On Saturday I went to Festiwool, a relatively new wool festival in Hitchin. I was offered a free ticket by the organisers which was very kind, although it felt very funny telling the front desk I was on the guest list!
It was a rather grey day outside so it was nice to see colourful bunting (and a yarnbombed bike) leading up to the venue. It wasn’t as big as the other shows I’ve been to but there were a lot of local vendors who I hadn’t heard of before and a good mix of different crafts – knitting (of course), crochet, spinning, felting and probably a few others.
I always love seeing wool painted pictures – made by needle felting different layers of fibre to build up an image. The International Felt Association had some lovely sheep pictures, with the different fleeces using different types of fibre which was very effective. Unfortunately, my pictures didn’t come out terribly well, but they were a lot more impressive in person.
Painting with wool ©Rachel Gibbs
Going to a craft show always makes me want to learn new things, especially spinning and crochet this time as there were lots of lovely things on show, including Jane Crawford‘s persian tiles blanket, these lovely blue/silver batts and Woolly Chic‘s crocheted cat tea cosies.
Lovely things spotted at Festiwool ©Rachel Gibbs
I managed to resist buying everything in sight (narrowly at times) but didn’t come home empty handed. I had been admiring the new West Yorkshire Spinners Country Birds yarns ever since they started floating around on twitter and I hoped (correctly) that someone would have them for sale. I chose the Kingfisher colourway as I thought it was very distinctive and I’m a sucker for a nice blue.
Festiwool purchases ©Rachel Gibbs
I also bought some Sokkusu O in Colour of the Underground from Whimzy. This is a narrow self striping yarn, alternating between grey and multicoloured. I’m looking forward to seeing how this knits up. Rosie’s Moments had these really interesting sock rulers. Not only do they have centimeters on one side and inches on the other, they have charts for men and women’s shoe sizes and the corresponding foot length. I’m hoping this will be harder to lose than a tape measure and will also save me from asking my dad how big his feet are, again!
It was one of my 15-in-15 goals to make some project bags. So far I have failed miserably on this goal, having made a grand total of none. I had been admiring Watercolours and Lace‘s project bags earlier in the show and then realised they also made a kit. I love this sheep print and the instructions seem very clear so hopefully I will have a least one completed project bag by the end of the year.
Hand woven scarf from Porpoise Fur ©Rachel Gibbs
My Mum is a crafter and so I was on the lookout for possible Christmas presents, knowing that she would appreciate something handmade. I had seen Porpoise Fur‘s hand woven scarves on twitter and made a mental note to seek them out. She had a great selection and it took a while to decide on a colour but I picked this orange and purple one with the lovely name of Buccaneer.
The show also featured a fashion show with clothes from local independent retailers and some made by fashion students at North Hertfordshire College (where the show was held). While no one has ever described me as fashion conscious, it was interesting seeing the outfits that had been put together. Some were really nice and wearable, others less practical. I enjoying seeing how they accessorised with some items from the vendors, such as lace shawls and hand spun necklaces.
It feels like Festiwool is still finding it’s feet a bit, there were some moments that clearly didn’t quite go to plan, but it was a very enjoyable afternoon. I met up with some friends from previous shows and had a good chat with some of the stall holders. I like that it wasn’t too crowded so the atmosphere felt very relaxed and friendly, but still seemed lively.