Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Daytripping with Fibre: The Leeds Wool Festival. . .

Another wool festival, another excuse for a day out with knitting.  Last Saturday was the Leeds Wool Festival at the Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills.  In its day, it was the largest woollen mill in the world and it made for a fabulous venue for a wool show.  We got an early train into Leeds (two hours of knitting time), and then walked half an hour along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal to the mill. Someday we'll take a week and walk all the way home.

Lots of knitted and crocheted bunting greeted us along the way.

While there were only twenty vendors compared to some of the larger shows, they were local and varied and lovely to talk to.  The museum is laid out on three floors and as you walk through it, the vendors were tucked into various corners.  I found the museum itself to be quite fascinating. One can only imagine what it would have been like on a working day with all the fibre dust and noise of the machines.  There were big ones. . .

. . . and small ones.  I love this little handkerchief loom and how fine the weaving is. 

There was a great cafe with homemade cakes, a lovely garden where you could sit and knit and meet other online friends, and there were also adorable alpacas which you could take for a walk. 

Among all the history, I also indulged in some knitting nostalgia.  One of the great delights of the day was to look over the schedule of events and see that Melanie Gall, a fellow Canuck, and half of the Savvy Girls podcasting duo, was scheduled to sing in the tiny historic cinema that is also part of the museum.  I blogged several years ago about her first CD of World War I knitting songs, and she sang a few of these, along with selections from her follow-up of WWII knitting songs.  She has a great voice and told some very amusing stories. It was lovely to meet her and I've been listening to her WWII CD over the last few days.    In particular, I love the title song, "Sweeter in a Sweater", which was actually an ad jingo used for an American yarn company.

At the Todmorden Books stall that specializes in antique craft books, I was delighted to pick up Weldons Encyclopedia of Needlework which I will really enjoy perusing in more detail when I have time. Knitting, crochet, dress-making, embroidery and mending are all covered with lots of diagrams and photos. I should pick up a few tips.

There was also yarn.  Of course there was yarn! Resistance is futile; I just have no self-control.  Some sock yarn from The Knitting Goddess and some gorgeous cobweb lace from Natural Born Dyers came home with me, along with a two more mini-skein pops from Baa Baa Brighouse.

And then I also bought some fibre because I am NOT giving up on the spindle spinning. The top is some dyed Shetland from Freyalyn Fibres which I am going to try and blend with some chocolate brown Zwartbles roving in my stash, and then I picked up some undyed Shetland and a bag of dyed Corriedale and Shetland fibre from a vendor that I can't remember the name of. But I'd love to get a skein of yarn with all those colours in it.

It was another fabulous day out with friends, chatting to knitters, getting inspired, and soaking up the fibre atmosphere. Next month it will be Birmingham and Yarningham!

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