S Twist Wool - Irish Handspun Yarn

Episode 9: Wovember

This month we’re focussing on all things woolly for Wovember!

And I’m using a slightly different format – more chat from me about recent event in the Irish Crafting scene. I’d really appreciate if you’d comment in the shownotes to let me know what you think.

The main items discussed this episode are:

  • the winner of our giveaway from Episode 7. Thanks to everyone who entered a review on iTunes or Stitcher and to those who took the trouble to give me feedback – positive and negative – it all makes me better, right?
  • The Knitting & Stitching Show in the RDS
  • Olann And” a new magazine about Fibre and Craft in Ireland
  • Wovember – what is it?
  • An interview with Diarmuid Commins, the man behind “S-Twist Wool

Other items I mention during this episode are:

Beaded Stitch-markers by MweaG and a Sweensie Bag

Beaded Stitch-markers by MweaG and a bag from Sweensie Crafts

Items discussed while chatting to Diarmuid are:


Episode 8: Carol Feller

For this episode we join Dublin yarn store, This Is Knit, as they celebrate Carol Feller’s latest publications:

First I met with Carol to find out about her life, her design process and her future plans.

During this interview, Carol or I mention:


The range of colours for Dovestone DK yarn from Baa Ram Ewe

Afterwards, we headed over to in Dublin City Centre’s Powerscourt Townhouse to meet Carol’s fans for a book signing in This Is Knit. I chat with

  • Hilser as she talks about planning to make Tamarindo in “Trinity” from Townhouse Yarns
  • Ann and her Ravi (haven’t been able to track down Ann online)
  • vonniemagoo talks about wanting to make Estrella from Short Row Knits, as well as previously making Centrique shawl and Captiva Wrap
  • Deirdre (a.k.a. Gansai on Ravelry) and Mary discuss trying on the samples and taking part in the Mithral KAL


Some of the samples from Short Row Knits

During the fashion show the following patterns are mentioned:


Frio hat from Short Row Knits


Palatino hat from Dovestone Hills


Viminal (striped sweater) and other samples from Short Row Knits and Dovestone Hills



Episode 7: “These Islands”

Hello and welcome to Episode 7!

This episode has been in the works since back in May when Claire and I went down to the Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival. We stopped off in Cork City to have lunch with Evin O’Keefe, the person behind Irish publishing company, Anchor and Bee.

We met Evin at her favourite restaurant Fenn’s Quay, which has been awarded “Best Restaurant in Cork” in the Munster Regional Final of the Irish Restaurant Awards in 2015.

We chat with Evin about two craft books she’s recently published and her future plans for Anchor and Bee.

The following day we met Sara Brietenfeldt at the Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival. You heard most of this interview in Episode 6 but I held on to some that was more relevant for the book “These Islands” which she worked on with Evin.

More recently, I met with Suzanne and Cathy. Suzanne worked with Evin on the books and Suzanne and Cathy share a blog “Fibre Friends“.


Fingerless mitts designed by Suzanne McEndoo for “These Islands” book.

Our craft beer focus for Episode 7 is Mountain Man Brewing. I met Phil and Sue Cullen to chat about their beers and especially what they were offering punters at the Irish Craft Beer Festival. While we didn’t mention it in our chat, it was through Sue that I first met Evin.


Mountain Man Phil with the selection of varieties available at the 2015 Irish Craft Beer Festival

And we’ve got a giveaway this episode! We’ll be giving away Evin’s books “Bake, Knit, Sew” and “These Islands” as well as a bag from Smudge Yarns and a skein of Smudge Yarns’ Superwash BFL Sock called “Skibereen” colourway.

Give-away prizes are: one copy of each book: "Bake, Knit, Sew" and "These Islands"; one skein of BFL sock from Smudge Yarns; one Smudge Yarns bag

Give-away prizes are:
one copy of each book: “Bake, Knit, Sew” and “These Islands”; one skein of BFL sock from Smudge Yarns; one Smudge Yarns bag

To be in with a chance to win this all you have to do is:

  1. Leave a review for Blasta Podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher.
  2. Leave a comment in the show-notes to say where you have left your reivew.
  3. Do this before the end of September.

I’ll announce in Episode 9 who the winner is of this prize.

Links to items also mentioned in this episode:


Toothpick and marshmallow models of the five Platonic Solids


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Episode 6: Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival – Part 2

Welcome to Episode 6!

As promised this is the second part of our visit to the Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival in May. In the first part, we met the organiser, Niamh Cooper, and some of the workshop teachers.

Another aspect of the Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival was the Market Hall which took place in Kilcrohane Community Hall.

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The Market Hall

So, this episode brings you the chats we had with some of the vendors:

  • Kathleen McCarthy who was selling hand-knits
  • Fiona Waters of Green Elephant Hand Dyed Yarns with her husband Ciaran.
  • Sara Breitenfeldt of Smudge Yarns
  • Caroline and Johnny Niland of Life In The Long Grass

I apologise in advance for the quality of the audio in our first interview with Kathleen. We chatted with her in The Old Creamery after the meet & greet but there was a lot of background noise and I’ve played with it a lot but it’s still quite difficult to hear. Just let it wash over you and pretend you’re eavesdropping!

Also, Happy Congratulations to Sara on her recent engagement to Justin!

To wrap up the episode I chatted with Greg who is a professional beer taster and who has recently started brewing his own craft beer.

Below are some visuals and links of what was discussed the interviews.

