Yarn and Fibre Festivals

Knitting is the new black.  You heard it first here.

Take the UK. A few years ago, North of Watford, there was Woolfest, the Massam Sheep Fair, Wonderwool Wales and not really much else.

‘Herdies’ or Herdwick sheep at Woolfest

Now, even here in Scotland – where perhaps the midges, and a national population of only 5.3m (to give that some context, the population of London England is about 8.7m)  would, you’d think cause slower growth – there are lots and lots of fibre and yarn festivals.  but we make up in enthusiasm for what we lack in numbers up here in the North of Britain…

So then there was Shetland Wool Week.   Then Edinburgh Yarn Festival,  and now… Perth Festival of Yarn is in its second year.  I have not been there before but am so looking forward to teaching at it in September 2017.   There will also be a Create With Fibre stall at the Festival and Lee will be selling his amazing Dinky, Midi and Scarf Looms and blending boards.  He is having trouble keeping up with demand actually but promises he will have some on sale there!

Woolfest in Cumbria in the North of England continues to thrive and I volunteer at it every year.  Just love their sheep and spinning focus of course.    The Rheged Centre, also in Cumbria now has a wee wool festival in the spring.    They showed the film Yarn in the Rheged film theatre.   I totally love that movie by the way…

As the knitters, spinners, crocheters, felt makers and weavers just keep growing in numbers,  the yarn festivals are multiplying.  All are busy and there are many, many more that I have not mentioned.

Here are my wool festival highlights this year:

Janet teaches spinning at EYF

Courses at Yarn Festivals

Lots of you come to the courses at EYF and all of their courses have filled up fast.  In fact, the second year I taught there, they started out by asking me to do two and I ended up doing five courses.  I did get to have a very quick tour round the Festival in the last 20 minutes and yes, it is surprising what you can buy in 20 minutes…  Like all of the Festivals, EYF is unique and in particular it has a very international clientele.  There were people on the courses I taught there from New Zealand, Russia, Norway, Poland and more.

And I volunteer on the Woolclip stall at Woolfest most years, (the only year I missed was when I was away doing my Knit 1 bike 1 project) and I just love Woolfest, the Woolclip and all of it.  So glad to do my bit there.  The Woolclip is the cooperative that organises Woolfest and also the shop.  Higham Hall sometimes have courses in conjunction with Woolfest and I have taught a couple of those over the years too.  Along with all the regular courses I have done there over the years, and the recently added Higham Knitting Retreats.

So this year, check out Perth festival of Yarn.  I will be there both days and am teaching spinning, crochet and weaving.  Can’t wait.

Knit 1 bike 1 Update

The Knit 1 bike 1 book was published in May 2016.    Get your copy here. 

The work for the exhibition was completed September 2016.

The project has been featured on Radio Scotland three times, TV Border and in many newspapers and magazines.

And the first exhibition took place at the Textile Tower House, Hawick Oct-Dec 2016.  They loved it and declared it their ‘feel good exhibition of the year’.

More dates are now planned:  

The Carnegie Library Ayr, 1st – 10th April 2017

Stair Community Centre Ayrshire 21st – 24th April 2017

Heartfelt Dalmally Oct/Nov 2017 dates to be confirmed

Dumfries Museum 21st Nov – 9th Dec 2017

There will also hopefully be dates in Dalmellington where I live, that is being worked on at present.

Janet gets home after her 10 week woolly cycle round Scotland
A book signing at the local Chemist’s shop

Knit 1 Bike 1 featured on TV news item!

Click on the link to see a short video excerpt featuring the Knit 1 Bike 1 exhibition at Hawick.  The Textile Tower House in Hawick was the venue for the first Knit 1 Bike 1 exhibition.  Here’s what they said about it:

‘Everyone came out of the exhibition with a smile on their face.  Quite  few people visited more than once and brought a knitting or cycling friend back with them.   It was our feel good exhibition of the year and we were delighted with it.’  It was such fun to do the TV thing….

ITV Border video excerpt

  The TV crew admire Janet’s crocheted Glenfinnan Viaduct complete with train.

Janet demonstrates how her Brompton bicycle folds up.

crocheting the glenfinnan viaduct

UPdate:  It took several months to complete the Knit 1 Bike 1 artwork after Janet returned home from her ten week bicycle and art tour. The first exhibition took place Oct – Dec 2016 at the textile tower house hawick. Here is the completed crocheted Glenfinnan Viaduct, with the train on top.    Whilst transferring to the new blog, this post was updated to include photos of the construction and development of the viaduct.  Getting it to stand up independently was the hardest thing and Janet’s hubby Lee was technical advisor and engineer, finally sorting it with medium tensile fence wire!

