Monday, 27 April 2009

Wonderwool Wales 2009...

I've just about recovered from going to Wonderwool Wales at the weekend. It was really good and even Ade enjoyed it (lured along with promises of cider and vegetarian scotch eggs!). I came home with lots of ideas, lots of photos and of course, lots of fibre-related goodies!

There were sheep in attendance, as usual. My favourites were three lovely organically reared Wensleydale sheep on the Ystrad Traditional Organics stand...
Organic Wenselydale sheep
Check out that beady eye peering through a woolly fringe!

This is a close up picture of the bravest one that sat near the front of the stall for a while...
Organic Wenselydale sheep face

Here you can see a bit of the stand in the background...
Organic Wenselydale sheep and stall

There was a very funky dyed sheepskin draped on a chair (its pinky-purple and you can just see it in the background). It was gorgeous but I didn't even ask if it was for sale as I haven't got room for the Lincoln Longwool and Angora kid ones that I already own!

You can also see the brown paper bags on the table filled with lovely natural locks from the sheep. I bought a bag of the naturally-coloured brown locks but was also tempted by some beautiful grey locks (as well as the other bag of brown and the bags of natural white!).

This is what I bought home with me...
Bag of organic Wensleydale locks

Organic Wensleydale curls
Mmm... curly!

The lady on the stand was really nice and obviously very passionate about rearing the sheep organically and spreading the word about organic fibres. She is also keen to develop the naturally coloured (brown, grey and black) aspects of the Wensleydale breed.

Traditionally, coloured Wensleydale sheep were 'weeded out' to preserve the fine white fleeces the breed is famous for (although they could never be completely eradicated as some 'black sheep blood' is needed for the breed's distinctive blue-grey skin).

This selective breeding has meant that the gene pool of coloured Wensleydale sheep is small and would benefit from a programme of improvement to ensure healthy, vigorous coloured sheep. Fleeces from coloured Wensleydale sheep are beautiful and do not need dyeing (so they're good for the environment too!).

I hope that more people start to appreciate the benefits of naturally coloured fibre and that coloured Wensleydales get the appreciation they've always deserved! If you've managed to read this far and would like to find out more about the organic Wensleydales, check out the Ystrad Traditional Organics website.

A few doors up from the Wensleydale sheep were some lovely Teeswaters...
Teeswater sheep
I think the one at the back is having a cheeky snooze!

There were also some Hebridean sheep that must have been escape artists as they were wearing collars!
Hebridean sheep

There were flocks of Hebs on the nature reserve where I used to work and they were able to squeeze through some small gaps (they're only little sheep too!) so I'm sure these ones would have been out through the bars of the pen if they'd had the chance.

The Mid Wales Mouthful was on at the same time as Wonderwool so someone got to enjoy that cider he was promised...
Happy perry drinker

This particular glass (one of several!) is a Gwatkins traditional farmhouse style perry and was really tasty.

We stayed at Trericket Mill veggie B&B, which is a lovely place. I stayed there when I came to Wonderwool last year with Mum. The food is delicious and Nicky and Alistair are brilliant hosts.

Our room had a lovely veranda ouside with a wooden table and chairs and lots of pots of flowers. This one was in the middle of the table...
Trericket pansies

Ade was able to have some more cider with his evening meal and we bought home some Trericket duck eggs to try. Everyone was happy!

So, onto the stash photos...

I told myself that I wouldn't buy any hand dyed roving but I ended coming home with three braids! These two lovely Merino/tencel blends are from Fyberspates (somewhere I've bought lots from in the past, online and at events!)...
Fyberspates rovings with tags

This naturally coloured grey Shetland roving has been overdyed by hand and was from Spindlefrog's stand...
Spindlefrog Shetland roving and lavender bag

I've bought roving from Spindlefrog's Etsy shop before (some lovely overdyed Bluefaced Leicester) and it turned out that Wonderwool Wales was her first 'real life' selling event. It seemed to be going well for her though and the Spindlefrog stand looked fantastic. It was simple but effective and one of the best I saw at Wonderwool.

I couldn't resist these two half price dyed silk 'bricks' (why are they called that?!) from Oliver Twists...
Silk bricks

And this is my modest haul from the Scottish Fibres stand...
Scottish Fibres haul

The bags contain turquoise dyed Wensleydale locks and 'banana threads'! I'm not sure what the banana threads are about but I'll put them through the drumcarder with a few other things and see what happens! On the right is some dyed silk. I really wanted some dyed bamboo and soysilk but no-one seemed to be selling any. I obviously need to find out how to do my own.

I can't remember which stand I got these cones of novelty fibre from...
Cones of novelty yarn

I'm going to try and do the Pluckyfluff 'translucent mohair' thing with the white one and the sparkly one will get used to wrap a handspun yarn at some point. I'm not sure how I feel about having lots of acrylic stuff in my handspun. I'll give it a go though I suppose...

This pile of hand dyed locks and curls was from a huge basket (really huge, low and wide and big enough to lie down in - I was tempted!) on a stand that I can't remember the name of...
Pick n mix curls and locks

The locks are a mixture of breeds including various longwools and some interesting crimpy Corriedale. There was a bit of mohair in there too.

These hand dyed Leicester Longwool 'clumps' were from the same stand as the curls above...
Leicester Longwool clumps

I don't know what I'll do with them (they really are quite matted) but I like them! Ade (unwholesome individual that he is) refers to them as 'those coloured dags'.

I somehow ended up buying two peg looms (I hadn't planned to, honest!). The first is a tiny 9" one with plastic pegs from Fire and Fibre...
Tiny Fire and Fibre peg loom

It's quite a fine one and should be good for scarves and things (the two I already had are long, chunky rug-monster peg looms).

The other one I bought is a mad rustic twiggy peg loom!
Rustic peg loom

I can't remember the name of the stand it came from. It should work ok but I'll probably have it around mainly because I like the look of it! It would be cool to make a driftwood version.

I also bought a ridiculous amount of knitting needles (straight ones and DPNs) and a crochet hook, which Mum is hopefully going to show me how to use.

So that's it! Wonderwool news complete. There's lots of spinning and carding to be done now. I really need to downsize my stash and try selling a few things. It's not long till Woolfest and I'm sure I'll end up buying loads more there! Bah. It's all good fun though.


  1. Ha! I was here too! Another great day! I'd love to go to Woolfest but it's my daughter's second birthday that weekend I think it would make me officially a Very Bad Mother is I abandoned her party in favour of looking at wool.... no matter how tempted I might be!

    Lovely to 'meet' you virtually by the way - we seem to share a lot of interests - wool, sheep and real cider - the important things in life! :)

  2. loved seeing the sheep and the peg looms were enchanting. Thanks for sharing!