(Referring to the UK festival, incase anybody didn't suss that from the spelling)

Arrived home safe and sound yesterday evening. Slightly frazzled from the long drive and adrenalin needed to keep me on my feet for a few days, but definitely worth it!

A first event (they're already working on next year) along the same lines as WoolFest only different. For starters, it's held in a park with lovely grounds and so feels like a proper festival. It's also held in conjunction with the Bridwell Country Fair, so there were other things to be doing including a bouncy castle for the kids and the like (read somewhere to park the family whist you drool over the goodies on offer)

Stall wise, there were more ready mades on offer than at WoolFest, yet still plenty of yarn and fibre sellers. Many were familiar faces but it was good to see a whole new bunch to network with. Likewise with the punters - some bloggers but many folk I'd never met before, so definitely one for widening the circle as it were. I was able to finally meet Val, Lesley, Chris, Sue, Luciana and a whole load more as well as chat again with Cledry and Jenni which was fab. I did have my photo taken with both Sue and Luciana so I'm hoping those lovely ladies will let me steal a copy.

Being a typical ilk I forgot to take any photos of the general event, but did manage a few shots of my workshop. Feedback tells me it was a good'n, and have even seen some finished Hats! Had a couple of no-shows, so with 5 students we had a productive time. And what a lovely bunch of students they were, too.

The basis of the workshop is to develop a Hat design of their own, made to measure, in a yarn of their choice. I provide them with a whole bunch of notes and pattern samples (including pages of mathematical tables to save on calculations) They come ready with yarn, needles and an idea of gauge, and we take it from there. Everybody decided on a beret style (no persuasion from me, honest) and off we went. You don't have to be a mad Hatter to benefit, as the workshop gives you the basics of design to take away and adapt to other areas.

Being collared the next morning by Dianne and Martine (seriously hoping I've spelled those correctly) who had sat up the previous night until midnight finishing their Hats was a bonus - haven't seen any finished pieces before!

Didn't they do well? Think they both have a few minor changes they'd like to make, but that's all part of the process - any designer will tell you that. I was dead chuffed to hear that not only had they been gold-star students by sitting up to late finishing their homework, and not only did they finish perfectly good designs, but that they tracked me down to show me. Love it.

Obviously I couldn't go all the way down and not buy something. Now, being skint doesn't sit well with visiting any woolly event, so drastic measures were taken. Camping was the first decision, as a B&B or even a hotel (gosh! a hotel! imagine that) would have been way out of my pocket. Secondly, I took to writing every little parting of cash down to ensure that I didn't go over my fee money and come home out of pocket. It's what you do, innit, and have to say I've gotten rather good at it.

The workshops were held at Coldharbour Mill which was beautiful, and was the first point of purchase (I think you can define a good teacher by their decision to slightly extend lunch-break to allow for wool shopping) Otherwise the remaining few purchases were made at the festival.

From top left we have 200g of yummy hand-dyed Merino/Tencel 4ply from Fyberspates, 200g of superwash Merino DK (which will be dyed)from a stall selling mill ends, both lots for Baba knits, a hand knitted sheep and Coldharbour Mill window sticker, both for Barp, then finally 2 100g skeins of Coldharbour yarn - DK in the turquoise, Aran in the deep heather, both for patterns. Think I spent a whopping £26 on this lot.

What more to add? FibreFest is a worthwhile event, and will grow over the coming years for sure. I was disappointed that folk like the KCG and Winghams weren't there to show support, so hopefully they will be in future events. Otherwise, mark your diary for next year, it promises to be good.

AuthorWoolly Wormhead