Oh dear, dear, dear…. wonderwooliness, part 1

Well, I was quite good. I’m amazed, actually – I know I have zero willpower, but I actually managed not to bankrupt myself.

Astonishing. How?

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.


16 thoughts on “Oh dear, dear, dear…. wonderwooliness, part 1

  1. madewithloops

    Seems that despite the yucky weather you still had a good time. Love the Gotland too…such lovely yarn. Can’t wait to see your purchases in Part 2. I gave it a miss this year as going to Woolfest and both is just too much for my stash to cope with 😉

    1. kate Post author

      Don’t hold your breath on the purchases front, because I didn’t buy very much – and I’ve eaten the scotch eggs. And the patisserie. And the smoked seeds. Diet? Quoi? Moi? Mais non!

  2. CityofLeedsRose

    Obviously you did better than me! They had sold out of Scotch eggs by the time I got there:D LOL!!! 😀
    Yes it was FREEZING!!! But as you said it was good to catch up with folks! I’ll be blogging later about my goodies too!

    1. kate Post author

      I think it would take quite a lot to put me off Wonderwool, but not getting scotch eggs might just do it (and missing out on Love Patisserie’s treacle and ginger tarts would come a close second)…

  3. del

    It sounds wonderful, even though it was so cold! I probably would’ve gone into serious debt…those wheels, oh my. So glad you were able to go, and I agree, not playing driver is the best.

    1. kate Post author

      It was lovely, but it’s probably just as well it was freezing… I’d have spent a fortune if I’d been more comfortable!

  4. knitsofacto

    I missed you! Should have thought to arrange a Hi moment in advance. But I did buy wool 😀
    I’m gonna’ link here from my blog if that’s okay … can you believe my camera failed on me and I have no pics from the show!

    1. kate Post author

      Woollllllll, ooooo. Ah well, we’d probably have been too busy shivering to say anything sensible!

      Yes, of course, please link – what a pain for you… I only remembered I’d got my camera after a couple of hours, but I’m very glad I took it. Loved that Natural Dye woollipop.

  5. Lydia

    Wonderful to read about your adventures at the weekend… I know I would be totally overwhelmed to see real fleece, real yarn, real people, real sheep, real colours instead of gazing vicariously at a computer screen. One day, I will be Over There to go myself.. the crowds would be a bit daunting – perhaps I would take a snack pack …. danger of migraine if I do not eat! I suspect my colour sense would disappear completely too…… as it was so cold for you all I wonder if all the chunky yarns sold out!

    1. kate Post author

      Oh, it is amazing – cold or no cold. It did get very busy in the middle of the day, which is normally when I’d meet my homies (otherwise known as the knit and natter group), go and sit outside and have a picnic lunch. Carrying chocolate bars is a good idea too. Anyway. All the time.

      One of the stallholders was spotted wearing skeins as a neckwarmer!

  6. Annie

    Despite the cold you still seemed to enjoy it as I am sure I would have 🙂 Told you the Julia was a nice wheel and far more sensibly priced BUT I still love my Majacrafts 😉 Although I wouldn’t pay today’s prices !!!!! Wheels have gone a ridiculous price even the bog standard Ashfords

    1. kate Post author

      Had to be virtually scraped off the Julia – whatever fibre Mr Thomas Shop was spinning with was pretty good too… I’m not being rude about Majacrafts (if you ever decide your Little Gem is horrible, throw it in my direction), just about their prices. Silly. Mind you, Schacht make them look almost sensible.

      Saw a wheel outside an antique shop in Machynlleth, looked like a flax wheel and in good condition as far as I could see. Couldn’t stop as was on way to funeral – it seemed unwise, despite urging from my crafty passengers – and shop was closed when I was coming back. But bigger than mine anyway.

  7. Guzzisue

    shame it was sooo cold, shame we had only one day as met so many lovely people that I hadn’t see in ages that I really didn’t get to see all the show. Hope to be back for the usual full weekend next year:-) as for purchases….well not spent up but a couple of kilo of fibre !!

    1. kate Post author

      Snap – definitely need two days next year. Amazed I spent well below budget, but could be because I was too busy nattering / shivering. Both would be addressed by two days…

      I don’t know why I’m persuading myself into it; I’ve made up my mind. Now to find a B&B for us… camping? Noooooo!

  8. Sylvia Coleman

    Unfortunately we could not make it this Year but we will be there in 2013 travelling all the way from Germany just to see this wonderful Event and to spent some time with the Family in the UK.

    1. kate Post author

      It should be a good one (probably all the best for anticipating it, too). We’ve decided to stay over next year, for the first time. I’m hoping it will mean an end to those panicky last-minute ‘if I don’t buy something now I’ll miss out’ purchases.

      I may be wrong on that….


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