On not going to Wonderwool

Last weekend was Wonderwool Wales and this year, after much internal (and external – sorry, everyone) debate, I didn’t go. Probably just as well, as I wasn’t too well, but – sigh… I’ve been a lot, and I do love WW:


with one exception, which was last year. Ergh. Yes, I love it – when it’s good, when I don’t freeze despite wearing 85 wooly layers and when I can get an espresso when I need one, which means frequently. And of course memory is selective, which is why I spent some time deliberately reminding myself of the downside to WW.

The Saturday was the bad day for us Wonderwool refusniks, though – as one of my otherwise-occupied friends pointed out – we were saving a lot of money by not being there. But I was feeling OKish, the weather was glorious and the financial advantages of WW avoidance didn’t seem quite so important. In fact, it was just perfect for sitting outside the halls, going through purchases with friends while nibbling lightly on one of Love Patisserie’s delicious treacle tarts. And I was missing out on the best Scotch eggs in the world, let alone all that fibre.

beach walk

So I took myself off for a consoling walk – along the seafront at Barmouth, which I don’t usually visit for walking, just for shopping – and realised it wasn’t quite warm enough. Brrr. Coooold wind. That made me feel a little less nostaligic (is that the right word?) for what I imagined was happening down at Builth Wells.

I thought I would capitalise on that feeling and got out my stash when I came home, spreading fluff out,


(which gave me the opportunity of updating the mothball situation), sorting through the containers and even delving to the bottom of the Laundry Basket of Doom, which is below the bottom basket:

stash 3

I really do not need to add anything whatsoever to the stash, nor to the library, nor to the collection of woolly miscellanea: no need for more needles, more stitch holders, more bits and pieces. No need, really, for anything.

That made me feel a bit better too, and then I remembered that this weekend there was a plant fair at Crug Farm Plants, and I could always indulge myself there if I wanted a little specialist retail therapy (Barmouth Co-op doesn’t qualify) – and I can still garden, a bit, even if I can’t look down for long enough to knit and follow a pattern. I’ve been improvising with a music stand, but I still have to look at my knitting from time to time; I can’t do it all by touch. On the other hand, I can look down for long enough to read a plant label, trowel a hole and pop something in to a flowerbed.

And then my friends returned, singing the praises of staying overnight and doing both days (avoids, apparently, the last-minute panic that makes you buy a cone of something which, though lovely, is nonetheless in a colour which makes you look like a corpse). They brought me goodies: some buttons shaped like sheep and some like balls of wool, a porcupine quill for carefully detaching fluff from a carder. I really wish I’d gone.

Or do I?


This was the result of the plant fair. They’re not all mine, I swear it, but if I’d Wonderwooled, I’d have felt guilty. And, as I say, I can at least garden… wonder what all the other WW avoiders did? Mope, like me, for a day? Or cheer up and spend packets on plants?


18 thoughts on “On not going to Wonderwool

  1. knitsofacto

    I went. It wasn’t cold this year. I ate a veggie Scotch egg, anda treacle tart. Bought a few balls of yarn. And thought, yet again, Woolfest is so much better!

    See you there?

    1. kate Post author

      Agh – treacle tart AND scotch egg!! Not listening, not listening!

      I thought you’d made up your mind not to go to WW, so I was a bit surprised to see you had been, ho ho, ;-). I will make Woolfest but not this year, I suspect. Next year – I’m saving the £2 coins already. And there’s Masham sheep fair and any number of other woolly festivals…

    1. kate Post author

      Ah, that’s a question. A scotch egg can be either sublime or disgusting, and the latter can apply whether you’re vegetarian or not. In its ‘pure’ or classic form it’s a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, deep fried and usually served cold. When they’re made with good ingredients, they’re great; when they’re not: ergh squared.

      But the stall at WW sells scotch eggs that are beyond describing. Health food, essentially. Really.

