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    Entries in wool festivals (4)

    Sunday
    Feb282016

    Unravel 2016

    Last weekend me and my friend Gilly (Tickety-b) went to Unravel. We missed last year, and it was lovely to be back again. We met up with Sarah (Crafts from the Cwtch) and later Joanne (Not so granny - after she had finished teaching) and had a grand time going round all the stalls, chatting with the vendors & bumping into friends. 

    I made sure to visit Rachel & Alli of Yarn in the City and was excited to pick up my copy of the London Craft Guide. It's a great size book - perfect for popping in your bag, and there's a whole lot of stuff packed in. It's made me want to have a couple of solo days in London so I can do my own mini yarn crawls!

    I had fun at Spin City's stand, and had a lovely evening chatting with Louise & her Mum along with lots of other knitty folks that evening. I didn't buy any yarn, but I did get lots of spinning supplies.

    You might have spotted a copy of Crochet Yeah! in there too - and I've already started a project from it. Joanne & Kat are a great team, and I love what they have done with The Crochet Project

    Another highlight was catching up with Amanda Perkins and seeing her crochet blankets on display as a collection. Spectacular, and definitely a good argument that crochet can be both practical and art at the same time.

    If you went, I hope you had fun. I met too many new people to name check everyone, but that's one of my favourite things about yarn festivals - all the amazing people I've got to know! What's your favourite thing?

     

    Tuesday
    Apr292014

    Wonderwool Wales 2014

     

    Photos top L; Kettle Yarn Co - glowing subtle colours on luxe bases, bottom L; Easyknits rainbow of yarn, R; Jillybean's sweet display of dyed wool tops.

    I love Wonderwool. I love that it is held in an agricultural showground, that the ceilings are high & the room is well ventilated - with fresh air coming in through the open slats in the walls! I love that there is room between the rows of stands so you can walk around more easily. I even love that you never know what the weather will bring - sunshine warm enough to sit outside on picnic blankets & sunbathe while you have lunch, or freezing temperatures & snow. I've had both (not in the same year!)

    I came with friends, and I knew they needed to leave early, which meant I didn't look as closely at some stands as I wanted to, and I missed out on hall 3 entirely. I did feel it was slightly less well organised than normal, maybe because it was bigger than ever. I thought it would have benefitted from a different catering layout. Maybe having all the wooly stuff in two halls & the catering in a third would have made it easier to get around all the wool stalls. There were a couple of exhibitors missed out of the directory too. But for all that, it's still  my favourite show - I just need to talk less (not going to happen) or move faster!

    My haul - I'll let you know what I plan to do with it in another post!

    I love finding yarns that are new to me, and meeting up with favourite sellers that draw me back again & again. Stand out new to me this year were Kettle Yarn Co (although I had a little play with her yarns at the Rocking Kitchen retreat), Fivemoons - with incredibly bright colours and the only yarn purchases I made on the day, Triskelion yarn - the incredibly saturated colours glowed, absolutely gorgeous!

    Mostly I love meeting up with yarny friends :)

    Me & Kate Heppell of Knit Now magazine. Being grown up & sensible.

     

     

    Tuesday
    Feb252014

    Unravel 2014

    Now it's no secret that I love wool festivals. I love that my overwhelming fascination (some may call it obsession) with yarn, needles, hook, patterns and fibre makes me feel like one of the cool kids. Bizarrely, it doesn't always work that way in real life! 

    Unravel is the first big festival of the year & a great chance to meet up with online friends while squeeing over colourful skeins. This year I was lucky enough to win a weekend ticket from Hilltop Cloud. So I made a weekend of and stayed over in a hotel with Gilly (she's just started up her blog again, click on the link to go see!), Sarah of Crafts from the Cwtch and Marinke (known as Wink) from A creative being. Gilly is a regular partner in crime, but I hadn't met Sarah or Wink before. They are predictably lovely :)

    (Top row L-R: knitted pigeon, knitted taxidermy & sculpture, Wink's dreads! Middle row L-R: Sarah & Gilly, knitted directions, The Natural Dye Studio. Bottom row L-R: Books & knitting in the cafe, Sweet Georgia yarns,  bloggers in action!)

