After reading Alli’s guest blog post about Wonderwool last year I was determined that this was a show that I had to visit! Happily, the London Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers organised a coach from London this year and I was quick to secure a place.
The distance to Wales meant that we were going to spend more time traveling in the coach than actually at the show! But this sobering reality was quickly swept aside with the prospect of eight hours of unhindered knitting time stretched out in front of me! I’d been saving my project for the Affinity KAL to finish so surely this would be enough time?! (Truthfully, I even had time for a wee nap on the way back!)
This was my first trip to Wonderwool Wales and it definitely did not disappoint! The show is held in a series of large, agricultural barns in Builth Wells – a bit different from the livestock pens at the auction mart where Yarndale is held. Walls are put up for the stands and the wide spaces of the aisles mean that even when it’s busy there is still lots of space to move within the show. It was a welcome surprise.
Also a surprise was the food! Definitely the best food I’ve ever had at a show. I had the most amazing Scotch egg for lunch (I’d heard the ones at Wonderwool were legendary) and local ice cream for pudding. Delicious! Since my family aren’t as thrilled with yarn as presents as I would be, I took them home some local cider, cheese and meringues they were very well received.
But what about the show, Louise? I hear you ask. Tell us about the yarns! Well… they were fabulous, of course. Wonderwool’s focus is definitely on the fibre arts and there were many, many options for spinners in amongst the yarns. In fact, I came home with a beautiful resin spindle from Wildcraft and a renewed commitment to get spinning all the beautiful fibre I already have at home in my stash!
The relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the show made for lovely catch ups with vendors I already know. I had a lovely chat with Sarah from Purlescence who had managed to get her hands on some Faery Wings by Fyberspates! I was also able to admire Sarah’s Flight of Colour in real life ahead of the KAL starting May 1st. I’m now determined to do one using the same Party of Five pack in teals from SweetGeorgia Yarns. While I’m still mulling over what colour to pair with it I also rounded out my ChiaoGoo interchangeables set with a few more tips.
It was also lovely having a catch up with Caerthan from Triskelion Yarns, and to finally see the new colours of Elmet Aran and 4ply. I took a skein to swatch in a deep, rusty red. The yarn is a blend of 75% Bluefaced Leicester and 25% Brown Masham. I am completely taken with yarns with Masham in them at the moment because of how the colour changes and has more depth. I had an initial taste using Baa Ram Ewe’s Dovestone DK for the Maltings cowl and now I can’t seem to get enough!
As for purchases, well you know I couldn’t leave all the pretties there, right? I got some local Cambrian Welsh wool in a lovely, soft colour palette, as well as some stunning handspun since I can’t spin fast enough myself! I’m keeping it on my desk for inspiration while I get my head around designing for it. Plus, it’s just beautiful. In fact, I saw a lot of natural coloured yarns which have been giving me all kinds of ideas!
It was also fab to see Victoria and Eden Cottage Yarns with her colours looking very at home in rural Wales. Coastal Yarns also had a soft, spring palette. It was definitely a theme I noticed throughout the day, including at Willow Yarns where their yarns reminded of the colours of a delicious box of macaroons!
My biggest splurge of the day though was with Five Moons. A handful of variegated beauties from bright to autumnal, as well as some tiny, charming mini skeins packs. I feel like they’re sweeties – you can’t have just one!
Aside from the rollicking swaying to and fro of the mini bus along the winding Welsh roads (I think most of us put aside our projects until we were back on the wide and straight motorway!), it was a super show and fantastically friendly. Even down to the staff who were shooing us out the door when the show closed at 4:30pm! I definitely hope to get back again another year.