Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shipston Wool Fair

We had a lovely day in Shipston on Monday at the first annual Shipston Wool Day. This idea was dreamed up by a woman who has twice been mayor of Shipston, in order to celebrate Shipston's history as a wool washing town. The sheep were driven into the river on one side, where the bank slopes gently down, and made to swim across. An elaborate system of hurdles stopped the sheep escaping up or down the river. Out they popped on the other side, nice and clean.

There were sheep:



This is a Herdwick, I think.

There was the biggest sheep in the world (that's not the Guinness Book of Records speaking, it's just what it looked like to me) weighing in at 18 stone (252lb/114.3kg):



That's her head and this is her back:



As someone remarked, "She's got a centre parting."

There was sheep shearing:



These are done, and look very naked.

I'm sure this one is saying, "I'm a bit chilly":



There was knitting:



These are the WI ladies (known as the Shipston KnitWIts). I had a nice time knitting with them. I was knitting a sock on five needles (mostly for effect - I usually use two circulars or magic loop for socks).

These are the socks I was knitting, back on the trusty Hiya Hiya needle:



Toe up Monkeys, based on Cookie A's pattern. I didn't do the conversion myself (though it wouldn't have been all that hard) but used this pattern from Knitting Sutra.

Here's a close-up of the pattern:



The yarn is KnitPicks "Dancing" (41% cotton/39% wool/13% nylon/7% elastic) sent to me by my knitbud, MA from PA. Considering we have never met in the flesh, I was astonished that she managed to choose the very colourway that I would have chosen myself - I truly think we were separated at birth. I can't seem to find this yarn on the KnitPicks site, so it must have been discontinued. It's coming along very nicely, though I do say so myself.

We had lots of interest from passers-by and I even taught two people to knit. Many people said they used to knit but didn't anymore. One mother wanted a refresher so she could teach her daughter to knit so here they are, knitting together:



There was yarn:



This is Jo's stall. Jo is organizing the UK Ravelry Day and informs me that my lace knitting class is sold out, (so that's another 10 knitters lured over to the dark side.)

Jo very generously gave me a skein of her handpainted yarn:



Here's the pink and purple bit:



The yarn is currently sitting on top of the monitor, while I wait for it to tell me what it wants to be.

There was spinning:



although here it looks more like drinking coffee.

There was cake:



from the local baker's.

All the local shops got in on the act:



Gingerbread sheep in the deli:



I even lent roving and my spindle to the florist's (where #1 son works on Saturdays.)

Sadly, Angela, who had the idea in the first place, died two weeks before the event, so never got to see the triumph that it was. At the end, Angela's husband, Alan, the present mayor of Shipston, announced that this was to become an annual event and that the second Shipston Wool Fair will be held on May 31st, 2010.

I, for one, can't wait - I'm sure it will be even bigger and even better next year.

I'm sorry I haven't been diligent with the blog of late but there has been a lot of prep for the lace knitting class which I can't really talk about here in case the students are stalking me.

I'm reading Alan Bennett's "Untold Stories" at the moment and he says, of writing a diary, "What I do always dislike is not having written anything for a while and then finding I have to catch up." Couldn't have put it better myself.

I'll have to start the catching up tomorrow.

1 comment:

allisonmariecat said...

Sheep always look a bit pathetic right after shearing. Lovely yarn, lovely knitting! I want to start a pair of socks, but I have an awful lot on the needles right now, and a queue that's stacking up.