Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Woolfest: 2011, with a recap of 2010 too!

Yes! We shall indeed be at Woolfest this Friday and Saturday on stand D79, so if you are coming along, do come and see some of our lovely vintage garments in real life.

For those of you who either haven't heard about Woolfest, or aren't in the vicinity of the Lake District, here's a review of what we got up to last year, when we attended as visitors.

 Woolfest bunting. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography
On a blazing hot Saturday at the end of last June, the knitonthenet team travelled up to Woolfest at Cockermouth in Cumbria. Set in the hills of the Lake District it was a beautiful setting for a great day out. It was my first time visiting Woolfest (I’m usually at the other end of the country) and it was different to any other knitting or yarn event that I’ve ever been to.

The show took place in Mitchell’s Lakeland Livestock Centre, which is a large purpose built barn and livestock auction house. As you might guess, there were lots of sheep, some angora rabbits and even some alpacas on show in pens for everyone to admire. 

 Woolfest venue. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography
Earlier in the week, there had been a number of Woolfest Masterclasses led by Galina Khmeleva and Helen Ritchie, held at nearby Higham Hall. The importance of local yarny businesses was apparent in the Wool Clip display area, and we were especially encouraged to support them as the recovery from the previous year’s devastating floods continued. 

 Roving. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography
There were row upon row of stands selling everything that the spinner, dyer, weaver, knitter and crocheter could ever want and far too much to list here. There was a brilliant selection of yarns on offer from John Arbon, Natural Dye Studio, Texere Yarns, Tall Yarns and many more. There were knitting accessories from p2tog, and some brilliant sheepy accessories from The Herdy Company. Fibre was available from many British breeds including Teesdale, Gotland and Shetland sheep and there were plenty of the sheep there in person too.

 Sheep. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography
In the demonstration area, there was a chance to have a go at making rag rugs, hand spindling, watch Herdwick rope making and even have a sit down at the Cumbrian Knitting Café. We were all invited to knit a triangle of bunting to add to the long string already displayed at Woolfest (see picture, above). They hoped to be able to encircle the building by this year! We'll let you know if their plan worked.

  Egg cosies. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography

One of the highlights of Woolfest is the sheep auction: that’s both livestock, and textile sheep too (separately, of course!) I was lucky enough to see the textile sheep auction, which raised money for the charity Farm Africa. It was carried out just as a normal sale is, with the auctioneer, Adam Day shouting ninety-to-the-dozen as there was a frenzy of bidding. 

 Knitted Sheep Auction. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography 
At the end of a long, but very enjoyable day, we all had a lovely ice cream made with sheep’s milk (what else?) I’d highly recommend trying some if you're there this year. 

The Jan Sweater. Image copyright Arbour House Publishing.
So, don't forget - we're on stand D79 this year. If you're there, we'd love it if you'd come and say hi to Gavin and Susan, browse the books and kits, and take a look at some of our beautiful garments from A Stitch in Time volume 2 (that's The Jan Sweater above.)
Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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