Diary of an Eco Dyer

Diary of an Eco Dyer

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

The last couple of months have flown and things are as busy as ever, but there is still some time to let you know what’s going on at the moment.

Knitting & Stitching Show Dublin * A Mindfulness of Mandalas – the Exhibition * Christmas Special * Sustainable Commitments * Shop Updates 

Knitting & Stitching Show 

As always it was lovely to meet so many new and old faces! It is always so exciting to arrive at a show – usually, the day before to set up – let me tell you how mine went: 

Up until Wednesday, when we were supposed to leave to set up shop, everything went rather well. Suspiciously well.  In fact, so well that when Wednesday arrived, we were all so busy doing our various jobs that nobody kept an eye on the time!  Set up was closing at 7 pm – come 2 pm suddenly everybody was jumping into action.  Because, after all, we forgot that it takes us almost 3hours to get there!  So we arrived at 5 pm, but thankfully they let us stay until 9 pm.

Nonetheless, we were the first at their doorstep at 8 am sharp and still putting items away when the doors finally opened at 10 am. 

I think we managed to look very relaxed when the doors opened and the general public came in. Lol! 

In my opinion, the best part of the show this year were the exhibitions – they were simply fabulous. They alone were worth coming for. One, in particular, was stirring many hearts:

The Dementia Darnings by Jenny Dutton

The life journey of her mother – shown from a young woman to the final stages of her life living with Dementia. Each portrait copied from a photo using thread on netting. An emotional and stunning journey – one many can relate too.

It was a lovely show this year – but many customers would have liked to see more yarn and knitting supplies. I do hope they will attract more Hand Dyers in the future.

The more the merrier!

A New Collaboration 

We’re starting a new collaboration with a new-on-the-knitting-scene designer Anya, who specialises in Fair Isle and Colour work. We are very excited to share her first designs coming February! 


A Mindfulness of Mandalas 

 The Project: Mindfulness of Mandalas – was finally exhibited in the Scariff Library and they looked fabulous. Wendy received Mandalas from all over Ireland and the rest of the world – some included moving stories of experiences shared by crochet and writing. Here are some pictures of this fabulous exhibition and if you took part in it – be proud – each one of them shined! 


Christmas Special 

We’ve been very busy creating a Christmas Special this year – dyeing a tablecloth and a set of napkins using edible dyes, which are used for cooking afterwards.  Olann and will be featuring the tutorial in the current issue here and you can also find it on our blog.  Whilst you’re there, why not follow our blog on our website or sign up to our newsletter (scroll to the bottom of the website) www.appleoakfibreworks.com 

This is going to be a lovely project and I’m very excited to share it. We’re doing it with Christmas dinner in mind – but it can be done at any time of the year!  

Sustainable Commitments

We’re asked more and more about sustainable practices when it comes to dyeing yarn.  Water being a major issue – seeing that the amount used for soaking, dyeing and rinsing can be major.  We’re presently looking at buying some land to develop our business further. Including water harvesting systems and plant bed systems to filter the water.  With this, we will be creating a complete circle by harvesting rainwater, using it for dyeing and then giving it back to Mother Earth by filtering it through stone and plants.  

All our packaging is compostable, except our plant dye bags (I haven’t found any strong enough yet, to hold the dyes, but we’re working on it!) Yes, even our plastic bags! And to boot, most of it’s from Irish waste www.ecoland.ie 

Solar panels for energy and growing of Woad and Japanese Indigo are also part of our plan.  

So all and all a busy next year ahead! 🙂 


Shop updates 

  • We’re getting a website! We’re currently working on developing our own website – all our yarns are now online, with dyes and fibres following in January. www.appleoakfibreworks.com 
  • Our Etsy Shop will continue in case you’re looking for fibres, fabrics, felt and much more! www.appleoakfibreworks.etsy.com 
  • We’re developing a new multi-coloured range for our Turin Yarn Dragon – a new Multi-colour range coming out in January! 
  • We’ll start stocking a new felt supply in the near future because our supplier is sadly letting go of the beautiful Certifelt. On the plus side, the new felt has over 70 colours, so we’ll certainly have a great choice – and as usual, it’s 100% wool.

We’ll have a give away for our ‘Made with Love’ column in our next newsletter after Christmas – I know, I said we would do it before, but the calendar is just simply too full!  Also, it gives us something cheerful to fill dreary January with! If you’d like to take part, you can send me a picture of what you have created using Apple Oak Supplies 🙂

We currently have a 15% discount on all our items in our Etsy shop, if you fancy treating yourself to something special for the holidays!

Wishing you all a wonderful & magical Christmas and Happy New Year to come!


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.