Friday, 22 June 2012

Woolfest

A tired Hobbit was definitely due some me-time and the weather ensured I schedule it for today. The rain was not so much 'rain' as 'deluge of biblical proportions'. Catching up on ironing and housework didn't appeal at all so I took myself off to Woolfest for a couple of hours. As I don't spin, weave or knit, this annual event dedicated to all things wool-like wasn't an obvious choice for a trip out but every year I plan to go and see what it is like and every year something happens to prevent it.

A couple of hours turned into the entire day but with the luxury of being able to pop home at lunchtime although there is a good restaurant on site (and plenty of seating everywhere). Management was more than a little surprised and said it was ages since he'd seen me so enthusiastic about an event. Woolfest is held in the local auction market and there is a lovely agricultural 'whiff' to the place. Also lovely is the organisers allowing dogs into the show and I spent a lovely half hour chatting to a couple who had their working Beardies with them:}

Since its small beginnings in 2005, Woolfest has grown into one of the largest wool events in the country and attracts visitors from all over the world. Chatting to one of the parking supervisors outside he reckoned 98% of the visitors were from outside the area – great for the local economy.  It has been awarded "Tourism Event of the Year" by Cumbria Tourism.

        "Flock" is a community arts project organised by Eden Art.  Over 5,000 sheep who are probably behaving slightly better than the usual occupants of the auctioneer's ring.




A very difficult place to take photos which show the scale and variety of exhibitors which were not confined to vendors of knitting wool.



There were basket makers (oak as seen on 'Victorian Kitchen' and Phil Bradley's wonderful willow work as seen at Harlow Carr and many other major gardens around the country), whole fleeces for sale, lots of “arty” stuff, paints, dyes and embellishments that would keep a City & Guilds class going for years and some glorious clothes. The only thing I can do with knitting needles is use them as plant supports but I was tempted with a couple of kits, one to make a needle-punched picture (going well so far but slowly) and one to get me started on a rag rug.





Oh yes, and a new pillow filled with wool. I saw it in the morning and told Management I was tempted, “Why haven't you bought yourself one” was his generous and immediate reply. So in the afternoon I did. This is a “do it yourself” pillow, you open the casing and take out surplus wool if necessary to make it whatever size your neck needs. Took a couple of nights to get right but I am now sleeping SO much better than I was before, not sure why or how, and I don't care. Highly recommended ☺

Everywhere there was colour and texture, much surreptitious stroking of product!





I spent a long time browsing The Fiery Felts booth.   When I have nothing else to do at Bag End I want to create a medieval garden which will include medicinal and dyeing sections, amongst others.



Photographed with permission but I can't track down the name of the artist.



Fleeces for sale, the softest of which were from Alpaca and each bag had a colour photo of the "donor" and a little about the animal along the lines of "when they make a film about you, who will star in the title role?"  (answer: Cameron Diaz)



Also exhibiting were many rare breed societies together with lovely examples of their flocks although the cages of angora rabbits were, apparently, something of a distraction for the many Border Terriers who were trotting around with their owners! An outstanding event, definitely one that is a “must” on my calendar in future .

7 comments:

  1. Would have loved that ,,, used to be an avid knitter!

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    1. Jill, dates next year are 28th and 29th June - why don't you book a weekend at Spooney Green?

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  2. Love all the bright colors and the shelf of little sheep.

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  3. Lol that sounds like a PLAN!!!! Very damp here but I can see the sun trying to shine! More rain forecast for this afternoon, my roses are struggling now and some of my gorgeous peonies haven't opened their soaking buds ,,, and I used to wish we lived in the wetter west as summers used to be so dry here! Still as Country Bumpkin says ,,, better rain in Cumbria ,,,,,,,, ! A marquee going up in the garden next door as I speak ,,, I wish them the best of luck!

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  4. Looks like a fab day out, I'll put it on my calendar for next year too. Looks like a must for Mrs Flummery!

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    1. Ali, you're on! hopefully the weather will be a little better than this year.

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