Woolfest 2009 - A reflection

This year’s format was slightly different in that we were one of a group of drop-in workshops. In fact we did very much the same as previous years but with a lot less space. Fortunately, we were much better organised and went for a simpler stand layout which didn’t need a trailer to cart everything to Cockermouth! Val and David had also slimmed down their display so we managed to fit everything onto the two available boards and tables. Unfortunately, my camera battery decided to die before I had got into my stride (even though I had charged it up before I left home). The only photo of the whole stand I managed to take was so out of focus that I dare not include it here. However, I hope we can rescue enough to give you a taste (with David’s help).

(Note: The pictures will appear later)

Our main display item was the lovely knee blanket made by Rosalind which was made from commercial wool which had been hand dyed using items from the hedgerow and garden. It complemented the Guild’s embroidered poster which was also made by Rosalind. We also had a basket of skeins of hand spun yarns to show some of the variety of fleeces and fibres which are suitable for long draw spinning. On previous occasions visitors had expressed doubts that long draw was suitable for any fibre so we wanted to prove otherwise. It had the desired effect.

Everybody who came to watch was impressed with how easy we made long draw appear. We had some super comments written in the book and also posted on the Ravelry Long Draw Group site.
“Very inspirational. Demos next year please.”
“Fantastic insight to learning about spinning.”
“At long last – the mystery solved! Many many thanks.”
“You ladies are fantastic.”

We also welcomed three new members to the Guild – Lea from Maryland USA, Gillian from Inverness and Peter from Colne in Lancashire. Far flung indeed! We regret that they won’t be travelling to Stoke Albany too often but we hope to keep in close touch over the ether. Check out Gillian’s website www.artisanthreads.co.uk for beautiful fleeces dyed using Indian herbal dyes.
We met so many interesting people and some very good contacts.
I can’t begin to describe the mouthwatering selection of fibres available. Heather’s Nude Ewe stand looked beautiful and I believe did well. Several suppliers we spoke to said they had had a good show which bodes well for the future of Woolfest. The choice and range of finished products for sale showed that the fund of talent available is very rich indeed.

We were honoured to have a visit to the stand by Richard Ashford. Ashfords had a very good display of their complete range for the very first time this year. They were not selling because there were other stockists doing that but they were there to support the UK network of stockists. It was really good to see them. I had to make my New Zealand connection known and will meet up again next April in Wangarei at the NZ national show for the Creative Fibres group. I was very impressed with their new ball bearing wheels which were so much smoother – Richard said it had only taken 400,000 wheels before he developed this - and I was quite tempted by the electric spinner. What a dream for those of us who suffer with their knees and ankles.
I think this is the first year that spinning has been to the fore. In previous years we have had to search out spinning wheels and accessories but this year they were very evident.
We all loved being there both representing the Guild and searching out some special goodies to stash away. Here’s to next year when we will all do it again.