Beardie’s Guest Blog 2: Wandering round Woolfest

Hi all,

I’ve been drafted in for another guest blog as I recently attending my first show (Woolfest 2019) and Jem thought it might be interesting for me to share my experience.

For those of you who don’t know, Woolfest takes place every year in Cockermouth, Cumbria and brings together a wide variety of people with a passion for wool and yarn. You can find out more at www.woolfest.co.uk.

The show takes place in a livestock centre, and the first thing that struck me was the transformation from a fairly drab warehouse that smelled a bit funny, to a bustling show floor with a huge number of stallholders, a lot of whom had excellent stall designs. That’s probably pretty standard for those of you who have been to one of these shows before, but it was a huge eye-opener for me.

Rather shamefully, I didn’t take many pictures of other stalls – turns out these shows get quite busy, so I didn’t have a lot of time to go wandering around as I was busy helping Jem (mostly just getting in the way!) on our stall.

However, I did get a chance to check out some of the animals on show, and it was a treat to see a wide variety of different breeds (some quite exotic!) in attendance. I grew up in the countryside (about 40 miles north of Cockermouth) so it was nice to hear the occasional ‘baa’ from our ovine friends.

My favourite (and I’m a little biased here) was Hector, who is an Exmoor Horn ram and was in the stall directly across from us for the entire show. His owners were lovely to chat to and we learned a lot about Hector and his ways throughout the show – apparently, he’s a very deep thinker! For those of you who have attended Woolfest before, Hector is the son of Terry, who seemed to be a bit of a celebrity around the place.

I also met some very interesting Hebridean sheep and had a lovely chat with the lady from the Hebridian Sheep Society. I didn’t catch his name, but the fellow below with the rather pointy horns startled a couple of dogs whilst I was visiting – I don’t blame them for being a bit scared!

I also met some Herdwick sheep on my travels. Jem and I both have a bit of a soft-spot for herdies – they always look like they’re smiling! These two looked particularly happy when I saw them.

And finally, I also met some recently shorn alpacas (Jem and I also share a mutual love of alpacas) who were very inquisitive and full of character.

Aside from the animals, I was struck by how friendly everyone was – people genuinely seemed to be having a lovely time (despite the heat!) and it was lovely to meet the people that visited our stall to chat to Jem and I (mostly to Jem).

It was a long few days with set-up on the Thursday, two full days of the show and then the mad rush to pack everything up at the end, but we stayed an extra night (Cumbria is a beautiful part of the world, after all) and had a little explore before heading home.

If you were at Woolfest this year then I hope you had a great time, and if you haven’t been before then I’d say it’s definitely worth a visit!

2019 Events

I’m very happy to announce the first couple of events I have planned for 2019!

On 27th April you will find me celebrating Yarn Shop Day with the lovely people at Black Sheep Wools. Feel free to pop along to one of drop-in finishing technique classes – you can find more details on my events page here.

I’m really exited to say that I will be exhibiting at Woolfest again this year!

Rosie and I had a fab time back in 2016 and Beardie is looking forward to being my glamorous assistant this time. I love the Lake District and we’re planning to make a long weekend of it – so if you have any recommendations for good walks in the Cockermouth area please let me know.

I’m mostly looking forward to seeing all the lovely sheep!

I will hopefully be booking in more shows and a few workshops for Autumn/Winter – so keep your eye on my events page.

Hopefully I’ll see you soon!

Woolfest 2016

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After waking up on Friday to the news that the UK had voted to leave the EU – having two days of Woolfest ahead of me was a wonderful distraction!

I applied for a stand at Woolfest after having a lovely time at Yarndale last year and it was a good decision! The Woolfest team, other stallholders and customers were all lovely and the show had a great atmosphere. I even saw a few familiar faces and it was especially nice to catch up with a couple of people I used to work with.

It’s always a bit daunting when you arrive in your empty stand. Particularly when there is a concrete wall at the back and some sheep have done a dirty protest about leaving the EU! But my wonderful friend Rosie soon helped me to whip it into shape and get it looking lovely.

We introduced Shuggie and Steve Sheep to some real sheep. Shuggie had a nice chat but Steve was a bit rude to be honest. He’s feeling a bit grumpy because Shuggie was three times more popular than him! The good news is – I still have some Steve Sheep kits available for Yarndale – these aren’t available on my shop so please get in touch if you want me to save one for you!

