Olann and Loves
A collection of beautiful, quirky and useful crafts and kits from Ireland and around the world that caught our eyes
Knit It – Hook It – Craft It – Miss Mini Pinny
Many of you will probably already be familiar with Fay, as she is the lady in front of the camera on the Crochet Circle Podcast. We featured the podcast this time last year in Issue 6, but there have been a couple of changes since then, the most significant is that the podcast has gone from audio to video. A well-known crochet designer, Fay has several other strings to her bow, including her company Knit It – Hook It – Craft It, where she sells carefully sourced, practical and beautiful quality products for the knitting, crocheting and crafting community.
Having worked in waste management for years, making a difference to the way householders view waste, Fay’s strong ethos of providing environmentally-thoughtful products and ideas is key to her business. She sources products underpinned by the Proximity Principle, which is defined by using localism to help define our purchasing strategy, with products that have travelled as few miles as possible to reach you, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the beautiful things you buy. Fay provides as much sourcing information as possible for each product she sells, whether it comes from the UK or the other side of the world.
The Miss Mini Pinny came from Fay’s desire to have a crafting pinny that doubles up as a sort of functional project bag. This is her own design and has been created with crafters functionality in mind and has been manufactured completely in the UK. The linen is grown in Belgium, woven in Scotland and sewn in England by Martine. The ribbon used for the ties (available in two colours) is manufactured in Cheshire, England and the d-ring and clips are manufactured in France and made into ties by Fay.
The pinny has long ribbons to make it easier to tie into a big bow at the back, however, because the clips are at the front of the pinny, it can easily be unclipped without the need for body contortions. There are slim pockets at the side (one side for knitting needles and one side for your crochet hook) and larger pockets at the front that are sized to take an A4 book and a cake of yarn in each pocket. Great for keeping all of your notions in one place so that you don’t loose any down the side of the sofa. It’s been designed so that when you need to take the pinny off, you can just fold it up with your project inside and keep everything safe.
The pinny measures approximately 46cm wide and 51cm. The small pocket is 17cm wide and 24cm deep and the large pocket is 24cm wide and 24cm deep. The ribbons are generously sized (to make a really nice sized bow) as S/M or L/XL.
The Miss Mini Pinny cost £32 and is available from the Knit It – Hook It – Craft It website. Fay is on Ravelry as MaDashper, where there is also a Crochet Circle Podcast Group. You can also stay in touch via Instagram either as crochet_circle_podcast or knitithookit.
Pumora Personalised Wooden Needle Gauge
We originally got in contact with Anne, this issue’s Embroidery Expert having discovered her Wooden Needle Gauges on Etsy. We’re always on the lookout for something a little different, so the gauges caught our eye because they’re an invaluable tool but unlike the standard plastic one many of us own; Anne’s ones are far more stylish and personal.
A Berlin based Mom-Entrepreneur, now living and working in North Eastern Germany, Anne is well known for her embroidery tutorials and has been featured in several magazines.
Made from Cherry or Zebrano wood, the gauge includes laser cut sizes from 2mm to 10mm or US Sizes 0 to 15, and has a handy ruler marked down the side, perfect for checking your tension. Once cut, the gauge is polished by hand before being oiled with Camellia oil to protect it for years to come.
Anne customises the gauge to suit the owner and will happily add a name or saying to it as per your requirements. Prices for a Pumora Personalised Wooden Needle Gauge start from €8.66 and are available from the Etsy Shop along with Anne’s other products. Stay in touch with Pumora via the website, Instagram and Facebook
The Moher Soap Co. Handmade Soaps and Balms
There’s something very satisfying about a bar of handmade soap. Hopefully you understand what we mean?
It’s probably our most regularly purchased handmade product, so we’re always keen to hear about new-to-us makers.
Originally from Galicia, Spain, but now living in County Clare with her family, Raquel Ruido is the creator behind The Moher Soap Co. The company came into being because of a pair or two of ‘working hands’ – Raquel’s and her husbands. Like many of us, the couple both experienced trouble with dry and broken skin as a result of repeated hand washing with commercially produced soaps. This prompted Raquel to come up with the idea of making her own soaps.
Created by hand in her kitchen, the soaps and balms Raquel makes are much kinder to your skin and have minimal impact on the environment. The Moher Soap Company use only natural ingredients, which means the final products are all SLS free, parabens free and contain no other harmful chemicals, while also meeting strict EU cosmetic standards.
The soaps come beautifully packaged, wrapped in material that can be reused and repurposed into something else. Available from several stockists in County Clare and Galway, Raquel’s products can also be purchased via The Moher Soap Co. website. Stay in touch with the company via Facebook and Instagram.
