s an 8 day event, that will see some of the world’s top riders, race on UK roads in British Cycling’s premier road cycling event.

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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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On The Road


Since my last post it’s been all go again.

Last Friday, the 18th, was Cuture Night, with loads of events taking place all over the country and abroad between the hours of 5-11pm.  There was so much going on it was hard to choose where to go and sadly it was for one night only, but wool will always win.  So Deirdre and I drove to Dublin for an evening of fibre fun.  I said we drove, but what I really mean is Deirdre drove and I got to sit and knit which was great and much needed 👍

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Lovely Culture Night Folk Drumming Up Support

So what can I tell you about Friday?  Well we ate, listened to some buskers, met loads of really interesting people and……

I can’t tell you that can I?

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It’s magazine stuff 😉

Having got back to Lismore in the wee small hours, I managed to squeeze in some zzz’s before heading into Cork City on Saturday morning.  My mission – to seek out and find people whose wares we wanted to know more about.

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No visit to Cork City is complete without a visit to the English Market to purchase a few supplies and the odd treat 😋 Coconut chocolate anyone?

Having found what I was after, which took much longer than planned and meant I missed my monthly meeting of The Spinners, Weavers and Dyers Guild (naughty, naughty), I headed off to Kinsale for yet more detective work.

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Having never been to Kinsale before, I was charmed by it’s little winding streets and rows of quirky shops.  The sun was shining down and all was good with the world.

Again, I have to keep everything to myself.  Sshhh, it’s a secret.

Fair’s fair, I’ve been so caught up in ‘Olann and’ work, that I’ve barely found time to spend fibre crafting.  That is of course if you don’t count the two hours I spent knitting in the car 😁  So today, I promised myself I’d take an hour, yes a whole hour and do a little spinning, as I’ve barely managed to do any more since my post about Buttercup eons ago.

I cued up Paul Simon’s Greatest Hits on my IPod, moved the chair under the office window, so I could bask under the Septemmber sun and got comfortable (so did Buttercup) and I continued spinning up the brown fibre I’m practising with.  It wasn’t long before the timer on my phone was chiming to let me know an hour had passed 😦

I’m really pleased with the results though 💗

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I managed to spin this much yarn 💗 💗

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and it would seem, I’m a default fine spinner too 💗 💗 💗

I kept trying to make my yarn thicker, but I just couldn’t maintain the consistency.  So fine it is.  I’ll just have to ply more strands together if I need a thicker yarn?

As an added bonus, I’m sure to get a little knitting in tonight too.  I’m meeting up with some knitterly friends for tea, cake and laughter, what more can a girl want?  I know, Dina (my daughter), will be there too 💖 💖 💖 💖 💖

Happy Knitting!

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Spinning a Yarn – Part 1

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I’d like to introduce you to my ‘friend’ Buttercup.  Isn’t she beautiful?

She’s an Ashford Single Drive Traditional Wheel and according to the Ashord Website she’s robust, versatile, easy to understand and simple to operate.

None of which even comes close to describing how I feel about her.

I expect you can probably feel my complete l♥ve for Buttercup, exuding through your screen right now if you concentrate.

It hasn’t always been this way.  Buttercup and I have had a very turbulent past.

Despite living together for a good number of years now, Buttercup and I have spent the majority of that time ignoring each other.  She very rarely budged from her seat on the landing window, except maybe for a quick wash, or if I was feeling particularly uncaring, maybe just a wipe over with the duster.

Things however, have changed.

Buttercup came down off her perch a couple of months ago and with dogged determination I took her in hand and attempted to spin once again, with the help of various different books, websites and Youtube videos.

My first results we’re completely useless, despite my best efforts ;-(

Then I had a light bulb moment and remembering that I’d stashed some ‘oh so pretty silk and merino fibre’ somewhere that I’d bought in the year dot, I went a rummaging.

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The resulting ball of yarn is a complete shambles.  It’s over spun whilst being under spun and just generally awful, but I love it!

Spurred on to create more yarn (as if I need it?), I set out to find someone to make sure I was at least on the right track.

Enter Nancy Devlin…..


