Well, I was quite good. I’m amazed, actually – I know I have zero willpower, but I actually managed not to bankrupt myself.
And despite all this yumminess. So how?
Possibly because I’ve Wonderwooled now for four years, so I wasn’t blown away by everything [just most things, ed].
Possibly because I was astonishingly cold, despite fluffy jumper, insulating T-shirt, big scarf, warmly lined boots, thick socks.
Possibly because it was very difficult to get a cup of coffee as the queues were so long. No, seriously – that’s the point at which I do a little metaphorical triage of my purchases and think ‘Hmm, haven’t spent that much, really, and there was some lovely turquoise laceweight on XX’s stand, I’ll just pop back and…’ And it was too cold and horrible to sit outside and do the same thing.
But I did manage to fall in love.
With the Gotlands on Well Manor Farm’s stand.
The fleece was just beautiful, even the commercially washed bags (and commercial washing can make Gotland a little dry according to the bible, aka The Fleece and Fibre Handbook). The lustre, the silkiness – sigh – and I do hope my spinning is up to it. I’m not in the slightest bit surprised that New Zealand Gotland wool was used to make the ethereally light elven cloaks for the Lord of the Rings films.
And away from livestock, I also fell in love with this:
It’s a Louet Julia, and I think it’s the wheel I really need. It’s collapsible, if not specifically portable, but I don’t think it would need to be pulled apart and reassembled to fit easily in the car. And it’s light enough to be easily handled while also being heavy enough to spin nicely. Plus it comes from Holland and that’s a lot more sustainable than buying a New Zealand wheel (Majacraft, I’m talking about you – yes, I’d love a Little Gem, but when even some of your suppliers are describing your wheels as ‘ludicrously overpriced’, you know you need to come to your senses).
Of course, when it comes to wheels, I was briefly tempted by this one:
It would certainly attract the crowds on Spinning in Public day. But I don’t think the National Wool Museum could be persuaded to part with it, and anyway I’m supposed to be looking for something I can get in the car, and if I think I have problems with my Brian, they’d be nothing compared to this baby.
And then I almost bought a sheep, though not one which would cause the coach driver to throw me off the bus
(felted Herdwicks on the Wool Clip stand).
However, I thought I could spend the money on yarn instead.
Yarn like this, perhaps, dangling around in a tempting fashion on Oliver Twist’s?
Predictably, I was very tempted by the shades of peacock / jade / turquoise.
I seemed to be zooming in on those all over the show, but in the end I didn’t buy any of them, though I was quite tempted by pastels (or maybe I was tempted by Natural Dye’s woollipop). Pastels aren’t really my thing, but their pastels are delicious.
It helped that some stalls were so busy that I couldn’t get on them, of course. I think it was busier than ever – though the weather could have created a false impression, as people were effectively trapped in the halls.
I spent a long time wandering around (it was warmer if you kept moving, brrrrr), just soaking up the atmosphere and admiring other people’s strategies for keeping frostbite at bay.
I didn’t spend long at the Sheepwalk, where moving fast was obviously catching,
but I did spend a long time ummming and arrrring about what colours to go for. I’m not sure what happened – I seemed to have lost my colour confidence for the day. Or maybe I was just overwhelmed; I’m not sure. I am sure that next year I need to be there for both days. I suppose that had to happen eventually…
I spent a lot of time bumping into people, catching up, chatting and admiring their purchases, and before I knew it one of my fellow travellers was beside me saying ‘The coach is back, and he’s got the heating on!’, and we were off:
back on our way, up over the hills and up and over the pass to home (where, incidentally, it had been sunny and comparatively warm all day). Grr.
And the successes? Well, the whole day, despite the cold. My select purchases, of which more later. The coach – it was so wonderful not having to drive. It’s not so much the journey there which is the killer when you’re one of the drivers, it’s the journey back when everyone in your car is giggling and laughing and comparing scrumptious fluff and you’re watching the road and avoiding pheasants / sheep / motorbikes.
And I did have a major success: I got to the scotch egg stand before they sold out. Phew.