Kathleen McCarthy

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Hand-knits for sale by Kathleen McCarthy

Green Elephant Hand Dyed Yarns

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Fiona Waters of Green Elephant Hand Dyed Yarns with her husband, Ciaran

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The beautiful colours at Green Elephant Hand Dyed Yarns’ stand

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“Twinkle Twinkle” yarn dyed by Green Elephant Hand Dyed Yarn and “marked” by Clarabel!

  • Colourway “Child’s Play” described by Ciaran as reminding him of a Jackson Pollock painting

Convergence by Jackson Pollock via http://www.jackson-pollock.org/


The “gorgeous Burgundy” in laceweight and the “Farraige” colourway both purchased by Dearbhla

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The Pink Panther with sparkles!

Smudge Yarns



Episode 5: Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival – Part 1

For episode 5, Clarabel and Dearbhla travelled down to the Sheep’s Head Peninsula in Co. Cork for the Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival, which took place on the weekend of 16th and 17th of May.

Our road-trip had no Thelma & Louise-style incidents and we didn’t even accidentally end up on the road to Barack Obama’s ancestral home in Monegal.

IMDb Screenshot

Roadtrip Thelma & Louise style!

We arrived on Friday afternoon to a peninsula shrouded in mist and only managed to find some yarn-bombing.


Yarn-bombing in the mist

By Saturday morning the mist had lifted and revealed the stunning landscape.

sunny sheeps head

Stunning views in sunshine!

The Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival kicked off with meet-and-greet at The Old Creamery in Kilcrohane.

the old creamery

Up early at The Old Creamery ready for the meet-and-greet

They met the festival’s main organiser, Niamh Cooper, and chatted with her about the background to the Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival and life on the Sheep’s Head peninsula.

blasta with Niamh

Having a blasta-blast with organiser, Niamh

In particular, Niamh mentions:

The main focus of the Sheep’s Head Yarn Festival was the workshops in various locations peppered around the peninsula.


The range of workshops advertised

Dearbhla and Clarabel also chatted with two of the workshop teachers:

  • Marilyn Wallis-Eade about scrumble crochet and her alapaca and
  • Jemima of Spinning Sheep about spinning in Ireland and Irish Sheep Breeds with spinning-worthy fleeces

Marilyn Wallis-Eade


Jemima of Spinning Sheep

They also learned that, as a spin-off from the festival, a new body has been formed called Sheep’s Head Yarns. Based at The Black Gate throughout July and August, Sheep’s Head Yarns will:

  • run workshops,
  • give pattern advice and
  • sell needles, notions and yarn

If you’re in the area on Wednesday, 1st July, they’re launching this new endeavour with a PicKnit event at The Black Gate.

To wrap-up the episode Dearbhla met with her knit-night buddy, Treasa, and chatted about some of the features on the Sheep’s Head peninsula dating from World War II:

Also mentioned were:

Our taste of Ireland for this episode was:

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Episode 4: Catching up with Catchloops

For Episode 4, Dearbhla caught up with Elanor King a.k.a. “catchloops” when they were both at Unravel earlier this year.

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Unravel souvenirs

During their chat they speak about a number of patterns:

To celebrate her Knitty success, Elanor has set up a KAL. The cast-on date was May 1st but you have until July 20th to be in with a chance to win a number of prizes, including one for best riff. You can sign-up on Elanor’s Ravelry group. Let us know if you’re taking part.

Our pattern release is coming – sorry for the delay. In the meantime, here is a close-up from the t-shirt pattern Dearbhla is pairing with this episode.

Episode 4 Pattern close-up

The “Sleeve of mad construction”

While chatting to Elanor, Dearbhla mentions a wonderful Irish-language poem that describes Inspiration as a butterfly that will be crushed if you try to grasp it but will rest on your hand if you sit and wait for it. Unfortunately we can’t find the poem.  We have trawled the web trying to find it, even calling on a few Irish teachers to ask them if they knew it. Dearbhla is beginning to doubt it even exists! Can you help us find the poem?

Revenge Ruby Porter from Kellys Mountain Brew

Revenge Ruby Porter

To wrap-up the episode we sat down over a pint of Revenge Ruby Porter from Kelly’s Mountain Brew, to talk about what’s happening in our community.  The Republic of Ireland is voting on Friday, 22nd May, for a constitutional change to allow same sex couples equality to marry.  While Dearbhla and Clara both support a Yes! vote, we mainly want to encourage everyone to get out and vote on this important referendum. Go to The Referendum Commission’s website to get the facts and an unbiased view.

Theme Music is “Trouble With a Capital T” by Horslips and is used with kind permission of Horslips’ management.


Episode 3: Crafters Without Borders

For Episode 3, Claire and Dearbhla took the show to Edinburgh Yarn Festival and met up with lots of crafters that have a connection to the Irish Crafting scene such as:


(some of) Dearbhla’s purchases

Relaxing back at their hotel after their first day at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, Dearbhla and Claire chat about:


Caroline’s Dublin Dye acquisition (on the left)

Back in Ireland, Dearbhla met up with Kirsty/SafetyFox to wrap up the episode over a pint of Cloughmore Granite Lager. Kirsty is an English woman who joined Swords Knit-night shortly after she arrived in Ireland from Qatar in 2012. Quintessential crafter-without-border that she is, Kirsty has since left Ireland to find new crafting groups in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Kirsty blogs at expatcats.wordpress.com and you can find her on Instagram, Twitter and Ravelry.

Also discussed were:


Tartan colourway selection