Thursday, 20 September 2007

Fibrefest - a review

Fibrefest was held in conjuction with Bridwell Country Fair on 1st and 2nd September, 2007; billed by the organisers as "A fantastic celebration of fleece, fibre & fabric in the beautiful Blackdown Hills". Well, it certainly lived up to its name. I went along with my family and a friend on the Saturday - we were like children in a sweetie shop! Where to start? We walked all the way round first, trying not to buy anything (I failed on this one) until we'd seen it all, but all good intentions mostly went to the wall! There was a huge range of fibre on offer, and soemthing for everyone. Stalls were piled high with all sorts of crafting goodies for all sorts of crafts in addition to knitting and spinning. There was a lot of felt in evidence - wonderful, colourful creations in the form of hats, tea cosies, bags and other desirable objects. Another heavily featured item was alpaca fleece and yarn - lots and lots of it in the most gorgeous colourways imaginable.........................sigh....................There was a lot of good fleece and yarn for sale from traditional breeds, lovely to see them getting the support and exposure they deserve and badly need to keep them going - wonderful. On the other side of the fibre spectrum, there were a lot of very fashionable yarns on offer - keeping up with the current interest and trend in knitting from younger folks coming up - all sorts on offer here: hemp yarns, nettle yarns from Nepal, yarns in brilliant zingy colours made from banana fibres, yarns made from recycled sari fabric. Fantastic colours, inspiration at every turn! All of the stalls were busy, with interested and enthusiastic customers, and all teh stallholders took time to actually talk to us, which is much appreciated when you are as much of a fibre fan as me. There was a lot of equipment on offer too - all sorts of gadgets, some very beautiful knitting needles, spinning wheels and looms. for those who prefer to buy the finished article, the standard of the finished goods on sale was exceptional - there wasn't one stall, I felt, that didn;t live up to expectations.

Out of that lot, though, I did have my favourites; for fleece, it was the rare breed stall from Woodpark Wool in Grivan, run by a lovely lady called Susan Russell. She had beautiful Hebridean wool for sale, and some rare fleece for spinning, including Boreray and Ronaldsey (yes, I bought some.................................). Definitely be shopping there again. Another one which took my fancy was Llynfi Textile Co, who have just gained organic accreditation from the Soil Association for their wools; dyed with natural dyes, I bought some in green and yellow which ahs already been knitted into socks for a Christmas present. The colours were gorgeous, and beautifully displayed on a colour wheel. Again, will be using them again.
One of my favourite wools was available from The Woolly Shepherd too - Dorset Down; she had a lovely vibrant stall, including baskets with fleece woven into them - I loved them.
for me, Cledry Yarner's stall stood out for sheer "OOoooohh - ness"!!! Beautifully made felt cosies and other items , in bright jewel colours were displayed against a plain white background to brilliant effect. I loved the felted soaps on sale at this stall, also available in kit form.

Bought far too much, with nowhere to put it at home, but had a whale of a time and could thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in textiles and especially wool.
Our day was rounded off with a great visit to Cold Harbour Mill, operational on both days in conjunction with Fibrefest - exceptionally interesting place to visit, so much to see, and beautiful wool in the shop, although by that time, I'd not money or space in theh car left!
Now looking forward expectantly to details of next year's event, but must get on and use up everything I bought this year first...........................

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