Last weekend, Mica, Jackie and I headed down into England for Cockermouth’s WoolFest. Inside a huge polebarn normally used for livestock shows were rows and rows of booths all having one thing in common – wool. 

(well, mainly wool – there was a hemp booth and some alpacas and a cake booth, but I digress)

We left Edinburgh early and stopped for a coffee on the way.  We were some of the first people in line when the show opened and each bought something at the very first booths we saw (Mica and I purchased from Fyberspates, while Jackie RAN towards the Natural Dye Studio booth).  No photo of my cherry red lace weight, but it’s destined to be a shawl for my mother-in-law, so it will show up on the blog eventually. 

We split up after that – each of us preferring to browse on our own for the first go round of the show.  I stopped almost immediately at a bargain yarn table (given who  my parents are, I have a hard time resisting a bargain) – this table was full of 100g skeins of various 4ply yarns – all undyed.  At 3 for £10, I scooped some up that were all the same, welcoming the inexpensive opportunity to try my hand at dye-ing yarn again.   

Happy with my purchases so far, and eager not to spend all my money in the first 10 minutes, I spent the rest of the morning wandering around the show, taking notes of what I wanted to come back to, picking up two small pots of dye powder in plum and deep navy, and then met up with Mica and Jackie for tea and cake. 

Mica bought a sweater’s worth of Fyberspates 4ply in the same cherry red, and a Laar’s worth of laceweight.  Jackie had picked up two skeins of the Natural Dye Studio’s new yarn – I believe a combination of silk and baby camel, and was raving about the hemp booth.  After our short rest, we headed back out again, this time together to share what we had found and revisit certain booths.   Jackie took us to the hemp booth, Mica picked up some un-dyed yarn (and three more skeins of it found it’s way into my bag as well), Jackie bought some un-dyed baby alpaca from a different booth, and I scouted out the next purchase from the list I had brought with me – a top-whorl drop spindle and some fibre to try out.

I watched a demonstration at the Ashford booth, then got to try it on my own.  It seemed the most sturdy variety of the many I had seen so far that day, so I picked up a mid-sized one and went on my way to find fibre.  I brought home 100g of a gray Shetland wool, 100g of a lightblue merino and 50g each of maroon (seen above) and a deep orange.   As the picture shows, I spent some time the next day trying out my spindle skills – let’s just say that it will be a while until I am out of the beginner level of spinning, but I am proud of myself so far. 

After that, I met up with Mica and we headed towards the sheep and alpacas for a photo session.

This is me holding a ten day old lamb of the Ouessant breed – the smallest sheep breed in the world.  Adult sheep only come up to about your knee, and this lamb was so small it could have fit in my bag and made a good pet (and I was sorely tempted to take it home…).  And how about those freshly shorn alpacas? I love the tuft of hair left – it’s almost an alpaca toupee…  so comical.

The rest of our time went quickly – Jackie bought some hemp and more Natural Dye Studio yarn, Mica resisted the siren call of more Fyberspates, and I was down to my last few coins.   So we headed back to Edinburgh and chatted about what projects we would make with our new purchases. All the yarn talk and an audio version of one of the Yarn Harlot’s books made a three hour drive seem short. 

It was the largest yarn event I have been to so far in my knitting career and I can’t wait to visit more!

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