Image courtesy of Kate O’Sullivan
The latest episode of the podcast is something special and I am so glad that I can share it with all of you. This is the first time that my personal blog/podcast has overlapped with my work and I am delighted to be able to share the Yarn in Ireland panel recorded live on stage at Woollinn on the show.
Woollinn is Dublin’s Festival of Yarn and it was held on May 25th and 26th 2018 in the ALSAA complex right beside Dublin Airport. This is evident in the recording as you can hear the odd plane flying low overhead. This is the first time we have had a festival of this kind in Dublin and the first time (to my knowledge) that a panel has been formed of independent professionals to speak on the current state of yarn in Ireland today. We wanted to celebrate how rich in talent we are here in Ireland and if anything, I think we can all agree that this panel was too short and I promise, I am already working on making this topic more widely available.
A lot of what I do on the Cottage Notebook is highlighting the excellent work that independent designers and dyers have been producing here in Ireland and the UK via interviews and recordings and I hope for that to continue. This panel was formed with some of the best in Irish design, wool production and spinning and I am humbled that they all agreed to share the stage with me and their stories with all of us.
You can find full biographies of the panel below and today’s episode of the podcast here:
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The Yarn in Ireland Panel
Edel McBride (photo via Andrejs Plavins courtesy Irish Tourism Group)
Growing up with the tradition of Aran knitting at home in Donegal coupled with extravagant 1970’s fashion direction at her grandmother’s busy sewing shop led Edel MacBride to study fashion at Limerick School of Art. A knit coat brought her international attention and her knitwear was the winner of the Late Late show designer of the year in 1995. Edel was a mentor for knitting on RTE’s Craft Master series 2013. Besides her label which sells online and at Derry Craft Village (since 1989) Edel is passionate about her craft and it’s connection to both history and Irish women in particular. A speedy knitter who you’ll never find with a cable needle! Edel and her studio offer core workshops on the KnittingTours.com programme.
S Twist Wool is a small, indie yarn company based in Carlow. They work with sheep farmers around the country to make their yarns from the best of Irish wool. S Twist has a strong focus on environmental practices along with sustainability. All of their natural dyes are gathered locally and the wool is washed using a natural fermentation method ensuring that no harmful chemicals are used. All the washing is done by hand and the wool is dried in the open air. S Twist was delighted to launch their new range of naturally dyed yarns at Woollinn.
Carol Feller courtesy of Joe Feller.
Carol Feller (StolenStiches.com) is a designer, teacher, and author living in Cork, Ireland. She has published almost 270 patterns and 7 books, including Short Row Knits (Pottercraft) and Contemporary Irish Knits (Wiley), and is a popular instructor on Craftsy.com with almost 400,000 students. She regularly teaches in yarn shops, fibre festivals, knitting retreats and tours, covering a wide variety of basic and advanced skills including chart reading, garment shaping, short rows, cables, and colourwork. Carol first learned to knit in primary school, and there here is a strong history of crafting in her family. In university, she trained as a textile artist, and then as a structural engineer. Both of these backgrounds influence her work, which uses innovative construction methods to create well-shaped and flattering objects that are intuitive and enjoyable to knit, and that makes the most out of carefully chosen yarns. She strives to help knitters create beautiful and unique products that they will love to use.
Johnny Shiels image courtesy of Ailbíona McLochlainn
Johnny Shiels is a third-generation spinning wheel maker. His grandfather, Johnny, was making spinning wheels back in the 1940s, using timber washed ashore on the beaches around his native Inishowen. Like his grandfather and father, Johnny makes Dutch-style wheels in his workshop in Bridge Street, Carndonagh, not far from Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head. These Dutch wheels were introduced to Ireland in the 18th century and used for spinning flax. The work of the Shiels family is widely-known, and has been featured in the book, ‘Ireland’s Traditional Crafts’. RTÉ also featured the Shiels family in one episode of their award-winning traditional crafts series, ‘Hands’. Johnny now hopes to encourage his own sons to continue the family tradition.
I will be back with a craft post on Monday.