Sunday, May 03, 2009

Wonderwool 2009

Captain's Log: 25 April 2009
Location: The Royal Welsh Showgrounds, Builth Wells - a place cleverly designed to be hidden to outsiders by being approachable only down increasingly narrow and twisty lanes. With sheep on them. Actually, we didn't mind the sheep.
Occasion: Respite from the outside world, a trip out the house, or as H put it: "time to find people that are as crazy as you!". I think he meant crazy about knitting!

My 2009 wool show resolution (what? doesn't everyone have one) was to go to a show with actually animals this year; which narrowed it down to Woolfest and Wonderwool. Wonderwool is (a) nearer and (b) coincides with the Mid Wales Mouthful food festival which was a distinct selling point when pitching the idea to H - somehow, come and watch me shop for yarn for a day just doesn't quite swing it.

The original plan was that H would drive, giving me a good 2 hours knitting time each way, but alas he spiked that plan so I bravely got behind the wheel with the world second-worst passenger sat beside me and set off in the pouring rain.

Two and a half hours later, and in need of restoration by wool fumes, we arrived
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The showgrounds at Builth Wells have a wonderful feeling of being hidden in a hollow of hills, tucked into the palm of a giant green hand, and as we arrived, the clouds had scudded away and it was bright and sunny, if a touch breezy.

The show itself was set up in one of the long sheds, away from the main parade ring, with foody things at one end and yarn all the rest of the way down.

And, most importantly, yarn in it's natural state:
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We saw Angora Bunnies (one of which was very camera shy), from Easter Bunnies and Crafty Angoras;

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Teeswater Sheep - who have wonderful crinkly dreadlocks - from Teeswater Wools
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Wensleydale Sheep, who are not quite as crinkly as the Teeswater, but almost;
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Alpacas from Black Mountain Alpacas, who kept giving each other kisses, but never when I had the camera out, or pointed at them; and
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Hebridean sheep
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From the Hebridean Sheep Society - who just happened to be selling some of this wonderful rusty black fleece that may perhaps have come home with me! But more on that later.

A little shopping later - well it had been a long car journey so I required quite some reviving - it was time for the woolwalk, a chance for some of the exhibitors to show us their favourite things:
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A handwoven blanket in colours that I adore;
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Incredible freeform crochet
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Beautiful colours - I think this is all hemp
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The best hat seen all day - and there were some good rivals including these girlsApril 169
Raggedy & Wench. And finally, no wool festival would be complete without ...
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a Tiger!!

Lest you fear that I merely abducted my husband and held him ransom to yarn the whole day, we did spend much time appreciating the joys of the Mid Wales Mouthful, including what was possibly the nicest hog roast that I have ever had for lunch.

The cookery demonstration area was great for sitting down and having a breather in the middle of the day, and we learnt how to cook lamb wrapped in Camarthern ham (like Palma ham but from Camarthern) which was delicious, and later on we saw a butchery demonstration, and won a little joint of lamb noisettes in the raffle.

I also have the nicest cheese ever:
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Cheddar with whisky and ginger - I swear it melts in the mouth; it's pure cheesy heaven.

And to round off the day of pure indulgence - we had raspberry pavlova ice cream:
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In cones with dragons on them - how brilliant is that!

It was a wonderful day, not too big, not too crowded that you couldn't take the time to stop and look at the stands and chat to the exhibitors and answer the inevitable question of just what H had been doing to himself (answers ranging from having been bitten by a very tiny shark, to too much knitting, which had a few people worried)
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Oh yes, and we did a little shopping along the way! For all H claiming that he was going to a wool festival under protest, we appear to have come home with just as much sock yarn for him as for me! On the left is my stash, and on the right is his!

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I have three skeins of Artist Palette Yarns because having finished the Socktopus club socks I am totally nuts about it, and the bottom one is Malabrigo sock yarn in Lettuce - so soft it's untrue.

H has a wonderful red that I've lost the label to, a skein of Artist Palette Yarns' Sweet Feet, a skein of Malabrigo in Stone Chat and the wonderful Rainbow skein at the bottom!

We were just as fair with the fibre:

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I have the Peacock in the back left and the yellow and peach in the front, and H has the purple and the blue/green - I'm going to be busy for quite some time to come!

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