I can't quite remember when I first heard about Festiwool, but it was very recently. And I was pondering the idea of popping along when an invitation to that very event appeared in my inbox from the sweet Helen of Woolly Chic. Talk about serendipity. Then I discovered that my friend in fibre, Sam of Betsy Makes was going too. It was obviously meant to be.
Typically it seems that these exciting types of event are always miles and miles away from me. All the best antique markets, vintage fairs and so on, but I'm happy to say I can't claim that about yarny festivals any more. First I came across Fibre East in Ampthill, and that blew my little hand made socks off and now there is Festiwool that is just a hop, skip and a jump away in Hitchin. How cool is that?
This was a bit smaller event than Fibre East or Yarndale, presumably as it hasn't been running so long, but it was still a really nice size and it had attracted a lot of really beautiful stands and great exhibitors. The Town End Alpacas with their beautiful harmonious shades looked lovely, the Native Yarns stand was a wall of gorgeous colour and Larissa's Travel Knitter stand looked particularly well thought out and was a beautiful way to display of her rich coloured yarn.
Chump that I am, I completely forgot to take my 'proper' camera with me and so I had to resort to iphone snaps I'm afraid. So sorry! (Sam has much better ones if you want to see more.)
However, as usual, I get much too excited at these types of events to stop and think about taking too many photos as there is always so much to see and coo over. We make a right pair, Sam and I, wandering around oohing and ahhing generally behaving like children whenever we spot something gorgeous, which happens fairly often.
To make the day just a little more special, I got to meet some lovely ladies from the Spice of Life CAL. I'm always so shy about approaching people but I'm so, so, glad that these ladies had the courage to come up to me to say hi because it was really great to meet them in real life. It's funny isn't it? You see and read about it online and yet it's still sometimes hard to imagine that it's really all going on. Then someone comes up to you and says 'I made your blanket'. That's so awesome!
I also got to see sweet Heather of Pink Milk again, as she'd made the trip down for a browse around. That was really nice, and we got to meet the lovely Mr P Milk too. I'm sure he enjoyed himself looking around the yarny goodness more than anyone!
Needless to say, I got completely carried away with the whole thing and didn't restrain myself much I'm ashamed to say. Still you know what's coming up soon, maybe some of these will have to be presents?
Let's take you through the purchases...
At the top there is a nice selection from Woolly Chic. We got talking to Helen about her yarn and found out that the wool all comes from her family's farm in Wales and is spun here in the UK too. Helen gets the fun of choosing the colour selection. I'm not normally too good with 'woolly' wool but it's so great to know the story of this yarn and it looked too good to resist, so these will be some cozy socks I think.
Then on the left are the yarns from Travel Knitter, who's stand I was totally smitten with. An absolutely divinely soft and brilliantly coloured camel based yarn in mustard and two gorgeous greys in merino to go with it. I'm thinking a wrap for this little lot.
Then on the right, that gorgeously sumptuous raspberry colour I just couldn't resist from Native Yarns. A natural undyed hank from Rosie's Moments that has a touch of sparkle to it and a wonderfully bright and slinky silk yarn that might become a cowl from Willow Knits.
Then, in a definite 'present to myself' moment, I succumbed on got this Christmas themed box from Dyenosaur. They had some lovely ideas for packaging their yarns, something a little different and this selection was just my thing. There's a festive yarn, obviously, a Santa mug, some decorations, a delicious smelling candle and to top it off, some choccies too.
A little self indulgent perhaps, but you know what, I think I deserve it. Something to look forward to and enjoy next month, although I might have prepped the yarn already! (Top pic)
Last but not least, there was a real gem of a stand from Textile Garden. The most wonderful button selection in so many gorgeous colours. I was very tempted to take one of their little tubs and go on a 'pick and mix' style spree but in the end I just went for these lovely trims. They had some lovely subtle colours you don't normally see and much nicer than the rather brash offerings you get from the standard haberdashery places. Making a mental note of this one for future, that's for sure.
Well, I feel I have waffled rather. It's just the fun of these events do get me going I'm afraid. It's just so lovely to see these pretty yarns and things in the flesh and be able to pick and choose. Online shopping can be a wonderful thing, but nothing compares to seeing it all laid out, to being able to touch and a compare, to talking with the stand owners and hearing about their story and inspiration.
Bring on Festiwool 2016 I say!