Thursday, 27 August 2015

British Wool Show 2015

This is a picture-heavy post so I have added most of my images to the bottom of the page for you to peruse at your leisure. Enjoy!
I was very kindly invited to the British Wool Show this year to see it in its new location at the York Auction Centre. It was a lovely little adventure, especially because I had never been to York before and always wanted to see it. Getting to fondle some wool while there made it an even better stay!

Since I live a four hour train ride away from York, this meant an early start. What with it having been the school holidays and early morning, our first train was full to bursting and we only just managed to squeeze in. Our reserved seats were far out of reach, but after a few stops we could move again. There had been train cancellations which led to three of us having the same seat reservations, so my initial happy face wasn't happy for very long! Somehow my frustration amused my boyfriend, so at least one of us had fun. Luckily, the remainder of the journey was more pleasant.

We booked a stay over the weekend, focusing around the British Wool Show, of course. I did not consider that we wouldn't have much time for sightseeing, but we did manage to squeeze in some exploring for 2 - 3 hours the day before and after the show. I would like to return to York someday to see the sights because it does look like an interesting place with a lot of the historical architecture still in place.

Most of what we saw of said architecture, we actually saw while on the coach provided by the British Wool Show. The Auction Centre is a bit of a way away from the city so the coach was perfect. There was no specific itinerary and due to traffic we did have to wait quite a while to get there and back, but we wee in good company, of course. The coach was decorated with bunting and pompoms on the inside, which was a great start to the event.

The York Auction Centre is were, normally, livestock and horses are auctioned, so the exhibitors at the show were placed in pens. A convenient arrangement, though at first a little odd to behold. I peeked into some of the workshops taking place in a few pens and they did not seem very comfortable, to be honest. However, there were lots of interesting stalls for knitting, spinning, crochet, dyeing, embroidery, felting and more! The show is failry big and worth a visit if you love all things wool. The focus is more on fibre rather than yarn, which was great for me.

That said, I didn't buy much and this surprises me. I set myself a fairly generous budget, but I was also very particular about what to buy. I wanted to avoid yarn because I want to use up my stash. So that left things for spinning, but I didn't want to buy dyed fibre because I tend to go for the same things I have already got. In the end, what I did buy were all things I never had before:

I bought Teesdale locks from Art-Felt Designs by Nanny Lynn that I would like to spin into yarn as a kind of fringe. That should be interesting! There's 100g of undyed Polwarth, a fibre I have been very keen to try because so many spinners are raving about it. Also, it does not felt. I bought it from skybluepink-designs.  Then there's a pack of blue and green silk cocoons from Wheeldale Woolcrafts. Yep, I have probably set myself up for failure by wanting to spin them, but it had to be done. I really want to try it. The final item is the one I bought first of all an had been looking for for years: a big Ravelry name badge. They tend to sell out really quickly or are only available in large quantities, so I was very happy to find them at the show.

Just four little items, but I am extremely happy with them. There was another lot of fibre I was hoping to buy, but for some reason the stall was full of fibre and without a seller. I waited a while but he/she never appeared. Sadly, I had to abandon my wish to buy some Cheviot, another fibre that is new to me.

Just as I was about to leave, the Sheep Show Man started his entertaining and educational show with the help of his dancing sheep (yes, they do dance). Introducing each breed, he explained the best aspects of each before giving a young sheep her first shearing. It was done carefully and yet failry quickly and it was great to see it in person. It was far more interesting than I had expected. Make sure to scroll down for pictures of the show.

It was an exhausting show, in a good way, so that was me done for the day. The next day we were leaving again already, but not after another stroll around town (it's quite small, actually) and the discovery of a wonderful tea shop where I bought a rather unusual olive leaf tea. Tastes just like green tea to me, which I love, and it is one of my absolute favourites now.

And before this post gets any wordier, I shall leave you with my impressions of this long weekend adventure!

Leaving for the first leg of our journey

The York Wool Shop on the right couldn't compete with the nice pie sign next to it.

Dinner at my favourite sushi place

So much choice

Yes, that's a syringe of caramel sauce.

I always like timber framed houses.

York city wall

On the way to the show - with bunting!

Workshops were held in these pens.

A great wheel in action

These ladies made amazing felt creations.

Angora rabbit

Stunning wall art made from wool

The Sheep Show Man

She is a bit nervous about her first shearing.

She's chilllin'.

Ta da! A nekkid sheep.

Exhausted visitors waiting for the coach back to the city.

View from the hotel

York Minster, which was closed to the public at that time of day.


Dean Park next to York Minster

We got lost, but it's a nice place to get lost in.

The Golden Fleece is a haunted pub, but I was just interested in that sheep up there.


  1. I am *so* jealous. Think we may need to holiday in York next year... :D

  2. York is such such a beautiful place you absolutely should go back when you have the chance :) and I love the idea of all the different workshops and stalls in individual pens! I couldn't quite picture it in my mind but then you very helpfully shared those pictures :) I wonder, was there a smell in the venue from animals, or am I perhaps being naive? When you attempt to spin the silk will you write or share pictures about it do you think? I have NO idea how spinning works, let alone using silk cocoons and I would be really interested to see any pics etc :) jenny xx

    1. Hi Jenny! You know, I don't remember the smell of the place so it can't have been very strong. It probably smelled of wool, though.

      I will definitely write about how I get on with the silk, but it may be a while. I hope it works! There will be pictures, of course.

  3. You didn't buy any yarn, I am SHOCKED!! Great self restrained! It looks like a fabulous event, although at first a little odd to see the stall holders almost 'locked up'. York seems like such a beautiful place for a visit.

    1. Yarns weren't on my potential shopping list from the start because I didn't want to add to my stash. I didn't see anything special enough to tempt me, which is a good thing! I'd like to use up some more of my stash before buying any new yarn, but I am sot sure how successful that will be.

      York is definitely worth a visit!