Firstly, I can justify all of these purchases because my nearest actual 'wool' shop is an hour away, the excellent Ewe & Ply in Shrewsbury. I'm knitting in their very own Shropshire Ply from their own sheep at the moment, purchased at Wonderful Wool Day, you can see literally how it was made on their blog. Sadly, there is a wool shop in my village but not a bit of animal fibre to be had, however they do sell something called Shetland Mist, what's in a name? Well certainly not premium acrylic!
The only purchase I made without a plan was Iona Wool in Atlantic Blue and very unusually for me I hesitated and ran back at closing time for this. I am a fan of proper wool that feels like wool, not flimsy merino but something robust and with integrity.
Tuku Wool made in Finland which I'd never even heard of, fabulous colours and samples to drool over on the stall. I came away with sock yarn, hence the 20% nylon, I only wear hand knit wool socks and I want to poke in the eye anyone who tries to sell me sock yarn without a bit of man-made strength, they just wear straight through, I have tried in my foolish past.
I'm very excited about this Uradale Yarns , I missed out on the tour of their farm in Shetland last year because I was so busy but it's on the list for next time. It's an organic DK weight and I plan to knit Cascades by Michelle Wang. It's a Brooklyn Tweed pattern and I fully intended to buy the Brooklyn Tweed Shelter to knit it in at the show, knitters rave about it, BUT in my humble opinion the yarn quality doesn't match that of the excellent patterns. I must be in the minority but there it is, the yarn felt a bit squeaky and over processed and if it hadn't had a label on I would have guessed acrylic.
Midwinter Yarns have only good stuff, if someone had to buy me a surprise bag of yarn I could direct them to Midwinter and know I'd be happy with absolutely anything they had. I once knitted a pair of socks in their Raggsocks on the flight to New York. I've had my eye on Pirkkalanka for a while but never had a project in mind, I found Mayhem at EYF.
Mayhem was launched at the show and I don't think it's on Ravelry until the end of the month, it's a very cleverly constructed garment designed by Asa Tricosa. It was at Ginger Twist Studio and I was very impressed by what they had to offer, I imagine their shop must be fab, I tried it on and I could have happily walked off with it. It was knit up in Ginger Twist's Mashem Mayhem DK, a Blue Faced Leicester and Masham mix and I can highly recommend this yarn, I would have bought the whole caboodle if I hadn't been knitting a cardigan in exactly the same colour from Ewe & Ply. The Ziggurat Method engineering was new to me, I'm definitely going to be learning on the job for this one and if I needed any more enticement, there's a tiny pocket knit in a different colour so I was sold.
It looks uninspiring in the photo but this Alpaca Mohair from The Border Mill is just divine when knit up, they had a multi-coloured sweater on the stand which is something else I could have happily sneaked away with. I met the lady from The Border Mill a couple of years ago in Glasgow and bought some alpaca which was a real treat to knit with so I know it's good stuff.
I made a few smaller purchases at the show, lots of haberdashery and a killer car sticker but that will have to wait for the car wash. On Saturday we spent a very happy hour in Blackwell's and amongst other books I came away with Stylish Party Dresses by Yoshiko Tsukiori, her designs are simple, very wearable and easy to make and the pattern sheet is included. Why We Make Things & Why It Matters by Peter Korn, the blurb suggested it was along the lines of the best book ever written on making/learning a craft The Craftsman by Richard Sennett .
In case you aren't familiar with The Craftsman, in a very small nutshell Sennett's ideas are; 10,000 hours; to be the best you need to know your craft - whatever it may be - inside out and back to front, be able to take apart and re-build, re-invent; don't be concerned with where you are in the learning process there is value in where you are and it is important to be at that point; the better we get the more critical we are of our work. If you are any sort of a maker of anything at all or just interested and haven't read this then you must, I've given so many copies of this away and it never disappoints and even as the queen of Audible I managed to read it. A fellow enthusiast told me about The Craftsman at a quilt symposium I was attending at the V&A in 2010 that went along with their quilt exhibition, 'Hidden Histories, Untold Stories', she also told me about Shetland Wool Week, boy was that my lucky day!
Have a conversation with someone you don't know, you never know where it might take you.