Thursday, September 30, 2010

Interview by Nick Hand

Nick cycled by a last month and did a fantastic interview with Ailbhe Dunne and Aideen Fitzpatrick of our local knitting group at the studio. Check it out! Beautiful pictures!

nick hand interview

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

science at last

Hi All, Seema here just checking in and setting up some direction for the next 4 weeks. The studio is still going strong thanks to the work of Ruth and the wool co-op women.

The connections between global economic and local independence are well established in this project. It's time to bring in the science and some data. This project began as an intersection between art and science where sheep wool is considered a form of carbon capture, but is this the case? YES! I am currently in touch with the Rural Economic Research Centre and examining the carbon released and sequestered in the "life cycle" of the wool. From the grass the sheep consume to the use of electricity to shear them and the amount of transport fuel used to bring in their bags of meal. It is a weird and wonderful web.

This is also the time to bring design and data into the picture. Socks incorporating the data from Malin Head meteorlogy station and hats creating sculptural versions of the thermohaline ocean circulation system are in my head soon to be on some needles. Ready to knit with more art and more science? - get ready!

Hope you'll make it to the knitting sessions!

Special thanks to Dr. Rowan Fealy of ICARUS and NUIM for the many conversations about climate change.

(Images: molecular structure of wool. source:;

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hello all, Ruth here again.

Call into the studio on Wednesday for some knitting and crochet fun! I'll be in the studio from 12 noon onwards (or earlier if you fancy) armed with pointy sticks and hand-spun wool; if you'd like to call in and learn some stitches with needles or hooks then I'll be happy to help :)

As always I'm happy to teach drop spindle and wheel working too so if you haven't given it a go yet just drop in to the studio!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hello all.

Ruth here. Just reporting on some ninja spinning and knitting in public that occurred over the weekend. I took my drop spindle and my sock-in-progress all the way to the island of Inishbofin in Connemara. I knit up some lovely inishowen texel on the ferry while the sea roiled around me and I sat in the sun and spun some Jacobs fleece into lovely yarn that I think I'll ply soon. So there you go, wool adventures around the country :) Why not tell us about some of your own public knitting endeavors .

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What a day! I spent the morning in Clonmany with our lovely wool co-op collective and we dyed up a storm!

Here are our lovely participants raring to go. We were lucky enough to have local Inishowen produce to dye with. We tried our hand at dyeing with onion skins and ivy. Below you can see some hand spun yarn waiting to be dyed and some of our dyeing materials.

Blackberries and wool; grown from Inishowen!
Here are some of our glamorous assistants for the day examining the onion skins before we boiled them up to make a dye bath for our lovely hand spun yarn :)

Here is our ivy dye bath (above) and our onion skin dye bath (below).

We used alum and vinegar mordants. Below is the yarn in the mordant solution.

And here is the finished product! Beautiful hand-dyed, hand-spun Inishowen wool.

It was a lovely way to spend the day. Hope to see you all again this Saturday the 18th at 1pm in the studio for a sock knitting workshop with the lovely Ailbhe Dunne! Keep your eyes on the blog for more workshops coming next week!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We were lucky enough to have a visit from this nice man today. Nick Hand is cycling around the coast of Ireland talking to local artisans and making soundslides/recordings of the people he speaks to. He happened upon our sock knitting workshop and got talking to some of our local knitters and we talked to him about spinning in Ireland.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Felting and future sock knitting.

We had a wonderful felting workshop on Monday with Maura McLaughlin, a master textile artist in the area. Big thanks to all who participated. Here are some shots of the group in action :)

We'll be running our first sock knitting workshop this Saturday at 1pm in the studio! It will be run by a local knitting enthusiast, Ailbhe Dunne. Feel free to bring your hand spun yarn to knit with or just show up and we'll kit you out with needles and local yarn to work with :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Some words from a local lady who took part in one of our spinning workshops. It's so nice to get an insight into how people view the spinning experience.

'My week at home has happily coincided with a series of spinning workshops run by Seema and Janelle of the Carbon Footprint Workshop. I find the inspiriation for and behind the project really interesting - using local wool and the spinning thereof as a metaphor for climate change and how economics has changed. Wheras Donegal wool and the products made from it are sought after commodities around the world, in Donegal the wool is virtually valueless, with farmers using the raw fleece from their sheep for soaking up tractor oil. By spinning and knitting, felting, crocheting with our own local wool, we are avoiding the heavy carbon consequence that might otherwise be incurred turning this raw material into something deemed to be of "value", for example by flying to the Far East for cleaning, spinning and making into a garment, before being flown to North America for retail You can read more about this project, as well as it's goals and inspirations, over at the Carbon Footprint Project blog. The upshot of all this is that Seema and Janelle are teaching the people of Inishowen to spin, huzzah! I've spun with a drop spindle before, having got my first for my birthday nearly exactly a year ago (you can see some of my spinning here. Last Saturday I got to fulfill a long time ambition - to spin on a wheel!

Friday, September 3, 2010