Where does time go? Woolfest recap at last

I cannot believe it has been two full weeks since I went to Woolfest. I feel like I spent a few hours at Woolfest in the middle of holidays with my family, finished said holidays a couple days after, came back home, did a few random things that “don’t take long”, and it’s already today. How did this happen?

Walking in the sheep field...  ©Aurelie Colas

Walking in the sheep field…
Photo ©Aurelie Colas

We spent a few days in the Northern part of the Lake District, where we had never been. The Man, Little Man, Little Miss and I (and silly doggy too) enjoyed some short walks along the rivers and lakes. The weather was so-so (apparently, it was a lot more summer-y at home, boooo), but it was fair enough.

Aira Force Waterfals, near Ullswater  ©Aurelie Colas

Aira Force Waterfalls, near Ullswater
Photo ©Aurelie Colas

On Saturday, we headed to Cockermouth. The sun was shining, the sky was so blue… Almost a shame to go indoors!

On entering the festival, we could see the inspiring exhibition, with wool felt and fabric. First, this awesome portrait by Gill Curwen (see more of her work here):

Herdwick portrait made out of wool, by Gill Curwen - Photo ©Aurelie Colas

Herdwick portrait made out of wool, by Gill Curwen – Photo ©Aurelie Colas

Those amazing coats and jackets were sticking:

WoolClip Exhibition Photo ©Aurelie Colas

As per the Little Man’s request, we headed straight to the sheep pens to admire the many breeds. His favourite were each littlest sheep from the last pen we had just past. After a very welcome lunch in the marquee, we went for more sheep sighting…

(Janice, look, there are your sheep… they were a bit camera shy, sorry)

We bumped into a friend from Edinburgh. We also saw a few cashmere goats, we briefly spotted the alpacas through the crowd, and went to see the angora bunnies… and then I tried to do some yarn and fibre chase. It can be a little stressful to shop with little people. Definitely makes browsing a luxury. Luckily, The Man offered to take care of the Little Man so I had 30-45 minutes of “free-time” (with Little Miss) to do my shopping. This is when I did the most “damage”. Apparently, I don’t do well under pressure with a shopping-list in hand.

Sock yarn - Indigo dyed by The Border Tart

Sock yarn – Indigo dyed by The Border Tart

So, I bought my first skein of yarn from The Border Tart, along with two lovely sets of buttons which I forgot to photograph (you will see some of them shortly though as they have been used already…). It is a subtle denim blue. I like that no two skeins are the same, but yet all died with the same method: indigo. I spent a few minutes trying to find the right shade of blue to match what I had in mind. I think I found it!

Silk Hankies from HilltopCloud

Silk Hankies from HilltopCloud

I knew I wanted to buy something from the always inviting HilltopCloud shop, but definitely not needed anymore fibre given my spinning rate. So I bought some silk hankies which I am hoping to knit from directly. I dithered a long time over the colours, and ended up with the first one that grabbed my attention.

RipplesCrafts Na Dannsairean 4ply in Copper Beech

RipplesCrafts Na Dannsairean 4ply in Copper Beech

Then I had the pleasure to have a quick chat with Helen, from RipplesCrafts. Again, I knew I wanted to get something from her (as I always do), but didn’t need anything really. I kept on coming back to a skein of Na Dannsairean 4ply in the amazing Copper Beech colourway. Helen is discontinuing this base sadly, and despite my resolution of not buying discontinued yarn (so I can design with it), the colour was just calling me, and I couldn’t resist. So much for the self control… but, isn’t it gorgeous?

Disclaimer: I take no responsibilities for the next purchases. I totally blame Louise (and Jo too for the Lyonesse) for having been so weak in that stall. They weren’t with me in person to place all the pretty balls of British yarn in my grabby hands, but it was just like they were 🙂

One of the stalls that was on my to-buy-from list was Blacker Yarns, and this is where my resolutions of not buying too much yarn went through the window. I wanted to look at the colours of the new Lyonesse 4ply in person (an interesting wool/linen blend), to check if the “green” was the right green for what I had in mind. I also wanted to have a feel of their Swan Falkland yarn. Weeeeell…. I might have succumbed to a few more balls than what was on my shopping list. The clock was ticking and I was to meet up The Man and Little Man for the sheep shearing demonstration a few minutes after. I lost all self-control, and ended up with a bag full of sheepy loveliness.