    I love this group selfie that Gilly took. L-R; the adorable Ruth of Rock and purl. Designer & tech editor extroadinaire! Me, the fabulous Kate Heppell, editor of Knit Now & all round lovely person, Gilly who's hair generated lots of interest :)

    I did do some buying. Mainly fibre - I now have an extensive yarn stash & love to find out what's new at shows but I don't get to do an enormous of knitting or crochet for me these days. This is what I got;

    Small photos: Sweet georgia bfl/silk roving in spring garden colourway, Hilltop cloud's handblended gradient roving in Dark Rainbow, Knit by numbers dk merino by John Arbon (bin ends) (the 3 x 200g broken tops in the main picture are John Arbon too), gradient wool in rainbow from Namolio, Icelandic lopi Einband laceweight wool.

    I've already started spinning the sweet georgia bfl/silk. It's GORGEOUS! I'm also really looking forward to trying the new-to-me Icelandic lopi wool. I got the last ball of laceweight - the red ball above.

    I love to catch up with the producers/dyers who are kind enough to let me use their yarn in my designs, and to meet up with twitter/instagram/facebook/ravelry friends in real life. Unravel 2015 will be February 20-22nd. Will I see you there?

     

    Tuesday
    Jan282014

    Wool Festivals

    I sometimes forget that I haven't always known about wool festivals. It seems like they have been part of my life for a REALLY long time now. But the first one I went to was Wonderwool in 2010. It was a revelation! I know that many readers will be keen wool festival goers. But there might be some of you who have never heard of them. Well, prepare to be enlightened!

    So what do you do? Well, now, what happens at a wool festival stays at the wool festival! But seriously, mostly you buy, you meet up with online friends & you learn. There are generally workshops - often given by knitting celebrities, but always by people who know their stuff. There is always a marketplace. Sometimes the marketplace will feature some of the animals that produce the fluff you like to spin/knit/crochet. There are always stalls that showcase things you haven't seen before. Prepare to have your mind blown & your wallet emptied! Some expensive, some absolute bargains, aostly things you can't easily buy in your LYS. You can buy direct from the producer, and you can be as geeky about wool as you like! There are generally local food producers too. Mmm, cake! (And Scotch eggs, if we're talking Wonderwool. They are seriously good!)

    As I am in the lucky position of having a large personal stash and getting to try loads of gorgeous yarns for work, the main deal for me is buying things to spin - not many shops sell pretty dyed fibre - and meeting up with knitting friends.

    So why go? It's probably the most fun you are going to have with your clothes on!

    The first big festival of the year is coming up on 22nd-23rd  Feb, Unravel in Farnham. I have just been lucky enough to win tickets on Hilltop Katies blog. I never win anything - so I was THRILLED to win. More money to spend on pretty fluff :) This is a great event, with a different demographic to the more rural events. It is more squished in that others I have been to - I found it a little claustropobic, but the fun outweighed the squash. You can see the exhibitors here - all 67 of them!

    The next one I love is Wonderwool Wales on 26th - 27th April. It's at the Royal Showground in Builth Wells, and as it is held in the barns, there is generally livestock there too, from angora bunnies to alpacas, to different breeds of sheep. This is my favourite show - it's less of a crush and you always have the unknown quantity of the weather to deal with. Some years have been glorious, and we have sat outside on crocheted picnic blankets (natch!) enjoying our lunch, other years I have been toasty in multiple layers and stall holders have been wearing their samples! It's relaxed & there are great food stalls. Fancy Scotch eggs, delicious pattiserie & yummy cider - not too shabby a lunch right there!

    A favourite for many and possibly the largest is Woolfest in Cockermouth, Cumbria. I haven't been yet - it's quite a hike from me, the others can be done in a day. Lots of people will not miss this one - nearly 6000 visited last year. 

    There are others - I'll talk about a couple of new ones next time.

    Have you been to a wool festival? Are you planning to go this year? Which is your favourite?