Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Bristol Wool Fair

This weekend was the first ever Bristol Wool Fair, taking place on the Durdham Downs. For a first event and a gamble by both organisers, traders and visitors, it turned out beautifully.
Making use of the ancient right for commoners to graze sheep on the Downs, the event had a real country festival feel in the middle of town. There was a great selection of independent yarn and fibre traders - some a little more seasoned, many brand new to the market like me - housed in 3 marquees around the central arena where there were sheep sheering displays and duck herding.



The weather was kindly on our side for the whole three days bar a brief spell of rain on Saturday morning.

I arrived very early on Friday morning - unusually, this wool fair was trading for a full three days - and set about putting up the stand by myself as Mark was tied up covering holidays at work. If Santa is listening, I would hereby like to ask him for an electrical screwdriver for Christmas! A couple of hours flew by just trying to get the racking up and I had barely started getting the yarn on the shelves when the safety inspector came around to check that we were ready to open, so my sincere apologies if I seemed utterly flustered around the first visitors.


I had thought that opening on a week day would give us a gentle start to the weekend, but the day absolutely flew by with a very steady stream of customers and wonderful people to chat with all day long.

I had written a new pattern for the occasion - the Linus shawl, designed to show off the gradient colours of the Ullcentrum in alternating stripes.



The sample is knitted in the Heather and Natural Greys colourways and both of those had sold out by the end of the first day. In the evening I found another 5 hanks of the grey at home that I had put aside for my next project - these too were gone by Saturday lunch time! Rest assured that I will be ordering both of these colours back in in the next couple of days and let you know as soon as they are back in the shop :)

Saturday morning was a little overcast and drizzly, but a much more relaxed start for me. I arrived a little before opening and had a lovely stroll around the grounds, greeting the sheep and the alpacas and finally getting a chance to see some of the other stalls.


My first purchase was some beautiful plant dyed Shetland yarn from the small flock at Gone Astray. Plant dyes mesmerise me -the colours are so beautiful and gentle. These are dyed with different batches of indigo, onion skins and teal plant and will become a stripy jumper...after the other two jumpers I'm already planning this winter...oops.



Sunday I snuck in a little more shopping in the morning. My stall was in the same marquee as Five Moons and Sharon, myself and a group of visitors had bonded over Gudrun Sjoden clothing. One of my favourite things is watching customers pick out colours that I would never have thought of putting together myself and coming up with truly inspiring combinations, and a recurring , Gudrun-esque theme this weekend was green and pink. Sharon had some Pirkkalanka in those shades from me, I returned the favour with a selection of her mini-skeins for 2 pairs of socks which I can't wait to cast on!




I also bought some Welsh Wool fabric for my mother for a skirt, and this ball of Estonian lace yarn from Namolio. I'm not quite sure just what I'm going to do with 1400 meters of very fine grey yarn, but one of my customers let me pet a ball that she had bought and then I just wanted one of my own!



My absolute highlight of the weekend though was having people come to my stall to show off their finished projects.
Sara and Francoise have been champions of Midwinter from our very first day at Wonderwool and on Saturday, Sara came in wearing her Ivar cardigan in the thin Pirkkalanka.




Later the same day, another lovely lady came to show me her Reverse Psychology shawl in Ullcentrum Lace weight bought at Unwind, and the very neatly matching handbag with it.


Sadly, this was the last show that we had booked for this year. I'm going to miss doing them a lot over the winter, it's so much fun going on road trips and meeting fellow knitters and crocheters and introducing the yarns and their backstories to them. Hopefully, we will be at many many more shows in the spring, in the meantime, the online shop is of course available and there is now a Midwinter group on Ravelry where you are welcome to share your projects and ideas :)








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