A taste of the craft scene in Ireland
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Nov 30, 2015

This episode I'm using a slightly different format - more chat from me about recent event in the Irish Crafting scene.

This month our focus is on all things woolly for Wovember.


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"


Oct 23, 2015

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


Aug 30, 2015

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 if in or 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.

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
Jul 29, 2015

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
The "gorgeous Burgundy" in laceweight and the "Farraige" colourway both purchased by Dearbhla
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The Pink Panther with sparkles!

Smudge Yarns

Jun 22, 2015

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:

May 31, 2015

This is not an episode! This is Claire and Dearbhla having a chat about the pattern for Episode 1.

As mentioned in Episode 1, we plan on releasing a pattern with each episode. Each pattern will be free until the next pattern is released. At the end of the year we will publish an ebook collection of all the patterns released during the year.

The pattern being release with Episode 1 is called "Muireann" and we hope you enjoy the pattern and enjoy the chat.


We held off on issuing this pattern in the hope that the repercussions of the VATMOSS mess would have been resolved. As you'll hear us discussing, we sought advice from a Chartered Accountant. Since recording we have received the following response regarding VATMOSS:

Hi Claire,

There is no requirement to register as you are well below the VAT threshold of €37,500 of turnover per year.

If you need anything else just let me know.

Kind regards


FCA | Principal

The following is an extract from Dearbhla's blog about the pattern being attached with this episode:

Introducing Muireann
Introducing Muireann

Introducing Muireann

Muireann is a top-down girls’ cardigan with ribbed bodice and feather-and-fan lace swing that started with the buttons! My daughter fell in love with beautiful ceramic buttons in the shape of dolphins. Blue-variegated yarn was quickly purchased and a sea-themed jacket was promised. The girls’ name Muireann (pronounced Mwih-RhaN) is derived from the Irish words for “muir” which means ‘sea’; and “fionn” meaning ‘white’ or ‘fair’. True to its name, the combination of the color-changes and the shaping of this jacket re-create a “fair sea” for the dolphins. The colour-changes of the yarn on the bodice are like the play of sunlight on a deep, blue sea. When the structured ribbing reaches the empire line the change of gauge to ridged feather stitch allows the fabric to flare. The ridged feather stitch pattern is textured enough to allow the variegations of the yarn to shine. As a bonus, the waves formed by the stitch pattern are like the waves breaking on our local beach.

2011.03.30 - Muireann - lace
"The ridged feather stitch pattern is ... like the waves breaking on our local beach. "

Muireann is graded for all sizes from 2 years old to 16 and is worked from the top-down using Barbara Walker’s method for simultaneously set-in sleeves as follows:

  1. After a provisional cast-on, the back is worked until it is one-sixth of the armhole circumference.
  2. Then each front is worked from the cast-on stitches to the same length as the back.
  3. Stitches are picked up for the sleeves and the fronts, back and sleeve-caps are worked simultaneously, with paired increases forming the sleeves.
  4. Just before the sleeves are divided away from the body, stitches are added to the body and the sleeves for the underarm shaping.
It started with the buttons!
It started with the buttons!

Thank you to all of my awesome test-knitters especially Maritere and Myjoha who posted great pictures on their Ravelry Project pages. You can download Muireann from my Ravelry store. ETA: [For those of you who just want to put it in your queue or library, for now, (hint! hint!) here's the link to the pattern page on Ravelry.]

I've laid out the pages with the photographs grouped so that the pattern falls over the central four pages - to minimise printing. I hope you enjoy spending time with Muireann!

May 19, 2015

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.

Apr 22, 2015

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 and you can find her on InstagramTwitter and Ravelry.

Also discussed were:

Tartan colourway selection
Mar 12, 2015

Welcome to Episode 2!

This episode, Dearbhla met with Yvonne of Dublin Dye Company. Even though Yvonne was in the middle of getting stock ready to sell at Edinburgh Yarn Festival - her first major show - she generously took time out to be interviewed for BLASTA.

Some links and visuals for what was mentioned in this episode:

    • In the dye shed, Yvonne mentions that Dearbhla previously bought Shetland Roving from Dublin Dye Company's Etsy shop:
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Shetland Roving from Dublin Dye Company, colourway "Cloudy Day"
    • The naming of Dublin Dye Company Patterns was discussed and later on Yvonne's designs for Howth socks and Stepaside socks were discussed in detail.
    • Dearbhla used Alpaca Lace from Dublin Dye Company in this Petals Wrap:
Petals Wrap in Alpaca Lace by Dublin Dye Company
  •  Back in the dye shed, Yvonne discusses how she dyed the custom-dyes yarn that Caroline requested for Dearbhla, Prism:
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Custom-dyed Merino DK by Dublin Dye Company, colourway "Prism"
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On the drying rack
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One of four 45 litre boxes of yarn going to Edinburgh Yarn Festival
  • At the end of the show, Dearbhla and Caroline do some taste-testing of wine and ciders from Llewellyns Orchard:
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Range of wines and cider from Llewellyns Orchard

Links to the wine and cider that were tasted:

Come and meet us in the Podcaster Lounge at Edinburgh Yarn Festival on March 14th and 15th. In the meantime, engage with us on social media at:

Theme Music is "Trouble With a Capital T" by Horslips and is used with kind permission of Horslips' management.

Feb 11, 2015

Hello! Failte! This is episode one - the Introductions episode - where we tell you a little bit about ourselves and a lot about our plans for BLASTA!

So, wherever you are in the world - and whatever your fibre craft - sit down, relax and have a listen.

In this episode we mention:

  • In June 2012 Dearbhla attended a workshop in The Constant Knitter by Olga Krivenko on Russian-made Irish Crochet Lace. The attached photographs that Dearbhla took show the stunning work done by Olga and her friends in Russia and Olga demonstrating how to do the netting around Irish Crochet motifs.
  • The website for craft beers in Ireland is

Come and meet us in the Podcaster Lounge at Edinburgh Yarn Festival on March 14th and 15th. In the meantime, engage with us on social media at:

Theme Music is "Trouble With a Capital T" by Horslips and is used with kind permission of Horslips' management.

Feb 9, 2015

Just a quick hello from Dearbhla and Claire