The wonder of wool

Yesterday I went on an adventure with Kate … over the mountains to Builth Wells and the magical land of Wonderwool.

Kate helped me to get to grips with crochet on a course last year and, since then, I haven’t looked back. It seemed very appropriate, therefore, for us to go to a festival of wool together. The most direct route between Kate’s house and Builth Wells involves a 20-mile stretch along a single track road over the mountains, complete with hair pin bends, plummeting drops and tiny bridges:

The road's so small it barely appears on the map!

The road’s so small it barely appears on the map!

We were quite surprised, therefore, to meet an articulated lorry part way! Fortunately for us, he had clearly decided that he’d made a mistake and had pulled in to one of the very few places it was possible to pass such a large vehicle – a forestry track where, with some manoeuvering, he could turn around. He wasn’t still there when we came back, so clearly he’d managed it.

We got to Builth and the Royal Welsh showground without further incident but ill-prepared for the woolly assault on our senses. There was just so much to see and so many stalls. We spent at least the first hour wandering around, stroking things and saying ‘wow’ before we were able to pull ourselves together enough to sit down with a coffee and formulate a plan. This was quite difficult, because all the stands were so mixed up that it was not possible, for example, easily to compare all those selling alpaca yarn without walking about 15 miles back and forth. However, part of the reason for going was inspiration and there was certainly plenty of that… from felt quilling to interesting bags, from a dragon to an autumn woodland, as well as yarns in every colour and gauge. Not to mention a few of the most important contributors: sheep and alpacas!

Wonderwool Wales 2014

Wonderwool Wales 2014

So, I know you’re itching to know what I bought! Well, I was quite restrained and only purchased a hand-carved lucet, a ball of yarn to knit socks for Mr Snail-of-happiness and a piece of hand-dyed cotton scrim to use for nuno felting:

Yarn, scrim and lucet

Yarn, scrim and lucet

And then, I wanted some yarn to make a Bavarian crochet blanket (in the style of Teddy and Tottie). This is what I bought:

Yarn for my Bavarian crochet

Yarn for my Bavarian crochet

I fell in love with this yarn for several reasons: it’s amazingly soft (a mix of alpaca, Blue-faced Leicester and Wensleydale wool), it comes from Yorkshire and all the yarn colours are named after places I knew as a child because that’s where I grew up. The three I chose are: Eccup (the reservoir a mile from my old family home), Filey (a seaside town we used to go to for the day in summer) and Bramley Baths (well, we used to go swimming at Meanwood Baths, but close enough!). I also love the company name… and the fact that the yarn came with a lovely cotton bag. It wasn’t cheap yarn and so it’s going to be quite a luxurious blanket, but I’m really looking forward to working with it. I was unsure about which colours to choose and dithered a lot about ‘Filey’ because it’s not a colour I would wear, but (as Kate pointed out), I’m not going to wear my blanket, am I?

Now, I think I was quite restrained, don’t you?

 

 

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24 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed the day. And I’ve managed to spin half the alpaca fleece I brought and the silk off cut! They shall soon be combined to make my own (lumpy) wool. I’m thinking a scarf as the wool isn’t going to be very even… πŸ™‚

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    • That’s great… I realised I should have photographed Lucy the Tudor teaching you to spin, but I was so intrigued I didn’t think of it! Looking forward to seeing a finished product!

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  2. I looked up lucet. That’s a fascinating thing! It looks really useful.

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  3. Wow! That all looks so amazing! I’d say you were restrained, indeed…and you made some beautiful choices. I’m just gonna go be jealous all over the place now. πŸ˜‰

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    • I would probably have been less restrained if there had been less there, but it was rather overwhelming! There is one thing I wish I’d bought – a big yarn basket – but I think I can remember the company who sells them, so I can probably order one online πŸ™‚

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  4. You were incredibly restrained considering the temptations before you. The dragon looked amazing trouble is I’d never get it in here.
    You have to show us the finished socks in that amazing mix of colours.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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  5. You’re a stronger woman than I Jan – there’s no way I could have come away with only the few things you did! Mind you, such lovely things are worth it, aren’t they? πŸ™‚
    I can’t wait to see that wool made up into a lush blanket πŸ™‚

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  6. Lovely yarn, lovely lucet. And I’m deeply jealous of your visit. This isn’t sheep country and I doubt we’d ever get anything like that here. Maybe further south, where the weather’s cool enough for sheep. I can see that it’s been a weekend of restraint all round. I’m now slightlly wishing I’d bought more of the Cleckheaton Ocean and Volcano… too late!

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    • Mmm – I am regretting not buying the lovely yarn basket I liked, especially now I’ve discovered that the folks who were selling them don’t have a web site. Ah well… something to look forward to in the future πŸ™‚

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  7. What a lovely post. Yes I think you were very restrained! I look forward to seeing your blanket. πŸ˜€

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  8. Okay, I will ask (because I am too lazy to look it up!) what is a lucet used for? It looks beautifully smooth and tactile. The wool for the Bavarian blanket is wonderful. I think you have chosen the colour well, and how fabulous that the names have a resonance too. Enjoy!

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    • A lucet is used for making cords – it’s a bit like a French knitting dolly, but with only two ‘prongs’. I was really drawn to the one I bought because it’s so tactile… I don’t need many cords really!

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  9. Thanks so much for the mention! I really love the colours you’ve chosen for your Bavarian beauty – and with the names of the wool having such meaning to you – and beautiful alpaca involved – the end result will be something to cherish. It was a treat to join you and Kate on your woolly day out (over the seas and Net!) Many thanks. xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

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    • Wouldn’t it have been lovely to all have had a day out together? Never mind, at least we can share on line… I just wish you could handle the yarn – it’s so soft! I spent ages choosing the colours as there were so many nice ones. It’s a fine yarn, but should be lovely to work up. Thank you for the inspiration and tutorial!

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  10. I adore that dragon and Mr snail-of-happiness is going to be the envy of all of his mates with the results of that gorgeous wool. Oh what SCRUMPTIOUS wool you have Ms Snail! OH how happy you must be with that gorgeous haul and oh how pretty that wonderful Teddy/Tottie bavarian is going to be and I, too, love that it all came packaged in a delicious cotton bag :).

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