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Where It All Began

Dorinda McCormack started out as a girl who had a dream about a spinning wheel. Many years later, her dream came true. Not only did her wheel arrive, but several looms also found their home in her workroom!

I started out spinning and weaving in 2010 in a cosy wee room in my home, nestled amidst the rolling drumlins in Newbliss, Co. Monaghan. People started to get curious about what I was doing and it was great fun sharing my passion for these ancient crafts.

It all begins with the fleece from the sheep. I buy this washed and dyed and from there I blend it with silk, maybe add some sparkle and then I spin it. Sometimes I buy fibre that has already been blended - there are some amazing fibre artists out there!

When I weave, I look to the yarn for inspiration. Sometimes I'll match it with a commercial yarn to create a particular effect. In weaving, we use patterns called 'drafts'. They give us the instructions we need to thread the loom to get things like herringbone or twill. Matching my yarns with drafts brings me to my' happy place' and I usually plan a few pieces at the same time, while the creative juices are flowing.

Once the fabric has been woven and washed, the cutting and sewing starts. I might have pieces for several bags cut out and arranged on the table with the necessary straps, zips,linings etc. It often reminds me of the pictures from 'The Elves and the Shoemaker'.

I started making bags and purses for myself to experiment with the fabric. When friends began to ask about them I decided to start selling at small local markets and today it's great to know that so many others are enjoying and using what I make.