This year was the 10th Dornoch Fibre Fest, but my first time attending.
What a wonderful wee festival. Firstly I’ll share a bit about this beautiful wee town.
Dornoch is a beautiful town about 45 minutes north from me. The town centre is set back away from the sea front, with its beautiful long sandy beaches a short walk from the town centre. It has the Royal Dornoch Golf Club with 2 x 18 hole courses plus practice holes and even has a teeny tiny airport, which I have only ever seen model airplanes use.
Here’s a photo of me on one of the beaches at Dornoch last March.
It’s population is only about 1,300 so it is small, but in the summer it is busy with tourists and has a campground and caravan park, numerous B&Bs, some nice old hotels and a charming sandstone oldie worldie feel about the place. (Random fact – Madonna married Guy Ritchie at Skelbo Castle nearby!) I did manage to squeeze in a visit to Cocoa Mountain that sells the best hot chocolate. I had the vegan version with oat milk, but you can have soya milk instead. The vegan ones are dark chocolate. The regular cow’s milk version has white and milk chocolate. They drizzle melted chocolate all around the edge of the mug and drizzling down the side…and oh my its messy but sooo good.
Back to the fibre fest, which was split across 2 locations; a church hall and the social club.
Apparently the Saturday was extremely busy with people queueing to get in and out of the church hall. I was booked on a Fair Isle course on the Sunday morning so I was lucky to be there on the much quieter day, where I really got time to look at things and pick yarns with patterns in mind.
Our fair isle skills course was taught by a genuine Shetland Islander, Janette Budge Instagram link.
Her mother taught her to knit and it was interesting hearing her talk of the days when everyone was knitting and it just wasn’t right to sit idle in the evenings. And about how when knitting fair isle jumpers for the fishermen they would need to catch all the floats in the arms as the fisherman took little care of their jumpers, but they still lasted well. Also she explained that there are still people in Shetland that make jumpers for mountain climbers and about famous climbers of Everest wearing Shetland wool jumpers, ideal for their warmth but very lightweight. She said nowadays she hand-knits the yokes but mostly the plane bodies are machine knit. She was also telling us about the yoke bag course she teaches and had a lovely example and explained it was a great way of testing a yoke pattern before starting on a whole jumper. I’ve taken this image from the Shetland Wool Week website of her course. One year I will go along but the Shetland Isles is a flight away or overnight ferry and accommodation is expensive during wool week due to demand.
The course at Dornoch was a bargain, only £25 for 3 hours and included 3 colours of Shetland wool. (Loch Ness Knit Fest courses were £45 and you brought your own wool.)
We were making headbands, but mine is too small for my head (my fault as I should have gone up a needle size when she suggested). Anyway, I will sew one side and pop some felt in the ends and it’ll be ideal as a DPN project holder, ideal as I have my northeasterly blanket strip that can go in it. So here it is before its sewn.
I was using some of her enormous length double knitting needles and she lent me her ‘knitting belt’. This is a belt with a leather pod on it with holes in and stuffed with horsehair. You put the other end of your right working needle in it. It worked well and stopped me stabbing myself in the arm. Overall I will stick to very long circular needles and magic loop, over enormous DPNs.
After the course it was time for some shopping and I had 3 projects in mind…a brioche hat, a brioche shawl and a chunky jumper.
From the Bunloit Woolery stand I bought 6 skeins of the blue for Such a Winter’s Day“; jumper. I had planned on getting one of the yummy oatmeal type colours, but then thought about dog hair and grubby cuffs on a pale pink jumper I have, so went for this lovely blue. The pattern called for Worsted Weight, but others have used the same Aran weight yarn for it, so I should be ok.
The bottom 2 yarns are to try Brioche Knots hat. They were so helpful and patient with me trying to work out what would work. (My lovely hand-carved niddy noddy is carved by them.)
From Cookston Crafts I wanted to get some yarn to make some socks and a brioche shawl, both to go with my Chimney Fire teal cardigan. After my previous post, an Instagram and Facebook survey it is unanimous that my brioche shawl will be made with the middle ‘Emerald’ ‘60% merino, 20% silk and 20% yak and ‘Crathie’ 60% merino, 20% nylon and 20% alpaca. So it should have that hint of luxury, warmth and durability. I haven’t fully decided on a pattern, but I am thinking about Tributary which I managed to get when it was free when launched.
Skybluepink I bought 3 x 100g blends of 67% Bluefaced Leicester and 33% Shetland. Ok so I couldn’t resist the purple!
Kiki’s Craft Corner I bought some Polwarth to try spinning and a couple of bags of Shetland to try to spin some yarn to dye for more colour-work projects,
Last but not least, from Travelling Yarns I thought I should buy a hat kit to make use of my new Fair Isle skills lol. So I bought the Copper River Hat pattern kit which came with these lovely colours.
The problem is where is all this new stash going to be kept? I was thinking about buying another big plastic box and then thought a good alternative would be to this week knit up some quick bulky yarn patterns to make some room hahaha!
How I will find time to garden, do laundry, walk the dog or do housework with all these new projects added to my already large Ravelry queue! All I can think is “Thank goodness I am not going to Edinburgh Yarn Festival”