Wow. It’s Monday evening; I can hardly believe that I’ve been away since Friday lunchtime. In some ways, it seems like forever since I was sitting on my own sofa – in others, the time has flown.
I don’t think I’ve ever driven as much in one weekend: up to Cumbria on Friday afternoon (five and a half hours travelling); over to my parents on the East coast side on Saturday evening (another two hours). All of Sunday there, then back down to Cambridgeshire today (three and a half hours). It may be small potatoes to some folks in America, who occasionally seem to drive thousands of miles in a weekend, but it’s a lot for me!
Anyway, I’m delighted to say it was very much worth it. I’m so pleased that I decided to stay overnight, and on my own to boot. It’s lovely to wander around a fair in company, but in some ways it was even nicer to just meander at my own pace, following my own whims, not worried about what anyone else wants to see, or if they think raw fleece is boring, or dealing with a group which inevitably includes one hungry person, one tired person, and someone who needs the loo. (Misanthropic? Moi?? Well, only sometimes!)
First order of the day, as soon as I was through the door, was the raw fleece stall. This was the point at which I realised that I’d sorely miscalculated my ready cash requirements: I’d had to pay cash for quite a few things before I even got into the show, and there is no way to get cash near the site. In addition, only some of the stallholders can accept card payments, so, after allocating a certain amount of money for fleece purchases, a strategic tour of the hall was necessary so that I could allocate my remaining readies appropriately!
Anyway: Fleece. I bought two. One, a Lincoln Longwool, with the most lovely, lustrous, white, curly locks:
The other a complete contrast: a mioget Shetland:
I’ve not had time to get either out of the bags for a really good look yet, but I’ll let you know all about it when I do!
Shopping was interrupted at around half 12 so that I could meet up for a good chat (and a bit more fleece fondling) with Cecilia from The Wool Clip, who I met in real life (instead of online) for the first time the night before, and who might just be my new best friend. I By this time, I’d already acquired my star purchase for the event: a beautiful Russian spindle from IST Crafts:
Go on- click for bigger. You won’t regret it!
My beautiful, wonderful, gorgeous spindle is made of sycamore, and has a brass tip (which I am hoping will help it not get damaged). It is a beautiful object, as well as a wonderful tool, and the craftsmanship is impeccable. I also have an adorable little ceramic bowl that it is designed to spin in; there is very little friction between the brass and the ceramic glaze. I spent so long at their stall, admiring and playing with the spindles, that I think I probably made quite an impression. And, I have to say, the feeling is mutual. Both Ian and Jake were delightful to talk to, and really passionate about their products. The customer service I received from them (on a seriously busy day) was second to none, and I’d buy again from them in a flash.
Cash wise, that pretty much wiped me out! I had to reserve a certain amount of money for caffeine and food (to help fuel the shopping and the driving), but really – this Woolfest was all about the people for me. Despite the fact that I went alone, the best parts of the show were the connections, the conversations, the shared enthusiasm and the mutual joy. On my own schedule, obviously.
Until next year, Woolfest!