Monday, 12 May 2008

Wonderwool 2 (Yarn-Fibre-Stuff)

My camera battery died at Wonderwool, so my photos all became a bit piecemeal. I have played with photo time in this post, just to keep topics logically together (with thanks to my mother for some of the photos in this post and in my Flickr set).

Usually, I go to knitting events on a yarn and accessories stalking exercise. Two weeks ago though, I was at Wonderwool as an exhibitor - a lot of fun and a completely different experience to being at a show as a consumer. Naively, I thought that:

  • being there before the show opened would give me the chance to get in quick and make off with all of the best yarns and bargains. Nope, it didn't...

  • I would have some calm, structured time away from the stand to potter about, meet people, take photos and study carefully everything that was on offer. Um nope, that did not happen either...

  • About ten minutes into the show, I would emerge from my virgin exhibitor show chrysalis as a confident doyenne butterfly of yarn stand holding. Nope, I was terrified. Every time someone asked me a question (invariably one that I could not answer), I half froze and found myself opening my mouth, to squawk inarticulately, 'Mu-uum...'

In fact, the whole weekend seemed to be one mad rush of set up, poking a camera about, rearranging the stall to give things a chance to be seen and fill gaps after sales were made plus trying to keep an eye on whether my parents and the Fella had coffee, water and occasionally, food or a chance to sit down. It-was-all-pretty-much-non-stop!

The very first thing that I did after the Artisan Yarns set up on Saturday morning, was race over to see Posh Yarns. I had hoped to get there before the show opened to take photos of their stand before the hoards descended. I was too late...

...a bunch of knitters had beaten me to it! Yarn purchases were in full flow and here's Starry Starry Knit (right), with her hands happily full of yarn:

Now just in case you have not met the very lovely Dee and Tony, here they are demonstrating their clear mastery of twisting hanks into neat skeins – I think that the movement in this image makes it look like they are twisting in time to music!

Here is a close up of some very splendid, posh and soft yarn:

Dee and Tony won't realise but it's actually very lucky for them both that I had a couple of close calls with a trestle table while setting up my mother's stand. This taught me that their table would never take my weight.

Well, I had never seen so much posh yarn in one place before, nor in such a wide array of colours. I just wanted to throw myself onto their table, into the middle of all that glorious colour and just sort of, you know, cuddle all of that gorgeous softness. (Phew, another faux pas fibre moment avoided!)

Below is a mosaic of some images of some other stands and familiar faces from yarn, knitting and craft companies that you may recognise - I need to say that a nicer bunch of more tolerant people (of me with my camera) you would be hard put to meet:

There were so many things to see that I didn't manage to take pictures of it all. However, here's a little bit more yarn eye candy from the long established Natural Dye Studio:

Now, for those of you who prefer their fibre in a less spun state, I came across these in my travels around the show and I thanked my lucky stars that I have not yet been bitten by the spinning bug otherwise my bank balance would have been in serious trouble:

Opps, how did Gerard and Craig from IKnit end up in this section...?!

Well there's a lovely link, handed to me on a plate - fibre mixed with two of London's most fashionable knitters and knitting shops owners?

Well, it might not be the catwalks of London but Wonderwool at Builth Wells did have a sheepwalk and a fashion show for people to show off their exhibits and wares to the gathered crowd:

On Saturday, Anthony Worrell-Thompson (celebrity chef) headlined the fashion show. However, I was too busy freaking out about walking onto a platform dressed like a weirdo to take any photos of him in action. You see, I am not exactly sure what my mother had in mind when she volunteered me and the Fella to represent her Saturday - personally, I think that we could have doubled as extras from 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em'!

Scary! Others managed to pull off their outfits and accessories with a lot more aplomb:

Suffice it to say that we did not volunteer to do the sheepwalk again on Sunday!

Now in reality, this next picture belongs in the stall holder section. However, this lady had two coats, both of which should definitely have graced the sheepwalk. One was green and gold but this is the one that stood out from everything else that I saw at Wonderwool:

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a peach, eyelash, fashion yarn version of a Kaffe Fassett coat pattern.
Now - just who among you would have had the knitting balls to make that, eh?! I am completely and utterly awestruck - what a completely inspired, gutsy, free from convention project.

After all, what would you do if you liked the shape of a coat but did not have 15 years to work your way through all that artistic, complicated colour work, in very expensive yarns?
The answer to your problem has to be as simple as the coat on this lady's back: you shrug off any preconceived notions about a Kaffe Fassett design and then, whip up your own version of the Chinese Rose coat (just guessing), crocheted in a bunch of out-there fashion yarns, in a very unexpected colour. Why not?!

Frankly, the rest of Saturday whizzed past in a blur. By the end of the day, we were all dead on our feet and looking forwards to dinner and a good night's rest.

We trailed out and trooped back tiredly towards Aria and our car. At which point, I saw one of the nicest family scenes of the day:

A stand holding family, camping at Wonderwool and unwinding at the end of a very busy day with their knitting - now, just how cool is that?

Here are my Wonderwool During the Show photos!


Brian said...

What G is leaving out is the shear excitement just before getting up on the catwalk to model a hat and a skein of yarn around your neck in front of 200 or so complete strangers. In addition, she in understating the confidence required to answer off the cuff questions from a well educated public when you are responsible for a booth and representing someone elses (in this case her mom's) merchandise. I look forward to our next trade show. I wouldn't have missed a minute of it for the world! The attendants made Wonderwool what it was! G! You did not include a single photo of an alpaca. You didn't even mention the instant aplaca farm starter kit! Honey?

G's Fella

Laura said...

Wow, great photos! They bring back a lot of happy memories (this from someone who carted her camera around all day and was too overwhelmed by the yarny goodness to take a single photo).

Mel said...

Looks like you just had the most fab time. Love the hat by the way. I am so jealous that I didn't get to go. I am hoping to make a tour up to Woolfest in July though. So what purchases did you make?