Now, Woolfest.

We travelled down on Friday night amid torrential rain, high winds and a slightly wonky satnav (read: me).  We did make it in one piece, though, and managed an hour or two to relax before heading off to bed in readyness for the big day ahead.  My big day, I mean.  My family just went and wandered around Cockermouth (which is a lovely place, by the way).

It was still raining when I awoke on Saturday morning, but thankfully had eased off by the time I left to get the first shuttle bus to Woolfest.  Since it was cold, I took along a thermos of soup for my lunch; I was anticipating long queues at the restaurants and food stalls too, and I wasn’t wrong.  This worked pretty well.  The soup was still warm when I stopped to eat it at 1, and although it wasn’t as hot as it could have been after 4 hours, it still warmed me up nicely.  I found the Livestock centre where woolfest was held a bit on the cold side, really.

So anyway, I arrived at around 9.45, bought my ticket and waited to go in.  I am glad I got there so early – it gave me around an hour to do a first loop of all the stalls and figure out what I wanted to buy before the big crowds got in.  I also took the opportunity to introduce myself to a few people I had been wanting to meet; Katie of HilltopCloud, Victoria of Little Wren Pottery, Alison of Yarnscape and Freyalyn of Freyalyn’s Fibres (although I didn’t manage to track her down until later in the afternoon for some reason).  After the initial loop, I headed straight for the IST Crafts stall for the russian spindle I have been coverting for over a year now.  It was my only sure-fire purchase on arrival – the only difficulty was in picking out a wood.


This is an Indian Rosewood Russian support spindle with a brass tip.  At least, I think it is Indian Rosewood.  I have lost the label that came with it somewhere.  I am hoping it fell out of my bag while I was unpacking and will turn up.  I am currently just noodling around with bits and pieces of easy-to-spin fibre to get the hang of spinning on a support spindle, but so far I am loving this one.  It feels very intuitive and despite being unsupported, the spindle just goes and goes and goes, a bit like those spinning tops you get when you’re a kid.  Great fun!

My other big purchase of the day was a yarn bowl from Little Wren.  I absolutely adore it.  I spent ages deciding too; I probably spent at least half an hour trying to pick just one, maybe longer!  I am thrilled with the one I chose, though.  It is a butterfly bowl, with a butterfly shape cut from one side and reapplied on the other.  It is finished with a brown glaze.

The pink yarn in there is a milk/silk blend I am using for the Dayflower socks. There’ll be a post about them very soon – I am just finishing the heel now.

Other than that, I did very well in terms of shopping, and bought all kinds of things that don’t really show up locally.  That’s not to say I didn’t visit Natural Born Dyers and Teeswater Wools and so on too, but it was nice to get some variety.  I also really loved meeting people I’ve known online.  Freyalyn in particular is a wonderful person, and I absolutely loved talking to her and Mark.  If we lived closer together I’d probably be knocking on her door right now, asking to be shown the secrets of dying and suggesting colour schemes for next year.

So here’s my completed shopping list for Woolfest 2012.

So what we have photographed above is:

1. Woolfest T-shirt and Ravelry button – to raise money for air ambulance
2. 2 skeins of sock yarn and 1 of DK (undyed) – Bluefaced.com
3. 1 skein of Gleen Lace (Lime Twist) and 1 skein of Rural Charm Sock (Earth and Sky); 1 pattern, unpictured – Fibrespates
4. Lissom Lace (Moor) – Yarnscape
5. Twinkle Lace (108) – Yarn Addict
6. Pick n’ Mix Batt (white/candy floss/heather) and BFL/baby camel roving (undyed) – HilltopCloud
7. Black BFL/silk fibre (copper) – Freyalyn’s Fibres
8. Merino/silk batt (undyed) – Scottish Fibres
9. Alpaca sliver – John  Arbon
10. Wooden buttons – Sophie’s Wild Woolens?
11. Shell buttons – Brimstone buttons & buckles
12. Felting needles – ?
13. Russian Spindle – IST crafts
14. Yarn bowl, unpictured – Little Wren
15. Herdy Coaster and Lake District Mug – Keswick Tourist Info

So all in all I had a great time.  I spent a ton of money and don’t regret a single penny of it.  Thank you so much to everyone who worked to organise Woolfest and make it such a success.  Now I’m off to knit some socks and fondle the roving for a few hours.  Don’t wait up. 😉

If you would like to know more about any of my purchases or would like some bigger, more detailed photographs, I have made a list here. This shows only fibre, of course, but I am happy to answer questions about the equipment I have too.