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Summer Wool Festival – Roundup

While I had planned to report back on Saturday and Sunday after the show, I was far too tired and typing a full blog on my phone screen was no fun. So here’s a roundup of my weekend!

Friday – Setup Day

I arrived at Redborne School around 5pm, much later than intended thanks to the awful traffic on the M25 & M1. I was tired, somewhat stressed, and had no idea where I was going. I am so thankful to Nick, Natasha and the rest of the organisers and volunteers for being wonderfully organised and helpful. On arrival I was told exactly where I could park nearest my stall in the marquee. I unloaded everything and moved my car to the camping area to leave room for somebody else to unload.

I set most things up, then admitted defeat at 7.30pm (cut-off time for setup was 8pm) and decided to do the rest in the morning. We had access from 7am and as I’m a morning person I thought I’d do a much better job this way. Plus I still needed to set up my tent! I had the gridwall and rotary hangers built and filled, but the table was chaotic. I also had to leave things off the floor in case it rained overnight.

Building my tent was thankfully much easier than expected. It went from this:

A pile of fabric sits on some grass.

to this:

A small grey tent.

in less than ten minutes. (Excuse the comment, I forgot to take a picture separate from my Instagram story.) I pumped up the air mattress, setup the camp stove and made myself some dinner. It was only noodles but it was hot and I didn’t have to go anywhere, so I was happy! I relaxed for a while, enjoying being sat outside in the fresh air, and went to bed at about 10pm.

Saturday – Show Day 1

I was up at around 6.30am on Saturday, which is about normal for me, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well I slept. I woke up a couple of times but easily got back to sleep. As is often the way in the light of morning, finishing setup took barely any time at all, and I had an hour spare to grab a cup of tea and read my book.

I was happy with my setup this time. I had a 3m x 2m stall which worked much better than the 2m x 2m I had at the last couple of shows. It gave people much more room to browse and allowed me to show off more yarn.

Before the show opened I got to know the lovely people around me. I was next to the lovely Kristina from Romney Marsh Wools. They sell a huge range of woolly things, from yarn to lanolin soap, wool slug pellets to raw and prepared fleece, all made from wool from their large flock of Romney Sheep. Opposite me was the National Angora Rabbit Club, who had a beautiful angora rabbit with them, and were there selling their angora wool and demonstrating how to spin it on their drop spindles and wheels. Next to them was Alison from Knit One Kits. We all got on wonderfully and I couldn’t have wished to be surrounded by nicer people. The people I meet at shows are one of the main reasons I enjoy doing them. When you work on your own for so long it’s lovely to be able to meet other people running similar businesses.

Before we knew it the show was open and the visitors were in! It got busy very quickly. I met some lovely people, some who I’d seen at previous shows, others who’d only shopped online before, and lots of brand new people too! Stitch markers were proving extremely popular, and I’ll need to make sure I replenish my supply before the next show!

Emma Ball popped by, who I’d only talked online with previously, and I finally met Becca from Rebecca Milton Designs, who co-hosts #WoolHour on Twitter with me.

After the show I neatened up a little but left most of it until morning. I made sure nothing that wasn’t waterproof was on the floor and headed back to my camp to make some dinner. I’d done so much talking during the day that I was content to sit with my book, and got another early night.

Sunday – Show Day 2

I wasn’t up so early on Sunday. I took down the tent and organised the car a bit to make it easier to pack after the show. Then I went to neaten up the stand.

I love Sunday mornings at shows before we open. Everyone’s relaxed because there isn’t much to do, and we all take the opportunity to visit each other and do some shopping ourselves. This does lead to the problem that as a lot of us are doing this, nobody is where we expect them to be! I found a few people I’d met at previous shows and it was lovely to catch up with them. I also made one of my two purchases of the weekend and finally bought a mug from Em Cross. One drew me to it so picked it up and it felt perfect. I tried all the others too, but kept going back to this one, so it came home with me.

A ceramic mug with a black glaze with dark blue, turquoise and pink lines, similar to a nebula.

Sunday was a lot less busy, as is usual at a show. It was still a lovely day and I met more wonderful people. My second purchase was made at the end of the day from Romney Marsh Wools. I was intrigued by their wool slug pellets so decided to give them a go. We have so many slugs and snails in the garden that whenever I try to grow anything they devour it pretty much immediately. As I already use wool compost from Dalefoot, wool slug pellets seemed a good thing to try!

A pack of brown slug pellets.

We did have one eventful moment on Sunday when there was a sudden torrential downpour. The rain flooded into the tent in exactly the way I was warned about. Luckily we were all mostly prepared for it to happen so it didn’t take long to make sure everything was safe. I was lucky to be on a middle stall rather than one by the side, so I wasn’t affected as badly as some. We all helped each other out and I don’t think anyone had anything damaged thankfully. A few soggy tablecloths but they’re easily washed.

Packing up is always much quicker than setting up. I still had to do it carefully though so I could fit everything into the car. The absolutely wonderful people from the National Angora Rabbit Club helped carry everything to my car while I loaded it in, as they were finished and waiting for somebody.

The drive home was considerably better than the drive to the show and I got home at about 7.30pm. My husband helped me unload the car and it’s all sitting waiting for me to organise it today.

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