Crafting in Co. Clare

Crafting in Co. Clare

We catch up with our columnist Jennifer Lienhard of Apple Oak Fibre Works

So much has already been said about Woollinn that I will only give a brief glimpse on how it was for us. We had a bit of a rough start. My back had gone for 6 weeks beforehand and I had mostly to stay in bed. Dyeing was therefore difficult and I can only thank my husband and a few friends that we managed to bring what we brought, by following my badly scribbled down recipes!

However we managed and once there and set up, we loved it; there was a great buzz and it was a pleasure to watch a lovely community of old and new friends come together through the love of yarn and anything fibre. I bought a great car sticker ‘No yarn left in this vehicle overnight’, which is now adorning the boot of my car.

So many yarn vendors from all over Ireland, the UK, Germany and France joined this first ever Irish Indie yarn festival and I would say it was a success. I have been told that it will happen again 14th/15th of 2019, so if you didn’t make it this year, pencil it in for 2019!

You are probably thinking, surely, it can’t all have been roses, and you are right. There were a few minor hiccups, which thankfully are easily remedied. The food wasn’t great, which will be rectified next year by moving premises. The event coincided with the referendum, which didn’t help footfall, and spinners had mentioned they would have liked to see more fibre.

On the other hand, the organisers and helpers were fabulous, a great team full of smiles and we were never short of a helping hand. Everybody was very friendly; I was given a Nakd bar by a lovely lady with the most amazing headdress! She walked around distributing healthy bars free of charge to keep vendors going. We met many new faces and bumped into old and new. I could go on forever, but like I said, I wanted to keep it brief!

Do you feel adventurous?

Albina from Lbhandknits designed two beautiful Summer garments – Rusticana (dress) and Top of the Morning (sweater) – using our new range of naturally dyed Cotton/Linen yarn – LinCot. The patterns are now available at LBhandknits’ Ravelry page and the yarn kit can be bought in our online shop: Rusticana and Top of the Morning.

Natural dyes react very differently on Cotton Linen fibres in comparison to wool, so this has been a new adventure for us! I love this yarn and have just started on a project myself. Though stiff to start, the yarn becomes beautifully soft after the first wear and allows a breezy fast knit. The great thing about cotton is that it’s cooling in Summer, yet holds onto warmth in cooler weather. It knits like an Aran weight, due to being a thick and thin yarn, but looks more like a DK. Unusual, I agree, but why not dive into something new?

The Woad Project

I have already written so much about this exciting project and there is much more to come, so I will keep this section short. The Woad is growing nicely and I am hoping that we can start dyeing in August.

I went to Craggaunowen, a living Past Project nearby last weekend. I often visit during the Summer, because it makes a great family outing and it is simply wonderful (it is also just around the corner). Anneke and Geraldine, who have joined the Woad Project, grow their own on site, among Madder and Weld. They spin wool from their own heritage breed of wild sheep, also on site and dye the yarn and fleece, which they use for weaving and knitting.

All of this happens in front of the visitor. A cauldron bubbling over a peat fire outside with a bit of yarn sticking out – spinning in the castle – growing dye plants in a little garden spot. Unfortunately, I didn’t think of taking any pictures, something I really need to get better at! Anyway, it was lovely chatting to the girls and I can only admire what they do. If you are heading to Clare, do visit, all in all it takes about 2 hours to go around the site.

If you would like to follow the Woad Project why not visit our Facebook group.

Mandala Maddness

A dear friend is organising this event and the mandalas they have made are simply astounding!

It is well known that crochet has a positive effect on mental health. Colour, repetition, creating and completing something contributes to a feeling of wellbeing. Community groups combat loneliness and offer a chance to share skills and connect to others, thus enhancing quality of life.

To raise awareness and celebrate these groups ~ A Circle of Stitches ~ who meet weekly in Scariff Library are organising ‘A Mindful of Mandalas’ a collaborative art project, to be held in the gallery space in the Library building in Scariff. It will run for three weeks to coincide with World Mental Health Day in October.

We would like as many people as possible to take part. To participate, you need to crochet a mandala, any size, any colour, and post to:

Wendy Seviour,
Bluebell Cottage,
Caher, Co. Clare,
V94 FWF2

If you would like your mandala returned to you, please include a stamped addressed envelope. Also do include your name along with your mandala, as it will be listed in the exhibitors list. If anyone feels that they have any thoughts to share in particular or if crochet/community groups have helped them personally in any way, please include a few words, which will also be included in the exhibition anonymously.

Free mandala patterns can be found on If anyone wishes to see how the project is progressing or would like to contact Wendy, please go to ‘A Circle of Stitches’ Facebook page.

Collaboration with Simply Felt Ireland

Lorna makes the most amazing needle-felted items, from fairies to fawns and hedgehogs, pictures and so much more, creating a magical kingdom of colour and texture. Lorna is sharing her skill using simple step-by-step PDFs for you to create your own. You can order and download the PDF instructions here. 

Once you have purchased the pattern you can hop over to our shop and purchase the kit, which will supply you with all the things you need to create your own. If you are looking for an original gift or a lovely family activity this is it.

Made with Love

Have you seen the ‘Made With Love’ section in our monthly newsletter? I regularly receive wonderful pictures of what customers have made with our fibres and this section is dedicated to all this bountiful beauty!

To encourage more customers to share their creations, we thought it would be lovely to have little draw. And this is how it goes:

Send us a picture of a creation you have made, using AppleOak Supplies, and you will be entered in our next draw to win a surprise!

Now, I can’t tell you too much, otherwise it wouldn’t be a surprise, but we really would like the box of goodies to fit anybody, so we will base the prize on the winner’s entry!

Here’s how it will work.

Once the winner is chosen (and that will be a random selection not based on anything) we will create a gift fit for a queen (or king)!

If your entry was a knitted piece, and you won, it will most likely be yarn, if it was something you felted or spun it might well be fibre, if you sew something it might be felt.

What do you need to do to enter?

Just email us your creation, stating what materials you used and perhaps a link to your own website or Facebook page, if we can be of help to promote your business. All entries will be added to our ‘Made with Love’ section over the next few months. I am really looking forward to seeing your creations. Thank you!

And that is all for this issue! If you even made it this far, congratulations! Our diary is pretty full at the moment! I wish you a lovely Summer and I hope you enjoyed this read.

Jenny x


Jenny works from her home in County Clare with her husband Tristan and three children.  She was formerly trained as a kindergarten teacher and then as a garden designer; before returning to her first love; colour and yarn. Her shop,  Apple Oak Fibre Works can be found here on Etsy.