So… here is what I brought home (along with some sheepy postcards from the Wool Clip, and lovely buttons from The Border Tart). I’ve been naughty, haven’t I? Also… I wonder if I’m in a green/blue phase just now…



And then came the sheep shearing demonstration. It was a great experience, and I strongly recommend it. The (female!) shearer was very interesting to listen to, and it was very impressive to watch her shear the few sheep, while she took the time to walk us through what she was doing, explaining the differences between the breeds she was demo-ing with, etc.

Talented Cathy Cassie explaining her job as a shearer Photo ©Aurelie Colas

Talented Cathy Cassie explaining her job as a shearer. First sheep is a Herdwick hogg (first clip).
Photo ©Aurelie Colas

She started with three Herdwick hoggs. Seeing their black / dark grey skein / undercoat appear as she shears them is great.

Then she clipped a couple Shetland sheep (with hand shears). One of the fleeces was quickly auctioned, and I was really tempted to bid, but realistically, I don’t have the time to wash, card and spin a little fleece (not to mention I lack the experience too).

Finally, she shore two gorgeous Bluefaced Leicester. And there too, a fleece was auctioned. It was really really interesting, and I am really glad I could attend all of this with Little Man (and Little Miss too, but she is too young to understand), and use it as a chance to chat about how the wool grows, and to discuss once again where fibre and clothes come from, etc.

Circle of Stones, near Thelkeld Photo ©Aurelie Colas

Castlerigg Stone Circle, near Thelkeld
Photo ©Aurelie Colas

And then, we left Woolfest, and I gently walked the dog around the Castlerigg stone circle while the children were sleeping in the car, looked after by The Man. Lake District is a definitely nice place to walk and dream, and a great place to learn more about sheep and wool.

The sheep have a lovely view in Lake District Photo ©Aurelie Colas

The sheep have a lovely view in Lake District
Photo ©Aurelie Colas


Hobby Horse for Little Knights ©Aurelie Colas

Hobby Horse for Little Knights
©Aurelie Colas

Since being back home, like I wrote, I did a couple things. One of these was self-publishing the pattern for a quirky design which I like very much. I am proud to present  Hobby Horse for Little Knights (and Princesses too, if you prefer), with a cute face, removable bridle and complete with instructions on how to make the stick body too.

(Pattern is available for purchase both on Ravelry and on LoveKnitting.)


Apart from that, I have worked on a few other things here and there. I hope I can tell you more about these soon… Stay tuned 🙂


Happy knitting,
Aurelie / spinnygonzalez


This entry was posted in British Yarn, Community, Design, Travel, Woolfest, Yarn and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Where does time go? Woolfest recap at last

  1. Susan says:

    What lovely pictures and GOOD purchases 🙂 So glad you were able to go and enjoy!

  2. Bernadette says:

    Thank you for the trip around Woolfest – I was planning to go but unfortunately wasn’t well that weekend. I love your pictures of the fest and the Lake District – very clear and interesting. I look forward to see what you make with your delicious yarns.

    • spinnygonzalez says:

      Thanks for your kind comment. Sorry to read you were unwell; I hope you get to go next year. In the meantime, I am glad you like the photos. It was a nice trip, and I really enjoy seeing the sheep. And yes, the yarn is the cherry on top of the bakewell tart 🙂

      Some of the yarns were planned purchases, so I have already wound the Border Tart sock yarn. And I have also done a swatch with the Lyonesse. It is a very interesting yarn. I have not quite decided what I am going to make with it though, as the swatch is making me change plans. There are just now enough hours in the day.

  3. I take no responsibility for enabling which *may happen whilst listening to my show! that said, oooh, what a lovely haul!

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