Sunday, 22 September 2013

part two

I don't know why blogger doesn't want me to keep going, but I'll try my luck with a 2nd post.
very close by is another manufacturer, "Studio Donegal". they use the yarn produced by Donegal Yarns to weave fabrics for all kinds of projects, garments, furnishings etc. they do have a shop - and lots of lovely yarns for sale, too. we were given a tour here as well, and we found out that not only do they weave with the tweed yarns, they also produce their own, to be woven into gorgeous, multi-coloured fabrics. I only took one photo - this is the spinning mule, that produces the yarn on a more old-fashioned machine than the modern spinners of Donegal Yarns (and into quite a differnt yarn). it reminds me of lots of little spindles, which all produce a yarn at the same time, and that's what it really is. the part in front, where the spindles are attached, moves quite far out and draws out the fibres, then twist is added and the part moves back again, while the yarn is wound onto the spindles. lots of handspinners - all packed into one machine:) this was invented because during the industrial revolution the output of all the handspinners simply wasn't hight enough anymore to keep up with demand.
like the big spinning machines of Donegal Yarns the spindles work with pencil roving. on both sides of the machine there are "cheeses" that form during winding, which don't end up on the main beam. if they are nice and tidy, they can be used as a predrafted yarn like this. there is no twist added - so I can either choose to draft it out finer - or I could let it run into the wheel to make a chunkier yarn. I found two of those "cheeses" in the shop and couldn't resist them. normally this would be a waste product that goes back into yarn production, but every now and then nice looking packs can be found in the shop. they aren't "cheap", but I think they're worth their price, because they are special. Studio Donegal doesn't sell this yarn in the shop (at least I didn't see it there), they do sell skeins of Donegal Tweed there though, and lots of their other products. have a look at their website, lots of eye candy to see:) so I can make a really special yarn with this pencil roving - and I hope for more, but maybe I should spin these two first?:)
we also watched handweaving on the upper floor, where again I was so busy watching that I forgot to take out my camera (good thing I am not a photo journalist:). but you can see a handweaver at his loom on their page (and on their card in the picture above). and we checked out the cutting and sewing room, where no pictures were allowed, for obvious reasons.
on the whole I found it very interesting, to see where all this yarn is produced. it's a long drive, but the scenery has been very beautiful and we were lucky with the weather as well. after all this fibrey stuff we were very hungry and thirsty and raided the cafe of "Donegal Craft Village" first of all. hmmmm, lovely food and cakes and good coffee/tea as well - really recommendable for hungry crafters:) there are several small houses, where different crafters can show their trade and sell their goods. when we went, there was a painter, a metal worker, a wood turner, a potter, a glass maker (lampwork) and a weaver. quite interesting to see, too - esp. because we were able to see how things are made. I bought that small pottery "jug" in the picture above. I plan to attach it to my wheel, when I spin linen - to wet my fingers in between. of course I am a sucker for celtic patterns anyway....
on our way home we passed "the crafter's basket", where the poor bus driver was forced to take another stop, while we all flooded out of the bus and into the store.... the ladies in the shop probably already thought about going home, when we raided their shop in their final hour:) here's my haul:
I finally found some freezer paper, so I bought what was left of the roll:) and some buttons, some mill hill beads in christmassy colours, some glitter yarn, a bit of glitter - and a small acrylic block for stamping.... 
fabric stiffener, several balls of green yarn to crochet a christmas tree, some white cotton for snowflakes, some ribbon, printed like a measuring tape - and two balls of rico cotton, which I need to crochet add-ons for a t-shirt.
and a large panel of "12 days of christmas" fabric - which I'd like to work into a simple wall hanging. and just now I realized that I must have forgotten to take pictures of the fat quarters of christmas fabric I bought - overwhelmed by all the stuff maybe?
of course I took some knitting with me on the bus (6 hours of driving can't just be wasted!), but when I came home I didn't really like the pattern so much anymore, so I frogged it all and started again.
I doubt that they read my blog, but if they do: thank you to Chris from Donegal Yarns and Tristan from Studio Donegal for their tours and patience in explaining their work to all of us. and thank you to the poor bus driver, who was very patient and helpful all day long (and probably glad to be back home again in one piece:).


Delighted Hands said...

Great haul...I would have bought those two woolen cakes, too! Beautiful! Lots of other fun stuff. Too bad about frogging the trip knitting b u t sometimes it has to happen! Thanks for sharing the trip with us!

Anonymous said...

welch ein schöner Ausflug!! liebe Grüße wiebke

Leigh said...

How could you not be overwhelmed!

I'm familiar with Donegal yarns. So neat that they are produced so close to you.

Nina said...

What a fabulous outing! I'd have loved to see the Donegal Mill. The large scale operation is really interesting. Nice haul of goodies too. I'm quite a fan of Mill Hill beads. You wouldn't think Freezer paper would be so hard to find, but I don't think I've seen it around here either.

Woolly Bits said...

Cindy - I think if the company made those rolls in slightly softer fibres, but similar colours, spinners would line up to buy them! as they are they tend to be a bit scratchy for knitted garments - but I think they'd be perfect for a bag.

Wiebke - danke - und ja, es hat spass gemacht, sich alles anzusehen!

Leigh - of course it's paradise for knitters and weavers:) unfortunately the producers are not allowed to use donegal tweed similarly to other regional products such as cognac, parmesano reg. etc.. - which means, that yarns named donegal tweed can come from anywhere, china, donegal or wherever!:(

Nina - I found it quite interesting that despite the difference in size a spinner can still see all the same techniques we use on a small scale at home! and of course, it's not only freezer paper that's hard to find here - many "crafty" bits are difficult to source, so mail order and the internet really has to be my best friend most of the time... that happens if you life in the countryside:)