Sunday, July 08, 2007

Woolfest 2007 - haul

I've been spending a lovely Wimbledon weekend (it has *finally* stopped raining. Today for the first time this 'summer' I was able to actually empty the water butt onto the garden, rather than just emptying it down a drain in a desperate attempt to stop it overflowing) spinning up and plying the rest of the Forest Sun batt. I've just finished plying and haven't taken it off the bobbin yet, so no photos.

I thought instead I'd go through my Woolfest haul, before I start digging into it [any further] (anyone baulking at the amount of text, scroll down for the cute sheep picture ;) ):

13 & 14 - my first Woolfest purchases. I'd been walking round and writing down any fibres and yarns that I was interested in, but these were on my shopping list, so I had to nab them. Interweave Knits Winter 2006 and Summer 2007. A bargain at £4 each.

11 - first fibre purchase: 100g 'English' wool (56s), dyed in lovely shades of black and pink by Freyalyn (£3.50). Beautiful, a bargain, and Freyalyn's stall was at the end of the hall, so I knew I didn't need to write it down and go back later! She called this colourway 'Blackberry', and there was another packet of 'Blackberry', but it was more lilac'n'grey than pink'n'black, and I liked the black. I'm thinking now that I might email her to ask if she has any more in similar colours to my packet, since 100g isn't that much!

5 - also from Freyalyn: 53g alpaca, dyed with blues and greys and blacks. I've never tried alpaca before, and these colours were lovely (£4).

9 - then it was right back to the other end of the hall for my first yarn purchase: one skein of 'Scrumptious' from Fyberspates (100g; 220m; £11.99). This is the 'moss' colourway, and I utterly love it. I was tempted by a vibrant pink colourway, but I don't have anything in that shade of greens and bronzes. It's a mix of blue faced leicester and silk, and I had emailed Jeni previously to ask if it is veggie silk or not... it isn't. That was a couple of weeks back, and I've been doing some thinking and decided that provided it was little and infrequent, I would allow myself to buy non-veggie silk (in the same way I wear leather shoes really). Besides Fypberspates has a really good environmental policy, so I was happy supporting the business.

8 - and this was why I over-ruled by morals on the Scrumptious - a pattern for a mini-shawl to be knit in it. I actually met the designer on a train about a year ago - she was knitting, I was in a knitting slump due to injuries, so I made her talk to me! It was Elly who gave me the Fyberspates weblink originally.

7 - my other Fyberspates purchase - cobweb weight BFL in gorgeous sea colours (the photo is actually pretty accurate for all colours). c. 1200m, £7.50

10 - my next yarn purchase. There are actually 2 skeins here, because they have a relatively short yardage (100g; 140m; £7 each). These are skeins of banana fibre! How fun is that! It feels a lot like the sari-silk yarn, a very heavy, dense, singles, in dark blue, purple and silver. From Knitting4Fun, who also had the funky stripey bags.

12 - this was the fibre I had my heart set on, it was from P&M Woolcraft (I think Mr Bee was more impressed by the newspaper bag). You can't quite make it out, but it's loads of different shades of merino, teals and greens and maroons and reds and purples, shot through with white silk (I know I know; I didn't ask. I shall ignorantly assume it to be tussah). This was sold in giant bags, and you had to wind out the weight you wanted - it was £4.50/100g, but the bag was actually labelled £4.50/kilo. Luckily I noticed that the other bags were £4.50/100g and checked before I tried to buy it all for peanuts! I got 200g, but am wondering now if I should've bought a lot more, since it's so gorgeous.

3 - other things on my shopping list were spindles. I got this Turkish spindle from Hedgehog Equipment for £4.50. They also had some Majacraft wheels out - a Little Gem and a Susie (which I lust after). I was offered a chance to try the Susie, which I gladly took. My first spinning on a different wheel! Luckily I didn't cak it up, and I even matched the weight of yarn that was being spun before. One of those on the stalls was the director of Majacraft! It was great to chat to her (and to not cak up in front of her). She gave me a go on the Little Gem too - I wasn't overly fond of it. The Susie is much nicer. It was really nice to spend time on their stall, and I think Mr Bee enjoyed it too.

6 - then it was on to find another spindle - a bee-youtiful one. The prettiest spindles at Woolfest were Bosworth spindles, and a number of stalls had them. P&M Woolcraft had them, but their stall was utterly packed and jammed, and it had been hard enough buying the fibre (12) from them. So we headed to the end of the room, where I'd noticed some on a slightly quieter stall - the one where Freyalyn was selling her wares. I noticed that this stall also had some Spindolyns for £20. I'm tempted by this, as I think a supported spindle might be better on my arms - a bit more like a wheel, perhaps. I was able to give it a try and I totally sucked! I was getting enough twist in, but drafted was awkward - it's a totally different angle to a normal spindle or a wheel. So I went back to the Bosworths, and chose this gorgeous purpleheart mini (I think; can't remember! It was £30). I was able to give it a try and it just spun beautifully! I can understand why they get such rave reviews! I was also pleased that I didn't suck at the spindle spinning, because I later realised that the people from whom I bought it were those teaching the 'how to use a drop spindle' workshop (Spindlers 2)!

1 - the fibre I'd used to try out the spindles was really nice, so I asked what it was: Falkland, but they didn't have any. By this time Mr Bee was getting a bit bored, so I sent him back to look at the sheep and bunnies, whilst I ran round the stalls trying to find some Falkland! I headed to Wingham Woolwork, but they didn't have any. They did have some BFL (100g for £1.80), and since I've heard such great things about BFL I decided to try that. This is what I've been using to spin with my Bosworth, and it really is lovely and soft.

4 - time was pressing on, and this was the closest I could find to Falkland - 'Falkland/Merino'. It's not clear whether it's a crossbreed, or a blend - 100g, £2, Scottish Fibres.

2 - also from Scottish Fibres, I couldn't resist this mix of blues, greys and whites, 100g, merino, £3.30.

And no fibre show report would be complete without the obligatory cute sheep shot:

And finally, a shot of where we spent the weekend. This is the back, which overlooked a river (=raging torrent; this shot was taken in one of the few interludes from the downpours) - hence the fishing imagery inside (see the cushion cover in the big shot above):

And from the front. Staying here took the edge off all the 'wool stuff' for Mr Bee, I can tell you!

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Blogger Eleanor said...

Heehee!! That blue/green skein might be one of the ones that I dyed while I was helping Jen out :-D Wish I could have gone to Woolfest and met you again!

7:59 pm  
Blogger Batty said...

Great haul! Woolfest looks like so much fun. How come all the fun stuff has been happening on the other side of the Atlantic since I moved here?

1:53 pm  
Blogger TheKnittingBee said...

Eleanor - that would be fun if it was! Nice to know that my yarn has a history ;)

Batty - I'm pretty sure MDSW might beat Woolfest! It might be one of the major UK festivals, but it'll be small cheese compared to that!

10:24 pm  

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