Thursday 15 April 2010

Cushendale Mills Visit

So here comes my much anticipated visit to Cushendale Mills, Graiguenamenagh, Co. Kilkenny. I've wanted to visit this place for so long, I was ridiculously excited to finally go.
We got there after much swearing due to Sat Nav stupid mis-directions, but oh boy, was it worth the wait!

We arrived into the mills via the shop. They had truly beautiful wares for sale:

Scarves, gloves, socks, wraps, you name it, they had it and at very reasonable prices too. I nabbed my Dad a pair of hiking socks for €7.95, and tried desperately to let my Mam allow me to buy her some truly lovely scarves for €8.95!
So I progressed into the mill itself:

I feel really terrible, for the life of me I can't remember the tour guide's name. He was the best tour guide I have ever met. He knew the mill history inside out & upside down. He could trace his family in the mill for quite a few generations, & was able to tell me everything I could ever dream about asking about the place.

Alice was thrilled to get involved. He showed us the roving before spinning, and then demonstrated the spinning machine for us:

Isn't it the most gorgeous piece of machinery? Apparently this machine is 150 odd years old, dating from the 1840's/50's. Still going strong and beautiful.
While I chatted with him, hubby snuck off around the mill floor snapping photos. I was absolutely enthralled with his talk, he knew so much! I got to see all the different fibres he spun and the dyeing process. I fondled so many skeins, he asked if I was enjoying myself. Immensely was my breathy answer!

I was like a kid in a candy store. if I could choose a profession, right now this would be it. I thought it was the most fascinating thing I had ever seen, the transformation of sheepy woolly roving into beautiful, clean crisp dyed knitty loveliness.

Here is the skeining machine that they use to wind their massive rolls of yarn into user friendly sized skeins.

The bouclé winding machine was hidden away at the back of the mill:

I was looking at this machine and thinking, if only I could knit faster then there'd be no need to skein this stuff, just crank on the machine & I'd create loveliness as it went! (in my dreams of course)
So here's a few gratuitous pretty pics that John took as he wandered unmonitored around the place. He was really good at sneaking around while the tour guide was distracted by my endless stream of questions:
This is the river outside the mill that used to run the equipment. The mill guy (I'm so sorry I can't remember his name) recalled having to clear out the weeds from the river every Spring to get the machinery going.

And some more random mill pr0n pictures:

I swear I could have happily have given up everything and just moved right in there. The smell of yarn, dye & machine oil along with age was just so alluring and romantic (if yarn can be romantic). I left so filled of family heritage and history. It was the best day.
I think I have already blogged the yarn that I bought there, (and some I have sneakily pre-ordered from their next dye batch)
If not, I shall post it next time.
So if anyone is coming to Ireland any time soon, or anyone living here, you simply MUST visit this place. It's only an hour and a half outside Dublin, and the best day trip I've ever been on.


sheknitupthat said...

It was Phillip! Phillip Cushen.

Fantastic post, your pics are marvellous, really bright and lovely :D

kelgell said...

From your rave, it sounds like a must-visit. So delightful. I hope to get to Ireland in the near future so maybe I will just visit this place. I'm glad you got to go and had such a delicious time.

Bionic Laura said...

Great post. What wonderful photos. Phillip is fantastic, so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. It's a great trip. Hopefully there will be another post with purchases soon.

del said...

Yarn can most definitely be romantic!

That mill looks fascinating. So glad you got to visit.

Tara said...

Great post, great pictures! And yes, sweetie, yarn and history in friggin' IRELAND is most definitely romantic! :)