This was my first year going to ‘Fibre East’, a yarn and fibre festival held at Redborne Upper School & Community College in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.
Ampthill is only one village over from where my sister’s farm is, so it seemed an ideal time to combine my visit with the festival.
It was a very wet day but still warm so a little uncomfortable in some of the marquees and halls. My sister dropped me off just before 10am and as soon as the doors opened I tried to get to one of the furthest marquees from the entrance, so I could have some crowd free browsing.
I’d done quite a bit of research before going and had written a list of items I needed and which stalls to visit and where they were located.
My Shopping List
- Rigid Heddle Reeds in size 12.5 and 15 dpi (for making finer fabrics). Bought from Crafts from the Clink (cheaper than buying online elsewhere).
- Wooden needle box. Bought from The Threshing Barn (I think!)
- Ashford Boat Shuttle for weaving with fine yarn. Bought from The Threshing Barn (I think!)
- Chunky yarn for Nordsee Jacke pattern. From the Wonderfully Woolly stall I bought 5 balls of West Yorkshire Spinners Re:treat chunky yarn in Calm colourway (a recommended yarn on the pattern). This yarn was reasonably priced making it ideal for a round the house/everyday wear cardigan in winter. I cannot get the colour correct on any of the photos, it is a violet colour. It’s from a cross-breed of BFL and Kerry Hill and it’s so soft it feels like acrylic almost, but nicer.
- Present yarn for making Allistar something. I bought a skein of John Arbon Harvest Hues in Sycamore colour. This yarn is a mix of 65% Organically Farmed Falklands Merino / 35% Zwartbles wool. For either a hat or some gloves.
- Supported Spindle and holder. I was recommended to check out IST Crafts. I tried both the Tibetan and Russian styles and finally decided on the Russian one, hopefully not just because it’s purple wood! The Tibetan style spin for longer but the Russian are heavier and it felt nice in my hand.
- Jumper weight quantity of fibre. I bought 600g (20oz) of John Arbon’s Harvest Hues fibre in Rosebay colour. It was only £5 per 100g so a substantial saving on buying the yarn which costs £17 per 100g. It will obviously take a while to spin up. They add an extra 10% for free, so I actually have 660g.
- Gradient skein from Yarn Mixology. This is a cotton/acrylic blend which is 4 ply but with almost no twist. They stagger the changes of the colours across the 4 threads, so that the switch between shades is very subtle. I am currently thinking of with weaving it, but not sure yet.
- Sticking to my list was working well until I was chatting to the lady from Third Vault Yarns and she had a lovely Bamboo and Linen blended yarn. She was wearing a top made out of just over one skein of it, so I bought 2 without really knowing what I’d make. I later went back and bought a 3rd skein of the same yarn, so I have enough to make Tailfeather by Heidi Kirrmaier (which is on my YOP list 😀).
- On The Knitting Shed stall they had their Ainsworth & Prin yarns in such gorgeous rich berry colours. There was one that was called Jam colour that caught my eye on my first sweep round. When I’d finished my list I did a 2nd sweep of all the stalls and bought a gorgeous Merino (70%) and Silk (30%) single in Brinjal colourway. (Brinjal is an Asian word for aubergine/egg plant…this yarn is much more like a very deep red colour.) I also bought a BFL smooth sock mini set in dusty pink and taupe tones. I’m not sure whether I’ll use them all together in the same project, but I loved the colours.
- A tiny amount of Angora bunny fur, from Skyrack Angoras. It is from a bunny called Sapphire, which is a blue bunny.
- When I was on the John Arbon stall I noticed they had some Polwarth fibre that was only £3.50 per 100g, so I got 100g as practice fibre for learning to use my supported spindle. I will likely dye it after it is is spun.
- A new knitting bag! There was a stall for Rela Designs, Carolyn Wright makes knitting bags with pockets for patterns, crochet hooks, needles, a couple of large eyelets you can thread your yarn through so you can leave the yarn in it. They were all lovely, but this one in a very pale heather colour took my eye a few times and in the end I bought it. They are all one off pieces as she gets off-cuts of upholstery fabric from a supplier. I used it on the way back home and it was great on the plane with so many pockets etc.
- A handmade faux fur pompom! It has blue tips, I have no yarn to go with it, I just really liked it!