A visit to the Wonderwool Wales Festival in Builth Wells was a thrill for me as I have always loved sheep. I was brought up around sheep and I love the softness of their wool. They are gentle creatures and I love the way that they graze peacefully.
Waiting in the queue to “spin” into the event, I met up with some ladies who are passionate about wool. This was the 11th show but for me and others, it was a first. Carol, from Llanberis, was a member of the Gwynedd Spinners, Dyers and Weavers and had travelled with Cerys from Anglesey. Cerys said that she was going to be looking at fibres and some modern spinning wheels. She would also be connecting with guest speakers for the meetings that she organised.
Standing next to Carol and Cerys, with a sparkle in her eye about wool, was Lesley who had travelled from Walsall. She wanted to buy a bobbin for her wheel (a spinner then!) and a shuttle for her loom. So what else would they do? Have a good look around was the answer; they all agreed that the event had got bigger over the years but they stressed how important it was for them.
Another lady from Walsall, was Pat. She loved everything from knitting and spinning to beadwork and weaving. She also loved Dachshunds evident from the very stylish buttons she was wearing on her coat. Today she was going to look at broomstick crocheting.
Jayne had a passion for knitting, crochet and needle felt. She described this as “stabbing wool” but the image it conveyed to me was painful. I had no wish to kill off any wool marauders so I would not be learning about this craft any time soon. Her eyes lit up as she explained that needle felt was using fibres to make anything; almost soft sculpture. Jayne was hoping to buy something colourful but she was not sure.
Mel from Lyme Regis had travelled up the day before and was staying in a B&B in Erwood. This was her first time and she was happy to look around and would probably purchase some knitting wool. Her daily tasks were weaving in the day and knitting in the evening. Sounds like a good plan to me. Mel also had crochet-athons with her friends. She was keen on neutral shades – biscuit and fawn colours and would look for some Alpaca which was soft.
Soon I was talking to Meriel Fuller, a writer. She combined her love of writing, which she tended to do in the mornings, with her passion for creating items from wool – working on these in the afternoons. Very good time management! She was looking forward to woolly surprises.
Later, whilst sipping a well earned coffee, I spoke to Marie, another visitor from Anglesey. This was her first visit to the wool show and she was very passionate about fibres and yarns especially knitting and tapestry. She had bought some pastel knitting wools and thought that she might go back and purchase a pansy pin cushion that she had her eye on! She said “I have been knitting since I was 7!” She added, “It is therapeutic!”
The gentle grazing of the sheep in meadows and hillsides up and down the country had united all these women with their love of wool. It was a pleasure to have a “yarn” with them.