Where do I start?! WoolFest was brilliant. Loved it. Those that camped all had the right idea - you do need the two days there. The site isn't huge, just so many things to see.
PurlPower had booked herself onto a spinning course first thing saturday, but wasn't feeling up to it and so offered me the ticket. What would you say to such an offer? And so my wheel had it's first outing (and she's going to get a yummy pressie in return for her generosity) Even though I was itching to get in and fondle all that fibery goodness and behave like a kid in a giant sweetshop, I wasn't gonna turn down a lesson on longdraw and hope for a little help with my wheel.
All the other spinners on the course had big wheels, mainly Ashfords. And it didn't take long before I felt like a blundering fool trying to get my wheel to play nicely. Y'know how it is, when you start making silly mistakes with your imaginary dunces Hat on... you just keep making more. Turns out the main problem I had was that I hadn't thought to turn the tension completely off.... duh. Now it runs so smoothly and doesn't even grab. So even though I didn't manage as much as the others in the workshop, I did come out knowing my wheel better. A few gaps in my knowledge were also filled in (for instance, my wheel is scotch tension) and now feel like I know what I'm doing. Brilliant. I have confidence with my spinning again. Thanks again Helen - you're such a star! And here she is in the green pixie Hat.
After the course, it was time to meet people and get shopping! And man, there was a lot to see. Wool and fibres and yarns and wheels and sheep and more sheep.... I just didn't manage it all. 2 days are needed, for those planning next year. And what I liked the most was that this was a 'proper' show - not just about stash enhancement, but a chance to learn and revel in wool. Few commercial yarns and a chance to buy directly from the craftsman or farmer, which is right up my street. Ally Pally and Harrogate don't compare for quality and value. This show is the real macoy.
Let's not forget the sheep! Sheep rock. I refuse to eat lamb on principle. Anyhow, there were shearing demonstrations, and even a chance to try yourself except I didn't manage any of these :( Lots of breeds in pens to chat too (well, I chat to them) Raw fleeces were in abundance, and even though I resisted I came home with a North Ronaldsay fleece for a bargain price of £8, 1.25kg. The Wenslydales were my faves - dreadlock sheep - yey! It was mightily hot and it unsettled me seeing them all panting in their pens - wanted to get inside, give them loads of water and a cuddle.
Lots of fibre artists and exhibitions to see - missed most of these, which is a shame. Infact, I hardly took any photos so if anyone else has shots they don't mind letting me have a copy of, please let me know... I'm a bit anal about keeing a full account of such shows, including picking up all the leaflets, getting samples, taking photos and so on.... one day I'll share all my notes and the mass of files, all sorted by category...;)
Spent a fair bit of time hanging out with Susoolu and BlueAdt, which was cool. I'd not met Susoolu before, even though we've become rather pally via email, and she's just as lovely in person (btw, your cardy looked great, so stop moaning about the blocking and finishing) She did have the advantage at spotting me (damn hair is a give-away), as she is rather good at avoiding photos of herself. I could say loads more about our chats but I'll honour privacy and keep schtum ;)
Apart from Helen, Flossie was also there as part of the Newcastle clan. GlittrGirl was there but I missed her. It was great to meet the Scottish clan again in the form of Spinning Fishwife and Gourdon Girl. Isabella did make the most of the show, so I'm hoping she'll share about playing on the giant wheels and shearing sheep. Ra spotted me (or rather she spotted my dreads) and I spied Mary too. I'm sure there were plenty more bloggers there - lost count of who I said hello too!
I seemed to be having trouble spending my full budget (!) (and more on that later) - time ran out. At one point I dashed off to hide my Hitch-Hiker in my Mum's car, as it was getting so much attention (don't get me wrong, it was cool to have a little crowd gathering each time I got her out of her bag) but I needed to shop! So can you believe I came home with money in my pocket? Sunday, me and Mum chilled and spun, obviously. As you may remember, Mum's got my Ashford Traditional, and here's a shot of my 2 wheels together - spot the difference. Must confess tho, doubt I'll get the Ashford back. I don't mind, as I've no space for it and Mum needs a wheel.... we'll just have to come to some arrangement ;)
Now I need to dash off to the sorting office to pick up a parcel (more yarn!) and then methinks another stint in bed is needed. Coming up in Part 2 - The Haul.