Nancy pictured here, in her Viking garb (she’s into living history, totally fascinating, more to come in another post),  is a fibre fanatic too and the proud owner of several different spinning wheels.

Nancy and her husband Paul, are based in Co. Leitrim, which is a bit of a distance from where I am in Co. Waterford.  So I arranged an overnight visit and Buttercup and I jumped into the car and drove the three and a half hours, stopping on the way at Belvedere House for a cuppa and a very generous helping of Pavlova.

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Nancy has recently started to offer workshops in lots of different fibre crafts including drop spindle spinning, tablet weaving and knitting and having spoken to Nancy over the phone, I knew we were like minded people and were going to get along famously.

A visit to Nancy and Paul’s house could leave you in no doubt of how much they enjoy making things.  The shelves of the kitchen are stacked with pots of home-made jams and jelly’s and the smell of fresh baked bread wafts around the house.  The walls are bedecked in woven wall hangings and the sofas are adorned with crochet rugs.  When I arrived Nancy was busy making traditional furniture polish, with wax from the bees Paul keeps and turpentine.

That evening I even tagged along to move a hive with Paul.  Fetching don’t you think?  Personally, I think I look like Wallace from Wallace and Grommit in this photograph – flattering it is not, but we’re all friends here aren’t we?

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I digress.

Nancy knew I was keen to learn as much as possible during my time with her,  so we tried to cram as much in as possible. We started at the beginning, examining fleeces and comparing a well kept fleece to one that had been stored in pretty dire conditions.  Those of a weaker constitution might have had to leave the room at this point, but it’s important to know what your looking for, if you’re going to be buying a fleece direct from the farmer.

We then got stuck in with our arms deep in water up to the elbows, as I learnt how easy it is to wash a fleece.  Thankfully it was more a case of submerging the fleece and leaving it to soak in the water, rather than the battle I’d envisaged when Nancy first suggested it.  The whole process took a number of hours and I was really quite surprised how clean the fleece came up, after only a couple of rinses.

Whilst we left the fleece to soak, we moved onto learning how to card fleece using a drum carder, by feeding in the fibres and turning the handle to rotate the drum.

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A far less labour intensive method of carding than using the hand held carders, I can assure you.

I had a play with cleaned fibres and fibres from a fleece in the grease (unwashed).  The carded fibre in the photo below are a combination of merino and fleece in the grease.

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Once I’d got the hang of using the drum carder, I had a play with a drop spindle and some fibre.  I have a couple of them myself at home and I can spin this way, but I’m rather un-coordinated to say the least.  Starting with a drop spindle, is a great way to get the hang of drafting your fibre.

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If you’d like to know more about spinning with a drop spindle there are lots of really helpful resources in the form of books, tutorials and Youtube videos, but if you go to a workshop with someone like Nancy, you’re going to learn their tips and tricks.

I had been enjoying myself no end but everything was moving me towards having to spend some time with Buttercup.  Unconvinced as I was, that Buttercup and I would be able to mend our relationship, I’d decided to see how some of Nancy’s other wheels and I got along first.

A little bit like speed dating I guess.  So I sat down opposite……

I think that’s enough for now don’t you?

You’ll have to wait for Spinning a Yarn – part 2 to see what happened next.

I’m off to have a spot of breakfast before catching up on the latest episode of The Great British Bake Off and finishing off a sock I’ve been knitting.

Happy Saturday!

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Exciting News

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Well I’m excited anyway.

You might remember I’d said I was up to something when I closed the shop?

Well I was and……

Drum roll please

Olann and

My very good friend Deirdre and I are happy to announce the upcoming lauch of ‘Olann and‘ an online fibre magazine focusing on the Irish market.

We’re busy working on the first issue at the moment and it’s due out the third week of November…. yippee!

Expect loads of fibre, yarn and crafty goodness and we’d love to hear your ideas too.

You can find us in the following places so far, with more to come soon, including a blog 🙂

Instagram = @olannandmagazine

Pinterest = olannand 

Facebook = Olann and

Twitter = @olannand

We’d love to have as many of you on board, so be sure to come and join us.

Happy Fibre Crafting!

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