I know it's a bit late but I've been totally exhausted since I got back, and then driving (phew innit bloomin' hot???) so have only just got round to it.
Well Ro came up on Thursday night so we set out bright end early (ish) on Friday morning. As we drove through Halifax I said "You've not been to Coldspring Mill have you?". She replied in the negative, so we took a small detour (about a mile) and I introduced her to the bargains that were to be had there. We decided to start the weekend as we intended to go on and splashed out on some Noro that they had, some lovely Kureyon (£2.95 per ball) for Ro in green and a GORGEOUS berry shaded ball
and two balls of Kureyon in shades of blue for me and five of skeins of Kabuto in a fiery orangey red (£2.50 per skein) which is a mix of wool silk alpaca and cashmere. We both want to make teeny tiny felted totes from the Kureyon 'cos the one I gave away was so LOVELY, and I fancy a simple T shirt or vest top in the Kabuto.
Having got into the spirit of the weekend we continued on our way. We stopped in Kirkby Lonsdale for lunch and a bit of a wander round then continued on our way taking a detour via Windermere to visit the Lakeland Plastics shop. The building is very spectacular and has a grass roof but we decided that we were about twenty years too young to fully appreciate their wares if the rest of the punters were anything to go by (sorry to any Lakeland Plastics shoppers out there!).
We arrived at our hotel (ashamed to say we never even CONSIDERED camping, last time I camped I was at college. I went to a motorcycle rally in February in County Durham with the college motorcycle club and it SNOWED. I have never been more cold wet and miserable in my life!).
The hotel looks FAR posher than it actually was, but it was pretty nice. We didn't risk eating there though (candied kumquats as part of a main course? I think NOT!). We went to Whitehaven and found a place on the Waterfront called (unsurprisingly) The Waterfront where we had a very nice meal (sorry Ro has the pictures of that, the place not the food, that would be too weird).
Saturday we did Woolfest (okay I know, this is the bit you've been waiting for). We started off badly by going to the wrong place (The sheep and wool centre) which is just over the road from the right place. Couldn't work out why there was no-one there. Then we twigged and went to the right place. That was more like it, hundreds of eager textile addicts eager to get through the doors. (Alas, no pictures of this as by then I was a little overexcited). I spotted Purlpower in the queue but once inside had to rush off to the loo but was determined to catch up with her later.
Ro and I were VERY well organised, deciding that we'd do the rounds, spot what we wanted and go back at the end to do our shopping. This way we wouldn't have to lug loads of stuff round with us. Unfortunately the flaw in this system revealed itself when we came to "going back to buy stuff" as we knew what we wanted to buy, but couldn't remember where we'd seen it. This meant that we had to go all round a second time trying to find the right stalls!!!!!
That being said I didn't take many pictures of the actual stalls. I have pictures of the various sheep and some great ones of a woman shearing a sheep for the first time with some help from a professional shearer (also a woman). I've never seen two women playing Twister with a sheep, but I would imagine that there are strong similarities!
For some reason the largest contingent of men at the festival appeared to be at the sheep shearing demonstration. Can't understand why, must be all that bending over!
Everyone at the show as so keen to talk about what they were up to and why they were there, which was really nice.
Ro bought a sheepskin from a woman who had shetland sheep and it was the most beautiful caramel colour. The variety of shades of wool are incredible as we saw on the stand devoted to natural coloured wool from various types of sheep (I can't remember what the stand was called).
I actually bought very little yarn, though I did buy some slubby cotton/linen which caught my eye. I quite liked the lilac colour but Ro said she "liked me in stronger colours" so I bought the red. It wasn't till I got back to the hotel that I realised how similar it was to the "Kabuto" I'd bought on Friday. Never mind, can't have too much of a good thing, and it's completely different fibre if a scarily similar colour. I did get a drop spindle though, after agonising over which sort to get 'cos there were so many beautiful ones there made out of the most lovely types of wood, finally decided to be pragmatic and get a complete kit with a bog standard (I say that but it's not made of ply wood and it's hand turned) spindle, some blue faced leicester and black welsh mountain tops and most importantly INSTRUCTIONS!
I also bought a hand dying starter kit (deluxe version) 'cos I enjoyed the kool aid dying so much. Again I was torn between going for Procion dyes or natural dyes. I love the idea of natural dyes and I was so impressed with the variety of colour possible with them, but I felt in the end that it would be better to start with something simple and then I can branch out into natural dying if I really take to it.
I DID manage to catch Purlpower and her friend Emily, who was resting at the time so unable to escape and she showed me the stuff she'd bought (couldn't find where you got that Lopi so had to come home without it, never mind). And I accosted Woolywormhead too but failed to spot Akrylic though I looked out for her Britknitcast T shirt.
I was going to buy some banana fibre from knitting4fun, but decided that I'd wait and get some later (they have a web site and free postage on orders over a certain weight so I can get it any time). I know, restraint or what? I'm afraid I haven't taken pictures of my purchases as most of them are just brown paper bags with kits in so aren't very exciting to look at. I'm making up for it with pictures of other stuff from the weekend.
Ro and I were both impressed to pass through this village on the way from our hotel to Cockermouth and had to take a picture of Rose next to the sign.
We also felt that we should take Rose to the seaside as she's never been before, so we took her to Allonby Bay and let her look at Scotland. She enjoyed that!
We came back on Sunday via Grassmere and Settle (the first for coffee, the second for lunch). It was a lovely weekend and I want to go again next year but I'd like to spend longer up there and see other stuff too.