Badly Made Books Handcrafted Note Book/Journal/Sketch Book the Kieran Foley Collection
Sean O’Sullivan is the maker behind Badly Made Books, which first began life as a portfolio website for Sean’s illustration work and first book, Other Seas. Over time, Sean began to accumulate more and more equipment that allowed him to experiment with book production further. With a background in Industrial Design, Sean began to really enjoy the process of prototyping and perfecting the books that he was offering.
We already knew of Badly Made Books and had them jotted down on a list of makers we wanted to get in touch with for Olann and Loves, but then we learnt of the collaboration with Kieran Foley and Dublin yarn shop, The Constant Knitter and set to work straight away.
Badly Made Books are a low tech, high quality means of recording and organising all those troublesome thoughts and exciting ideas. Whether you’re a writer (lines), artist (blank), organiser (dots) or a mixture of all of the above they’ve got a notebook for you. Every book has been hand bound using 130gsm recycled cartridge paper, so you can comfortably use both sides of the page and every book has a neat storage pocket in the back.
We’re sure we don’t need to tell you about Kieran Foley, but just in case – Kieran Foley is an Irish knitwear designer whose colourful shawl and scarf designs are loved the world over. Based in Dublin, The Constant Knitter is his local yarn shop and Rosemary is a wonderful supporter of his work, so it came as no surprise when we heard that The Constant Knitter had commissioned a range of Kieran Foley note books.
There are three different covers available, each depicts one of Kieran’s well known designs: Frangipani, Weavers Square and High Seas.
Measuring 145mm x 200mm x 15mm, you can choose from a variety of internal options (lined, bullet, blank & mixed). Available from both the Badly Made Books website and The Constant Knitter, they would make the perfect gift for a friend, loved one or you.
Baglady Designs Greetings Cards and Wedding Stationery
Sheena Power has been making illustrated stationery since 2003, but has been drawing all her life. Thanks to a wonderfully-stocked local library, her childhood influences included illustrators like Arthur Rackham, Janet & Anne Grahame Johnstone, Patricia Coombs and Wayne Anderson. In her work, she tries to recreate the magical feeling she got from their books
Sheena studied graphic design but her aptitude for drawing really developed from doodling on copy-books. To this day, her preferred medium is ballpoint pen, although she also uses a wide range of other media: colouring pencil, watercolour, collage, and pen-and-ink.
Sheena’s work is beautiful, it’s elegant and whimsical, without being twee. Passionate about the environment, Sheena uses recycled papers and biodegradable packaging. Even the binding on her calendars is recycled string (which she loves choosing, as it comes in various soft rainbow colours). She makes wedding stationery, greetings cards, prints for framing, calendars and labels for home-made chutney and jam.
Blue Sky Fibers – 21 Color Slouch Kit
To be honest, I love pretty much everything about working on Olann and. It’s my dream made into reality and while it’s not without its struggles and hurdles to overcome, there are some days that everything just seems to come together on. Not least is the day that the 21 Color Slouch Kit from Blue Sky Fibers arrived in the post. For those of you that follow my blog, you’ll know it’s something I’ve been coveting for some time now. However, you don’t have to be a reader of mine to know why, one look at the kit and it’s blatantly obvious why.
Blue Sky Fibres, for those of you who don’t know, was founded by Linda Niemeyer, whose curiosity with alpacas led to her buying one and selling its yarn. Established in 1997 as Blue Sky Alpacas, the company changed their name in 2016 to reflect the ever growing range of fibres they use in their yarn.
I have knitted with quite a lot of the company’s yarn over the years and I’ll happily sit and stroke the few precious hanks I have stashed waiting for the perfect design. So when I spied the Slouch Kit it’s not surprising it went straight onto my wishlist.
Designed by Virginia Sattler-Reimer, the 21 Color Slouch Kit is part of Blue Sky Fibers Knit Kit Series. The kit contains the design leaflet plus 21 mini five gramme hanks of the introductory colours of the Blue Sky Fibers’ popular yarn Woolstok. It’s beautifully packaged in a cardboard holder with the mini hanks peaking seductively out of the top, tempting you to purchase one.
Woolstok is a worsted weight yarn, made from 100% Fine Highland Wool. It is strong and sturdy, gently plied to give it loft, lightness and a soft handle. The kit serves as a great introduction to the yarn and its 21 stunning shades.
The kit is available to purchase from many well-known stockists worldwide, including several in the UK. Sadly, there are none presently in Ireland, but that might change one day in the future. In the meantime you can stay abreast of all the Blue Sky Fiber news by following them via their Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.