Lovers of all things wool will happily lose themselves in the beautiful tactile space that is Olga’s Own Craft Studio and Yarn. This Ballinaspittle-based haven for knitting lovers is the creation of Olga Prins, a South African native who says that the village of Ballinspittle instantly captured her heart, which is why she chose to set up shop here.
The super soft yarns in the shop ranging from luxurious virgin merino to organic cotton will ignite a passion for craft in even the uninitiated. “I have to stick to my story,” says Olga passionately, when explaining why she only stocks quality, sustainable yarns in her shop. She points to what she mischievously calls the ‘naughty corner’ where all the inferior sample stock that doesn’t make the cut, is shelved. Her nose wrinkles. “This is where I put any yarns not so nice to touch.”
What you will find at Olga’s is beautiful, soft, quality yarn in a glorious selection of colours: Brands such as Malabrigo with its luxurious silk and alpaca mix or Schoppel Wolle and Scheepjeswol with their merino yarns will cause any voracious knitter to drop a stitch in excitement!
Anyone who enters is immediately made to feel welcome. When she first opened, a couple from Skibbereen mistook the shop for a cafe. “It was pouring rain outside so I sent them across the road to get a sandwich and invited them to sit at the table in the shop,” says Olga. “The next time they came to visit they brought me eggs and homemade jam.”
An ICU nurse in a past life, Olga’s inauguration into the world of craft was when she was introduced to cross-stitch by a colleague in the ICU. “I’m from a family of knitters but I couldn’t knit to save my life when I was younger,” she admits. “My sister used to tease me that she hoped her kids would be born in the summer, as I had so many holes in my knitting,” she laughs.
Olga made the decision to stay at home when she had her children but a busy mind meant she was always working on more than one project at once. To date she has made 123 quilts and she always a knitting, crochet or embroidery project on the go.
A firm believer that you shouldn’t be a spectator in life, last September marked Olga’s initiation into the world of business. “i wasn’t allowed to work until I got my Irish citizenship in 2019, so I just did some voluntary work prior to that,” she explains. “Although I was a qualified nurse in South Africa, I’m only allowed to work as a nurse’s assistant here, which is why I didn’t go back to nursing and decided to go into business for myself.”
Ranging from €2.50 for a ball of 100 per cent cotton yarn to €30 for the most luxurious mix of silk and mohair, there is something for everyone on Olga’s shelves. The shop also carries a good selection of knitting and crochet paraphernalia.
With a big wooden table taking pride of place in the centre of the floor, this is a community space as much as a shop: Olga runs regular adult and teenage workshops in craft and knitting.
This initiative is a labour of love for the big-hearted South African, who says laughing that “it feels more like I’m hosting a daily tea party than working.”
Open five days a week, Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-5pm, if you’re a lover of quality yarn be sure to visit Olga’s Own Craft Studio in Ballinaspittle.
Phone 089 617 7905 or email firstname.lastname@example.org