Yesterday my mother, Polly, and I were lucky enough to attend the Bristol Wool Fair and what a delightful event it was too! Upon arriving at Washingpool Farm (just a few minutes drive from the M5) we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Everyone who greeted us was lovely and friendly although their was a slight air of disorganisation but as this was only the second year of this event the organisers can be forgiven this small floor (especially as the core team is only three!) The programme only costs £1 and there is so much information in it it is well worth the investment. Plus there are three free patterns included (one crochet and two knitting).
We were immediately struck by the array of colourful yarns as soon as we entered the first exhibition barn named Kerry for this event, and couldn’t resist a look around all these tempting trade stalls.
We were warmly invited to touch all the luxury wools at Native Yarns with the stall holder saying “you can’t touch them online” and they were beautiful. To be honest I couldn’t stop touching a lot of the luxury yarns on a lot of the stalls, my favourite on this stall being the merino and silk blend. It was beautiful in colour and texture. Unfortunately Polly and I found that the yarns in the Kerry area were a little out of our price range. As the majority seemed to be luxury yarns I’m not surprised, just disappointed I didn’t have a bigger purse!
We found the welcome in the Merino barn equally as warm with a few more stalls more within our budget. Some of the best deals were to be found at the Get Knitted stall which is a local Bristol shop.
One of my personal favourites was Ingrid Wagner‘s big knitting and big crochet stall. I loved the massive hooks and needles and what could be created with them. Below is a crochet turtle as a floor pouffe created using one of these big hooks. Ingrid herself was lovely and eccentric and more than happy for anyone to have a go with one of these hooks. I tried a size 25mm crochet hook and a Tunisian crochet hook of the same size which instead of having a long wooden shaft had plastic tubing which caused much hilarity between myself, some other shoppers and Ingrid when it was compared to a piece of medical equipment, which is often the reaction apparently.
In the Leicester barn we saw some fine examples of the animals used to make the wool we all love, including the angora rabbit and alpacas pictured below. I had a giggle later on when I saw the alpacas being taken for a walk. Obvious but still not something I see every day.
I loved the Viking village on site. I was taken through the technique of Naalbinding by the very friendly Joruun. She demonstrated the one needle and thumb technique which was fascinating to watch as you wrap the needle through the initial chain stitch, through the stitch next to it and through the stitch held over the thumb. The beautiful objects below were created in this way. I’m sure they could tell you much more about Hildsvin here. The brown gloves in the bottom right corner below were made out of natural untreated wool. I had expected them to be incredibly scratchy but they were surprisingly smooth and very warm on a windy day.
The only thing about the entire fair I wasn’t keen on was the portaloos. To be honest this probably has more to do with my being 38 weeks pregnant than anything else as they were still clean and well kept.
There was a nice array of caterers and a bar. I’m a little upset I couldn’t go on the Saturday when the evening has a lovely harvest supper planned but such is life.
Overall the fair had a wonderful atmosphere and I’d be happy to go again and hopefully be able to take my children next time and attend some of the many workshops they ran. Obviously a three day ticket is in order for next year.
By the way Frank I’ll have one of the big 25mm crochet hooks for Christmas please.