Woolfest 2010

We (Heather, Janet and Norma) set off from Northampton on Thursday lunchtime, arriving in Cumbria around 6.30pm. We went straight to our cottage to pick up the key and then on to Cockermouth to set up the stands. Heather was running her Nude Ewe stand, which this year was next door to Gill’s Artisan Threads stand down in the livestock aisle. Janet and Norma set up the Guild stand in the demonstration area. We were delighted with the allocated space and only wished we had taken more display material. We were very pleased with the results though.

We were also very pleased that Gill had managed to bring her Muckle Wheel down from Inverness and even more delighted to welcome Norman Kennedy onto the stand on Friday morning. Norman very quickly put us right on the “correct” way to long draw as used on the Western Isles and delighted everyone with demos on both the Great Wheel and cottage wheel and also the preparation of rolags for use on the Great Wheel. Check out Google for entries on Norman – among others is : http://www.aboutaberdeen.com/normankennedy.php. Janet attended his Waulking the Cloth demonstration on Saturday morning. We presented Norman with a Guild bag, which he proudly carried the whole weekend, to thank him for the demo and also for making possible the loan of the Muckle Wheel to Gill Challis for use by the Highland Guild and the Guild of Long Draw Spinners to promote long draw spinning. The wheel was made by Mr. Strachan.

We must also thank Cecilia for allowing us to use the late Carolyn Rawlinson’s wheel. This was a great honour.

We had such a lot of visitors. The Derby Guild ladies came to see us and we were pleased to catch up with them and see how they were progressing after their Guild workshop. Members of the Ravelry longdraw group also searched us out. We used our feedback sheets for specific enquiries and these now need to be followed up.

Luttrell’s Psalter pictures always provoke conversation and this year we were delighted to welcome a gentleman from Irnham (the home of Sir Geoffrey Luttrell) who wondered whether we would be interested in attending the Irnham church fete in July. He agreed to contact the organisers and get in touch. Irnham church contains a copy of the Psalter so we would feel very much at home.

It was good to catch up with Lea who was being her usual busy self helping out the Wool Clip ladies. We were also grateful that she was able to relieve Heather for a short time. I still haven’t got to the sheep auction. ……must try harder next year.

Five new members signed up over the weekend. Kathleen and Rosemary (who were students of Norman Kennedy) live in California and run a studio there. They were telling us about the Shaker Great Wheels which sound absolutely super. At 250 years old (the wheels not the ladies!) they are absolute treasures which apparently are still comparatively easy to find in the USA. Caroline joins us from Lutterworth. She came to our Celebration of Spinning and has thought about joining us ever since. She hopes to join us at the July meeting and learn to long draw. Di joins us from St. Andrews and is looking forward to meeting up with other long draw spinners in her area. We need to keep her in touch with Gill and Stephanie to grow that Scottish contingent! Alison is from Tyne and Wear and likes what we are trying to do to promote long draw spinning. She is a spinner and weaver although rates herself as a slightly better lampwork bead maker. She also makes polymer clay beads and buttons and takes on commissions for buttons to match particular yarns. Welcome to you all. I shall be in touch very soon. We were also pleased to see Vicki who was visiting from Stirling. She is hoping to coincide a visit home with one of our Guild meetings so that she can come and see us all. She confirmed that she definitely wants to remain a member even though we don’t see much of her!

After a very full two days on the stand, we set off for home on Sunday morning feeling elated, exhausted, thrilled with our purchases, and very much looking forward to next year. We drove along Ullswater, then went up over the Kirkstone Pass. The weather was superb and the views incredible. We went into Kendal for lunch and found the Old Fleece pub dating from the 1640s which sounded the right place to go! After that, it was back to reality and the M6 south arriving back in Northampton around 7.00pm. Sincere thanks are due to Janet for doing all the driving and to Heather for following us and trusting my navigation. We had a few hiccups (not all mine) but got where we were going without too much hassle.

Check out the gallery for pictures.