That is, indeed, the question.
I have a dilemma. Wonderwool Wales is wonderful. But sometimes it isn’t quite so wonderful, and I don’t know what to do about this year. I have to make up my mind soon, and I think I know which way I’m tending…
This is my dilemma in more detail, in the hope that spelling it out might help me determine what to do. In the autumn a few of us decided we’d like to go to both the Saturday and the Sunday this year, and a provisional booking has been made at a B&B convenient for the showground. We now need to pay up, which means I need to decide if I’m going – or if I’m not. And I honestly can’t make up my mind.
Firstly, the reasons why I might not go.
Although my health is now well on the way to full recovery, it’s still a bit fragile. I’m trying to put that to one side, though, as a lot can change between now and the end of April. Next, last year’s Wonderwool was problematic. It was freezing, and not just cold, but bone-chillingly, mind-numbingly, purse-clenchingly, freezing. I know that’s out of anybody’s control (and if it is down to anyone reading this, kindly ensure no repeats for this year, thank you), but the catering situation was dire. Cold weather equals a need for hot drinks, unfortunately, and the catering stands were utterly overwhelmed. A friend and I waited in shifts for coffee and a cake – we couldn’t face the long queues outside for hot food, and couldn’t get anywhere near more filling inside options – and it took us over 45 minutes. Frustrating and exasperating.
Then I feel that the show may be getting a little unbalanced. I’ve been for loads of years now (I missed the very first one, but that’s all). There really are a lot of indie dyers, and it seems to me that every year there are more and more. Now, many of my friends are indie dyers, and I dearly love a luxury single skein, but I’d like to see more variety, more stalls where you can buy enough for a garment without either breaking the bank or dealing with colour matching problems. There are a few, and they are almost always mobbed, so I’m evidently not the only one who feels this way.
Plus, of course, there’s the fact that I have the willpower of a maggot. My stash isn’t enormous by comparison to some, but nonetheless I’ve had stash problems (some yarn has been in my stash so long that it’s rotted, possibly due to conditions while all my stuff was in storage a few years ago), and really need do to knit up what I’ve got. I have just discovered some alpaca, for instance, that I bought at WW four years ago. How on earth can I justify going and possibly buying more? Given that I won’t be able to resist?
I mean, who could?
And there’s the expense factor in addition to the maggot-willpower factor: travel, the B&B, two days’ entry, plus all the general stuff I’ll just have to buy.
Positives? Well, the reverse side of all of the above. It will be life-affirming. It might not be cold. I might be able to get something to drink, something to eat and manage to find somewhere to sit down with my friends. There might be new and different stalls (and I don’t mean more people selling things which aren’t really remotely wooly or related to craft). I might be able to resist buying enough stash to soak up the Irish Sea, and I might win the lottery.
Then there’s the craic factor. The people, from the minute the doors open (which is when you stand the best chance of investigating things like which spinning wheel suits you the most).
People you haven’t seen for ages. People you’ve only spoken to on the phone or have only met in the virtual world. People you last saw two hours ago in the car but who have bought lots of exciting things since at stalls you somehow seem to have missed, and who can point you in their direction. People who can help with wooly problems, whether spinny, knitty or sheepy. People whose enthusiasm for what they do or sell carries right over and inspires you too.
There’s the rich variety of stalls (no, not those selling handbags). They can point you in all sorts of directions, make you consider – perhaps – more dyeing experiments, or working with different materials.
I suppose it’s the inspiration factor. Colour, colour, colour and more colour. Textures. Natural fleece colours. Alpaca in all its variants. Silk – and what silk. More unusual things like bamboo, hemp, milk protein. Buttons: contemporary, vintage, ceramic, bakelite, bone, pearl… Books, books current and books out of print; back issues of US magazines…
Option 1: go, and stay over, and de’il tak the hindmost.
Option 2: give it a miss this year and come to it fresh in 2014…
and maybe, just maybe, there’s an
Option 3: go for one day, on the Sunday, with other friends who aren’t intending to stay over.