Straight after Thursday's knitting group meeting Gerard and I travelled oop North for our first Woolfest. I'm a Cumbrian boy, born and bred, but we hadn't had the chance to get up to the show before. Ooh, the excitement was barely contained! After a stop off at a motel outside Preston (nice) we arrived on Friday morning and headed straight for the venue. It was a brilliant event - beneath the metal roof of a giant cowshed were yarns, fleece, sheep and alpacas, angora goats and rabbits, spinners, dyers and fibre fans from all over the place. We spent almost the whole day there, feeling up the fleeces. Gerard had a go with the world's biggest knitting needles (below) (you can have a go too, when Ingrid comes along for I Knit Day in September) and he gained a healthy obsession with the curly Wensleydale sheep and bought his first drop-spindle with a view to being a beginner spinner sometime soon. It was great to meet so many familiar faces and meet up with loads of people who we only know as Ravatars! We saw the sheep shearing and felt compelled to buy a fleece - no idea how we'll wash it, perhaps it'll be a 'gift' for someone...and we scrounged our way around the stands collecting for The Great British Sheep project with some success. Thank you to everyone who got so enthusiastic about it and watch out for our first photos from the fete this weekend. Personally I fell for the Herdwicks (pictured). I want one!
We stayed at a lovely hotel in Cockermouth, the Allerdale Court, and noted that it was pretty much full of knitters too...ProbablyJane's name we spotted in the signing in book, there were little knit sessions in the hallway outside our room, and in the evening knitting in the bar. Even at breakfast we saw the Freyalyn witch (sans hat as the ceilings were too low). We loved it so much we went back on Saturday for more! Our boot was stuffed by the end of it all and our pockets a bit lighter.
But this being my 'home country' there were friends to catch up with, family to visit and amazing views to be taken in, plus sampling some local beer here and there. On Sunday we headed off to the fantastic Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater for a post-Woolfest knitting group meeting. If anything it was worth it for the drive and the spectacular location, nestled at the foot of Mellbreak and with stunning views...and the sun even came out for us! A perfect end to the weekend, and thanks to those who made the journey there to join us. Heading back to the motorway we both felt like we were hoping for a reason to make us turn back.
You can see all of our Woolfest Weekend 2008 photos now in our Flickr gallery.