I was pondering an interesting question the other day. What is so joyful about attending wool shows? I had been planning on exhibiting at a wide range of shows this year, but was stopped in my tracks by a critical health issue. I was desperate to go to The Wool Monty because it was a new show, and was conveniently within a comfortable driving distance. The reason that I couldn’t attend? My hubby was running in the new Nottingham 10k and I wanted to support him.
The mixed emotions of being pulled in both directions prompted me to focus on why I wanted to go.
The concept of “need” is often discussed in our home. I now even challenge myself with it. I have bought a great load of baby wool in shades of blue, white, grey, navy, primary shades and am enjoying knitting tiny things again. Our wonderful 3rd Grandchild, Chester Gray Sigley, was born on 6th June and I was pleased that a range of knitted cute garments helped to keep him warm in this unseasonable chilly weather.
We expect another Grandson due in September, so I am knitting for him too. I love knitting baby things because they are the best thing when travelling. I have LOTS of baby wool so don’t need to buy any more until that is used up. I am trying to convince myself here!
What else am I knitting you may wonder. Baby things are for knitting in the car, (when Mike is driving of course), but when I am at home, all the housework is done – (who am I kidding!!!) I am knitting a beautiful lacy cardigan, designed by Hazel Stokeld in Doulton Border Leicester 4ply yarn that I bought from Kendal Wool Gathering last year, and remembering this helped me to realise the joy of wool shows.
As an exhibitor there, my initial focus was to set up, make sure the stand looks ok, all the products are visible, that some Knitter’s Companions are available as samples to look through, including the Travel version and Crocheter’s Companions. I check that the card reader is working and the float emptied. I stay for the first hour or two and then go for a wander, leaving my hubby Mike or close friend Deb to man the stand.
Now for the joy! The colours of the yarns, the beautiful skills that my fellow vendors display, the textures, the friendly chatter, the bargains that are available, the refreshments, cakes, books, magazines, podcasters who are really celebrities, beautiful stitchmarkers & notions, the gorgeous yarn bowls, unique patterns, buttons, gorgeous felted objects, …actually I could go on all day. Some shows have live sheep, alpacas, angora rabbits, and it is fascinating to hear how the fibre is produced. Everything is so interesting.
When I went for my first lap, I saw this beautiful cardigan on the Doulton Border Leicester stand, I had to stroke the back of the cardigan (in a knitting appreciative kind of way), there were always a few people talking to the vendors, so I walked by, talked to other exhibitors, but felt drawn back to the Doulton Border Leicester and when it went a bit quieter at lunch time I nipped back and talked to Hazel. The yarn comes from ethically cared for sheep, “…that live to grow old”. The colours were beautiful and Hazel told me about the design and construction of the pattern- “Scarborough Lace Jacket”. The thing I really liked about it was that the button band is constructed as part of the front pieces, no need to mess with a button band – brilliant! I chose Wainstones colourway, a lovely pale grey, and together with my cotton bag, felt chuffed with my purchase.
Being able to talk to the designer is marvellous, to be able to question aspects of the construction is something special and really useful. The gorgeous yarn bowl in the photograph is by Emily Cross, she was exhibiting opposite to our stand and her bowls were going like hot cakes! We were also really busy so I had to ask her to put one aside and I settled up with her later on when it had gone a bit quieter!
I had experienced something similar to my yarny fascination at Spring into Wool in Leeds in 2018. The Wensleydale Longwool stand kept on triggering the same reaction. The girls on this stand are so warm and friendly that I felt the need to interrupt their breakfast prior to the show opening, by asking what were they wearing? They had their gorgeous Beryl jackets on, a lovely moss stitch design with a shawl collar in aran. I had to have this pattern! I chose a pale pink called Marshmallow, and knitting this was a total joy! What a brilliantly clever construction. The lustre and slight halo of the yarn gives it a very special feel. This was another cardigan where the buttonholes were worked into one piece, rather than doing a separate button band. We are going to the Yorkshire Dales this summer, not far from Leyburn where their shop is! I can’t wait!
I am finding the world of being an exhibitor at yarn shows really enjoyable. Coming from a Mental Health Nursing background is completely different and I have been very grateful for tips and advice from other vendors, particularly, Julie Holman of Clothfelt, thanks Julie!
This summer I am “resting” and using my time to design a new product which will be available in September. I am thrilled to be exhibiting at Bakewell Wool Gathering amd Kendal Wool Gathering…I wonder what I shall buy from there!!!