Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Bakewell Wool Gathering 2013

Recently, I went to the Bakewell Wool Gathering (19th - 20th October).  This was the first actual Bakewell Wool Gathering, although it was apparently born out of another event that did not proceed. Held in the picturesque Peak District, surrounded by farmland, this seemed an ideal location for such an event.

The Wool Gathering was very much for people who do crafting things, with lots of raw and prepared fleece for spinning, beautiful skeins of hand spun and hand dyed yarn, drop spindles and spinning wheels, felting and dying supplies, in fact all kinds of woolly goodness that I’m really not experienced enough know about!

While most of the supplies on sale were for people to use to create, there were also many finished artisan goodies. Things that had had been spun, dyed, felted, knitted, crocheted – all kinds of combinations to wear, display, hang on the wall, and love.

I was very busy at the show working with my mother in law on her stand, Simply Sheepish (she doesn’t have a website yet, although I am trying to persuade her…) There was a lot of work involved in setting up the stand and tweaking the layout to make most use of the space and to keep it eye catching. While my mother in law is a very skilled and talented lady at many things woolly – spinning, weaving, dying, knitting, felting etc etc, her stand for shows is mostly focussed at supplies for other people wanting to have a go. Therefore she does end up with a lot of variety, and consequently a large quantity, of stock to get organised. And to learn about if you are the brand new assistant who has never done this kind of thing before!!

Being so busy helping and learning and assisting customers, and a bit of demonstrating my crocheting, I didn’t take a huge amount of time to look around. Don’t get me wrong, I did look around, but I would have needed a lot more time to ask about all of the new and interesting things that caught my eye. There were some truly spectacular things on display, and many yarns and felted objects called out to me. I really found myself drawn to watching spinners at their wheels too. Something so captivating and hypnotic about the wheel going round, and the rhythm of the spinner feeding in the wool. I definitely felt inspired to learn a lot more about felting, spinning, and then maybe dying as well…

Foolishly, while I did take my camera to the show I didn’t actually remember to use it. I did however do a quick bit of shopping before the end of the last day, so let me introduce you to my new purchases (how exciting!!)

First up, is this wooden scarf pin. Now I’m ashamed to say that I can’t remember the name of this stall. They were next to us at the show, so being to the side I couldn’t see their banner, and I didn’t get a card from them when I bought the pin as my mother-in-law actually knows them. So slap on the wrist for me…

About the scarf pin though, it is hand turned out of cocobolo wood, which I was told smells like chocolate when you’re working it! The wife of the man who made it had taken up spinning, and her husband started to make her drop spindles, which lead to him learning the art of woodturning. I thought that was a rather sweet story!

The other great thing about getting this scarf pin is that I can finally wear last year’s birthday present from my mother-in-law – this beautiful knitted capelet/scarf in Noro yarn, this is the ‘Wingspan’ pattern available from Ravelry. I think they are perfect partners!

Next up was a very unusual piece of work, in the shape of a multi-strand hand spun and hand dyed necklace. This was made by the lovely Monika at Wool Stories  (she also has a facebook page)

Monika is a young lady from Poland, who is a self-taught textile artist creating fabulous and unique accessories, yarns etc. All the chatter from the more experienced people at the show indicated that they had never seen anything like her work either, so I felt very lucky to get a piece for myself. To top it off, Monika was also very lovely to chat to – and unbelievably she doesn’t even have a workshop, but manages to create her wonderful work in a small space in her shared house!

I have only worn it once so far, but I do have a trip to the theatre coming up and am looking forward to giving it another outing for that special occasion :)

My final purchase (although I wish I could have made more!) was from the gorgeous stand of needlefelt artist Jenny Barnett (Website, blog, or facebook). Jenny is very talented, and while she had a range of things on sale (just look through her photos!) the pieces that really leapt out at me were her needlefelt British animals. Seals, hares and foxes in various attitudes really vied for my attention, and it was so difficult to choose between them – if I had the money I think I would have come away with one of each!! 

After an extremely difficult decision that took a whole day to make, I eventually opted for the fox. By the time I had made my decision, unfortunately there were no foxes left who had black ‘socks’, which I really preferred – but they were very wonderful people and when I looked disappointed at this news they immediately offered to speak to Jenny (when she came back from her own wanderings) about putting some black socks on to my chosen fox! How fantastic! When she got the news Jenny sought me out and we had a brief chat about what I wanted, and she finished him off the following morning. Apparently I wasn’t the only fan of the black socks, as he was drawing quite a crowd of admirers as he sat on display (disappointed admirers I’m afraid, as he had his ‘sold’ tag on) so I let Jenny keep him for the day to display, and I collected him when the show finished. I also collected a kit for making your own seal as a gift for my mum.

Jenny also runs specific workshops for making her designs, so I will be keeping my eyes peeled for one I fancy, either the hare or the seal perhaps, as I already have the fox. I would also like to find a seal workshop that I can take my mum to, so she can get some practice for her own seal kit…

So there we are, an exciting and inspiring event for me, and a few goodies to keep! I love that they are all unique items, hand-made by individual people who have lovingly learned a skill and really care about the quality and design of their art. Makes me feel all fuzzy inside :)

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