On the date this post was first written, the Sunday Post newspaper came to photograph the crocheted Glenfinnan Viaduct.    Here’s what she wrote at the time – it seems weird now that so much has happened since, all the art work is pretty much completed and the first exhibition has taken place.  Here is the Viaduct in the exhibition.

It was not finished by a long shot but with a big push this week, all three sections and 21 arches will now stand up.  Have stuffed it, stiffened the legs with Paverpol and used alloy rods threaded through to get the curve.  The curve will be more accurate once it is attached to the base. It had to be in three sections that velcro together due to it being 12ft/4m long.   Now to crochet the base, some mountains and of course a train for the top.

Can you spot the knitted Brompton bicycle like the one I cycled round Scotland on in the photo below?

Janet posing at the end of our street(!) with several onlookers whilst the Sunday Post took her photo.

The Viaduct was actually held up by tent pegs at the rear, although it did stand up when it was finally completed.  it was months of work.

 

 

 

Crocheting the train at the pub in a campsite.  It was so easy to do compared to the viaduct itself.

The base and arches drying in the garden.

 

 

The first few arches.   They were now 3 dimensional but I still had no idea whether the plan would work out.

its easier to blog when you’re not writing a book…

The Knit 1 bike 1 book is finished. It has a lot more commas in it than i would like but is edited and all sqeaky clean. Hubby read it after the editor and pronouncec it a page turner! Publication date early May.

I have almost caught up with everything since getting home from the bike ride and am doing lots of workshops. Pics from Edinburgh Yarn Festival where i taught five workshops last weekend. Awesome festival!

A ‘Pre book’ book signing at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. This was before I even set off on the bike and they were so supportive of the project.
Spindling at EYF
Busy spindlers.
Spinning wheel class at EYF

Parrot rescue

Met this guy in Dumfries. He is from parrot rescue. This Amazon orange tip is 11 and will live till he is 85 all things being equal. Apparently he used to be a biter but being hand fed porridge and being given lots to do turned him into a lovely bird.

A rescued parrot in Dumfries. Parrot Rescue in the area had 90 of them!
This guy runs parrot rescue and even went to Morecambe to collect a parrot at no notice to save it.

More talks and workshops

The time is whizzing by now I am nearer home and have less than three weeks to go. This workshop a couple is days ago was at Victoria Bennett’s house in Edinburgh.  She is also a jazz singer and has a show at the Fringe this year.  Last night I gave a talk with slide show at penicuik arts centre.

Today I cycled 26 miles and am now at Longniddry staying with Angela and Bill. Haddington spinners are camping in the horse field and tomorrow I am doing a wee workshop with them on longdraw spinning. Wonderful fun tonight sitting in the field!

the workshop at Victoria’s

Lanarkshire – A trip down memory lane

Cycled from Paisley to Glasgow then hopped on a train to Lanark.  We passed through Uddingston where I spent ost of my childhood. Lanarkshire still feels like home and the people just seem to speak my language.  At New Lanark my wee workshop shared the space with the Quaker Tapestry.

notice for the workshop at New Lanark

A crocheted sheep, open studios and fundraising

Updated itinerary.
Scroll down a couple of posts to see the updated itinerary.  I have amended it rather than put the whole thing in again.
More art work practise going on.  
The sheep now has a head as well as horns.  The eyes are a bit of a challenge and need some brown crochet cotton.  Lots more work needed but the shape is not too bad.  Next to do the body.  chicken wire needed for the body shape methinks.
Meanwhile, I am printing out leaflets for Open Studios and willl have hands-on stuff for people to try on the day.

for those who don’t know, I am fundraising for the Knit 1 bike 1 project and the last day of the campaign is Monday 27th April.  Have a look at the Kickstarter video anyway, regardless of whether you want to back the campaign.  Two minutes long and a bit of fun!  

Baaaaa

the scottish tapestry, coffee n cake and knit 1 bike 1

out practising i a different way today – looking forward to all those lovely cafes and being able to eat cake without putting on weight, what with all that cycling. And hey – my first blog post from the phone… Easy! Been making letters to wear as a tabard with tapestry crochet. So different to knitting them. Third attempt will do tolerably well. Just had,a sneak preview of Scottish Tapastry peoples panel. Am going to be supervising it lots as well as offering FOUR free workshops there. Peg looms n weaving sticks, weaving for beginners, and two needle felt workshops.