British Wool Weekend

It’s the new British Wool Weekend show at Harrogate today and tomorrow. I’m not sure that I’ll manage to get along so if any of you do, please let me know what you think of the show as I may take a stall next year. Always presuming it’s a success this year and runs again.

With the emphasis firmly on British you can expect to see anything related to British sheep including ice cream, fibres, yarns and finished products.

If you have made a cushion cover for the “Woolsack” project, there will be a “Fill and Natter” area where you can fill your cushion cover with British Wool stuffing.  Watch the entertaining Sheep Show Man sheering a sheep, visit the Alpacas and Angora Rabbits.

3D British Wool Weekend

As people are so enjoying discovering our native  British wool I’ve decided to add a whole weekend devoted just to this purpose Saturday/Sunday 1st-2nd October. You’ll be able to book either day or book both for total immersion in this smorgasbord of fibre fun. There’ll be over fifteen varieties of wool tops and some raw fleece to choose from. You can work either in a single breed at a time or mix it up and see what effects / colours you can create.

I’ve decided to focus on 3D but that still gives scope for quite a few different things to be made. Try your hand at a pot moulded on a vase / bottle or freeform it just like working clay!  Bring along your own 3D item you’d like to cover – any shape can be covered once you know how. Make a handbag from British wool – many of our native  breeds make lovely hard wearing felt which is ideal for a bag or even perhaps a pair of slippers. Some breeds, like Cheviot, also needlefelt quite well.

If the felt is fine then it looks lovely lit up with a tea light or perhaps you’d like it thick and sturdy to cut into and reveal hidden layers? There’ll be chances to experiment with surface texture and fabulous lustrous plant fibres. If you work on small pieces I’d estimate that you’d make three items like the ones below made by Judith last week. If you’re super speedy, it could be four per day!

You bring a towel, packed lunch, olive oil soap and don’t forget a camera, I’ll supply some delicious British snacks. If you’ve a recipe for any British biscuit that would suit the occasion (we need energy for all this creativity) please let me know. Can’t wait to see you there, I’m so looking forward to it already.

British Wool Workshop

We had a great day on Thursday, I say we, me and the four lovely people who came to play felt but actually I should say I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think / hope they did too. No zingy colours to work with as there is when we work in Merino, but I did have a little home dyed Blue Faced Leicester and Swaledale which they eschewed  in favour of the naturals.

Quite a few of the British breeds are, how shall we say?, less soft, than the merino which is most commonly worked with. We’re so used to feeling very soft wool that not everyone takes to some of these wools straight away whilst some love them. I’ve yet to find a British wool I don’t like although I will admit there are quite a few which I most certainly would not want next to my skin. There are so many other uses we can put them to though.

So, first up we have a vessel in Black Jacob by Carol (black in these wools is usually a very dark brown), a vessel in Black Welsh Mountain by Belinda ( a lovely springy wool, if you press this vessel flat it pops back up like one of those instant pop up tents!) and a garlic pot in Massam by Belinda. I may pinch this idea Belinda.

The lovely brown is a Manx Loaghtan by Liz. This is a rare breed by the way and such a divine colour. In the centre is Lincoln Longwool also by Liz, lovely art deco shape to it and it has some seacell decoration. Sorry about the lighting on this but it was raining and the light was poor.

Both of these vessels are by Carol. the first in white Shetland with recycled sari silk fibre decoration and the second lovely form in Massam fibres. You can’t see all the colours in the white one but it did look stunning with the coloured marbling.

This fabulous trio is by Judith. From left to right – Blue Faced Leicester, Devon, Massam. I know Judith wasn’t keen on the Devon whilst working it but was a little more won over by the time it was felted and this threesome just look so right together.  The final  quirky (and I do mean that as a compliment) vessel is by Liz worked in Black Jacob with a milk protein decoration. Judith also used milk protein on her Devon vessel but you can’t see it in the photo.

Some of the fibres smell a little more sheepy than the highly processed, coloured Merino but personally I like the smell and each fibre is so different to handle. It’s wonderful exploring British Wools and as a couple of you have been asking if I’ll be running another one, I’m now planning a British Wool weekend on 1st and 2nd October. Details to follow soon.

British Wool Weekend

There’s a new show opening at the Harrogate Showground this year called British Wool Weekend, promoting British wool and the farmers who produce it. Here’s the information I’ve received about it.

We are delighted to invite you to take part in a brand new show we are hosting in
on SATURDAY 3rd and SUNDAY the 4th of SEPTEMBER 2011
(Set up day will be on FRIDAY the 2nd of SEPTEMBER 2011 )

For details of stand prices and other information please contact
(Box 3)19 Rooley Lane
West Yorkshire HX6 1JG
Tel; 07790 391142

Our aim for this exciting new venture is to raise the profile of BRITISH WOOL and the many related products produced from British sheep.

We know there are lots of talented and creative people hand crafting beautiful objects from BRITISH WOOL, which hasn’t travelled half way round the world to get here!

If you are a craft worker who uses British wool to spin, weave, knit, crochet, cross stitch, embroider, hand dye, make felt or any other textile process, or if you are involved in the making of lanolin soap, ewe’s milk cheese or ice cream we’d love to hear from you.

If attending as an exhibitor isn’t for you then put the date in your diary for a lovely woolly day out. Opportunities for inspiration and shopping. I’m gutted that I can’t go so will be expecting feedback from one of you