We had lovely neighbours and were lucky enough to be opposite Bigwigs Angora so we could just watch bunnies all day. I didn’t get much chance to look around, but I fell in love with pretty much everything on the Beyond Measure stand! Lots of lovely scissors and bits and bobs.

Rather than rushing home after the show, we stayed an extra night and enjoyed a pootle around Derwent Waters and Ambleside on the way home.

Thank you to everyone who came to see me! I hope you’re enjoying your books, patterns and kits. I’m looking forward to seeing more lovely faces at Yarndale in September! x

Steve Sheep

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Shuggie Sheep first shot to fame at Yarndale in Sept last year. He’s a squishy, cuddly sheep and the lovely people of Yarndale couldn’t resist him!

But fame comes at a price. And after seeing all the attention Shuggie was getting –  Steve the Black Sheep (Shuggie’s long lost cousin) has come out of the woodwork looking for his moment in the limelight.

You can probably tell from his startled expression above that this is worrying Shuggie greatly. But being such a lovely sheep – he’s taking it all in his stride and has agreed to let Steve come along to Woolfest with us this week!

We’re not going to give Steve the media attention he so desperately craves, so he won’t be available online – just as a limited edition knit kit at Woolfest (and Yarndale if we have any left!).

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See you at Woolfest! x

April Showers

SK

I have been working in the knitting industry for over eight years – and it still takes me by surprise every year how incredibly busy April and May are!

This month for me has been a bit like the April showers we’ve been having. It’s been relentless and not much fun for the most part – with sunny spells of teaching workshops and squeezing in the odd evening with friends.

This time last year I was working on a couple of secret projects. The first one was The Knitted Nursery Collection which launched in January – and the second has been on the back-burner for quite a while! I’ve been working on a new collection and I’m really excited about launching four new patterns in June. Three of the patterns involve felting and I thought you might like a sneaky peek…

I can’t wait to show you more! I’m working on various new things on the run-up to Woolfest in June, so make sure you’re following my blog to keep up to date.

I hope you had a lovely April? I’m hoping for more sunny days and a little bit more relaxing in May!

Workshops, Shows & Events!

FlockWallHangingI was very excited this week to find out that I’ve been accepted for Yarndale again! It was so good last year to meet people who I know from the world of social media, and to see the familiar faces of people I’ve met at workshops, shows and events over the years.

The world of knitting is hugely sociable and I love teaching workshops and going to shows where I can see all your lovely faces! I’ve got lots of exciting things planned over the next few months so I’m hoping to see some of you soon.

Flutterbies & Flutterby CushionIn May I will be attending the Frank & Olive Crochet Retreat as a guest tutor.

I met Ruby from Frank & Olive at Yarndale last year, where she was rather taken with the bright colours used in The Knitted Nursery Collection! Ruby creates colourful crochet patterns and ready to buy items as well as running the crochet retreat.

If you’re coming along – we will be making Flutterbies, and I’m also planning a beginners project for anyone who’s never picked up the needles.

In June I will be at Woolfest for the first time!

I will have copies of The Knitted Nursery Collection and some new kits in stock. I will also have the popular pink colourway of my Dice Cowl kit back in stock on my shop and at Woolfest!

I don’t have any big plans for July – maybe a bit of gardening!

Flock Wall HangingIn August I will be teaching a workshop at The Gardens of The Rose in St Albans.

There will be a whole craft week with various tutors including Erika Knight – so I will be in good company!

On my workshop we will cover sewing up and shaping techniques whilst knitting a little ‘Flock’ bird from The Knitted Nursery Collection.

If you’re interested in booking – just keep an eye on the website and more info will come soon.

And then in September I will be at Yarndale again! I will be selling my books and kits, and I will also be launching an exciting new knit-along for 2017!

I’m in the early planning stages of this at the moment, but I’m really excited about it. The KAL will start on Mon 2nd Jan 2017 and run throughout the year. Yarndale weekend will be your first chance to sign up for the KAL and order a starter pack, which you will receive in December. Don’t worry if you’re not at Yarndale this year – The starter packs and patterns will also be available via my website.

I hope you’ve all got exciting plans in your diary?