Yesterday was my fourth Wonderwool Wales, and one of the best ever. The weather was fab – sunny and mild – and the company was great; the stalls were overflowing with irresistible goodies and I kept bumping into friends. What more could you wish for?
(Well, limitless resources and a second visit, but hey.)
I mean, what can you do when confronted with stalls like these?
You just have to visit. And then you realise that there are another 159 or so to go.
I went for being systematic this year – I’ve managed to miss whole aisles in the past – but my good intentions soon faded and I started drifting onto stalls which encouraged me to try new things, such as using prefelting:
There were quite a lot of felting stalls this year, and some amazing Finnish felters.
Another stall I’d not visited before was one which concentrated on silk. Well, I’d visited it, stroked the silks, drooled a little and passed on because I didn’t spin. But now I do, plus I had an
excuse to buy from this one: there’s a silk spinning workshop later this year, so I had to get some tops. As you do.
I spent some time being tempted by yarn – I wasn’t buying yarn, of course – and resisting. On the John Arbon stand (where I have usually succumbed in the past) I managed to hold out, though I’m not quite sure how I managed to resist their gradations in colour saturation:
It was probably because I was distracted by their alpaca tops. I bought 300g of the most beeeauuutiful black alpaca, which is currently shedding all over my carpet. But I don’t care.
I also bought an old Interweave I missed, some vintage buttons, two Scotch eggs – there are a couple of food stalls, by popular request – 500g of alum for a mordant, some new bobbins, a flick carder, a wpi measure… and I have a confession. I’d not been in the halls for five minutes before I bought a fleece. Since pictures of fleece aren’t very entertaining, here’s one of the owners (well, not of my specific fleece, but you know what I mean):
And they are very entertaining indeed (well, if you’re into sheep, that is – but I’m not alone; they recently starred on the BBC’s Lambing Live). The Manx Loaghtan is a primitive breed from the Isle of Man; most have four horns, as here, but some have six. Maybe they appeal because of the inevitable lure of ancient breeds, but I also love the natural warm brown colour of the wool (‘loaghtan’ comes from the Manx lugh dhoan, which means mouse brown), so it’s probably not that surprising that I weakened so quickly. This particular sheep was one of several at the show – there were fewer sheep than last year, because this year’s dates coincided with lambing – and was later a very well-behaved star of the Sheepwalk, the wooly fashion show held each day.
All right. I admit it. I did buy yarn.
Well, I bought two 500g cones of fine cotton – 6 ply, so the equivalent of Rowan’s Cotton Glace – in a beautiful apple green. And a huge 500g skein of undyed 4 ply for use in dyeing experiments (I’m just starting). I know, I know, it’s still yarn. But I think I was quite restrained, considering. Even If we did have an 80-mile drive home over the hills accompanied by the – um – rather definite smell of fleece.
No buttons in this pic, because I’d mislaid them; no fleece, because it’s in the shed until I scour it; no Scotch eggs, because they’ve been eaten. And now I start saving for next year!