Monday, 29 June 2015

Celebrating British Wool at Woolfest 2015. . .

Woolfest 2015 was amazing.  I've been twice previously but both times it poured cats and dogs, and I was with the Liverpud who -  bless him -  tried to look interested and to save him from boredom, I hurried myself along and tried to do the whole show in less than two hours. You can't do it justice in that time.

But this year, the sun was shining, the Liverpud dropped me and three knitting friends off at the venue and took himself off for a walk, and we had over five glorious hours to explore the show.  All of us, Liverpud included, had a great day.

Going on Saturday made a big difference too.  It was less manic and I really got the chance to look at every booth and have longer and really interesting conversations with the vendors.  And I even got to try drop spinning which has re-awoken my desire to learn how to do it properly.

I even bought some fibre from Skybluepink Designs to induce me to watch the Craftsy course I bought,  and to get out that drop spindle lying in a box under my bed.  I just fell in love with these colours!

I may have gone slightly overbudget (well, that was a given), but I did keep to my goal of only buying British wool - not difficult when there was so much fantastic yarn on offer.  I also wanted to challenge myself by buying wool I'd not tried before so even though I love, love Titus and John Arbon, I was able to restrain myself in their booths and bring home something new instead.

My first purchase was two skeins of Susan Crawford's Excelana 4ply in this glorious limited edition colourway called Coral Lombard.  How could I resist?  The name alone had me smiling, not to mention the rich colour.

Oooh and then look at the deep purple in these skeins of aran wool from the Hebridean Islands, bought at the Sheepfold booth.  There are flecks of blue and brown in there too and I think these are destined to become winter mitts and cowls.  I have some dark brown Herdy wool in my stash that would complement it perfectly.

I've not tried any wool from the Falkand Islands before but I'm a big fan of Blacker's yarns and so these two skeins came home with me.

And then there's Jillybeans.  Sadly due to family circumstances, she wasn't able to be at Woolfest but had given a friend a lot of skeins to sell on her behalf.  I absolutely adore how she dyes her wool - all of which is 100% British, a mixture of Shetland and BFL.  Look at how rich her colours are!  No idea what I'll do with them yet, but I always like having her yarns in my stash; the right project is sure to come along.

And then I fell in love with these two beauties.  I love the colour and rustic feel of these organic skeins from Garthenor.   This will definitely become a shawl. Perhaps Lucy Hague's Taliesin or Karie Westermann's new design Mahy.

And then there was a booth called Riverside that was selling huge skeins for hand or machine knitting.  They didn't come with information tags, but the company write-up in the brochure said all their wool was sourced and spun in the UK.  I got this enormous 1000g skein for only £20 and since I regularly use grey as one of my "neutral" colours in knitting, I jumped at the bargain.  It took me three hours to wind it up (no, I don't have a ball winder).  It seems to be fingering weight and this is what it looks like - the biggest ball of wool I have ever wound.  Should last me quite a while.

Apart from all the yarn, I was really delighted to come upon these unusual buttons from the Wool Clip collective.  They are made from Cumbrian slate and I think they would look fantastic on a rustic wool cardigan.  I am so, so pleased with all of my purchases.  That should tie me over at any rate until Yarndale!

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