  2. Liz

    I also made a decision not to go to WW as we were only just back from a trip to Australia and jet-lagged. I have enough stash to keep me going for a few decades & nothing I needed to get (unlike last year). I did however, miss the gluten free scotch eggs & the florentines from the patisserie. Not the healthiest lunch, but delicious! My freezing experience last year did slightly influence my decision not to go, maybe next year I’ll feel more able to cope. I have been looking to see if I could fit in Woolfest (it’s the middle weekend of our 2 week holiday in Northumberland) but logistically it’s not possible, so my sister (another yarn lover) & I will have to make do with our usual wool shops, which we have discovered over the years & hopefully a visit to Woolfish in St Abbs – the owner has a stall at WW each year.

    1. kate Post author

      Another wise woman! And given the sheer number of us who buy Scotch eggs and eat half of Love Patisserie’s stall, I’m amazed they don’t bring giant trailers for their stock, you know, huge Scanias, Eddie Stobart-style wagons…

      I think I’ll brace myself for next year, whatever. One of my friends hardly bought anything but had a great time nonetheless – people watching, people meeting, just hanging out. She made me think that I might be able to do it whatever the state of the stash, unlike another person who spent over £15 on buttons alone… (you know who you are, button queen!)

      I bought some yarn from Woolfish a couple of years ago. Unlike much of my WW purchasing, that’s actually been knitted up. Very nice.

  3. islandthreads

    definately aprove the garden purchases, perhaps your friends should have brought you back a scotch egg or 2, I haven’t had one for years but do remember making them in cookery class at school, in the sixties they were a must for the summer picnic salad, take care, Frances

    1. kate Post author

      I have a feeling that any Scotch egg would have been eaten before they even left the showground! I’ve never made one, and I’m probably unlikely ever to do so as it involves deep-frying, wihch I think is scary. I’ll stick to buying them…

  4. ohdebs

    First of all I love the word “refusniks”! I will have to steal that one from you. So sorry you couldn’t go to WW. It sounds *wonderful* and to my knowledge we have nothing even close to it in San Diego 😐 But plants are good too. Which reminds me that we need to fire up the ol’ weed-whacker. But I would much rather spin, knit or paint.

    Feel better Kate. xo

    1. kate Post author

      You definitely need a yarn fair – preferably within 2 hours drive or closer (I’d like to be able to nip home, I must admit, just to check I’d not bought exactly the same colour as I always do)…

  5. sarahbutters

    I went for the first time. Came over from Suffolk Fri til Mon. Thankfully was prepared for the temp difference, there are leaves on the trees in Suffolk. Got accidentally locked out of B and B room on Sunday night. Spent half a weeks wages. Loved meeting the people that I know from the net. Not so keen on queueing for a cuppa. Can’t people just settle for filter coffee on these occasions? Is the closest I will ever come to Christmas shopping at Bluewater. I loved it but will be a few years before I need to go back!

    1. kate Post author

      Leaves? Pah. Soft. Still not many here…

      Glad you had a good time, but in some ways also glad that the refreshment grumble is still happening – knew I was right to stay at home where I can get coffee when I want one (sort of)…

      1. sarahbutters

        The refreshments would have been fine if they hadn’t insisted on using those fancy coffee machines. One guy was even grinding the beans. The same happened at Kew the other week, us tea drinkers got to jump about 10 in the queue and sit down 10 minutes before those wanting skinny mocha cappo-lattes.

        1. kate Post author

          How irritating – why do they bother? If they can’t serve people quickly, what’s the point? I have to say that if the fabulous Cafe Italia can crack out the best coffee in the world really quickly, then some scrappy wagon ought to be able to do it. Grr.

  6. Lydia

    To go or not to go….. well, I have never been to any sort of wool festival, there quite simply are none over here where I live. I think a weekend of gardening and sorting through all those absolutely beautiful fibres that you have sounds like bliss! Hope those westerly winds blow good health your way……

    1. kate Post author

      They’ve grown and grown over here, so it’s probably only a matter of time before someone makes the lots of sheep + lots of knitters = earning opportunity connection. The first ones here (not the big craft shows) started with sheep sales / shows…

      Thanks for good health wishes, I hope so too!

    1. kate Post author

      I do know people with more. Honest. Mine is complicated by fibre, though, and I have managed to stop buying… ish…


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