This is a great opportunity to catch pretty much all of the Sheep Tales makers at one event. There'll also be many other stall holders, craft demonstrations, workshops and cake! To keep up to date with what's happening visit www.skybluepink-designs.com/st-abbs-wool-festival.html or follow St Abbs Wool Festival on facebook.
This is what Jennie Howes (who organises the event with her husband Steve) has to say about what's happening at the event as of today 7th February :-
Our move to the Eyemouth Community Centre in Eyemouth proved to be a great success in November - so much so, that we've decided to stay there! With the extra room for more stalls and demonstrations, workshops, even a cuppa & cake - and somewhere to sit, craft and chatter we feel spoilt.
Once again the focus of the festival is on local professional craftspeople who we know that you visit outwith the festival - feedback from visitors would indicate that some of you bring shopping lists with you!
Since picking up the baton for organising the festival in 2013 I’ve become aware of the number of outstanding professional craft workers in this region and feel that St Abbs Wool Festival should be about promoting their talents and helping to stimulate long term relationships between us craft workers and you craft enthusiasts, after all, none of us are so far apart that a practical crafting workshop or personal buying trip couldn’t be fitted into a day trip!
Some of us are also part of the Sheep Tales project - click on the coloured text for more information about this - and we get involved in lots of different events in the region. We know that working as a group helps to raise the profile of all the individual members as well as the general awareness of the importance of the woollen industry to our rural areas, particularly in the north of England and Southern Scotland.
If you want to know more about anyone, just click on the coloured text in their name (if any) and you will be taken through to their own websites or facebook pages. I will be posting photos and more information over the next couple of weeks on the St Abbs Wool Festival face book page.
But now for the introductions and in alphabetical order! There are a couple more stallholders to be announced - keep watching!
Su Boyd, from Big Knitting North, is usually surrounded with the biggest balls of wool you can imagine! With which, she tells me, you can create something unique for your home (rugs, cushions, pouffe’s) and also for yourself (handbags) everything can be supplied in kit form with 25 mm needles or hook, patterns and your choice of wool, or you can just buy wool and experiment yourself!
The great thing is, that everything knits up so quickly - an inch a row – that you can knit a rug in a few hours …. but watch out your dog (or cat) may take a liking to your rug!!!
Contact her through the Facebook Page - Big Knitting North, follow her on Twitter @BigKnittingNth or for contact details visit her website www.bigknittingnorth.co.uk
Anna Turnbull from Biteabout Arts is a fibre artist, making high quality, hand crafted items inspired by organic forms, rich colours and textures of nature. She also creates felt vessels, think pumpkins, fruits and flowers! She makes wearable items, including bags, hats, lightweight nuno felted scarves and wraps where merino wools are felted into silk chiffon. Pictures of local wildlife and painted with merino, local wools and silk are also on offer. She also works in willow and sometimes mixes the two media to create the most amazing sculptures! Anna leads workshops in felting and willow work - see her website by clicking the link above for more details.
Lindsay Roberts aka The Border Tart and Blue Moon Indigo, is trying to turn us all blue! She says “I use natural indigo to dye a wide range of natural fibre yarns used by knitters, crocheters and weavers. Some I overdye with acid dyes to produce a range of complimentary shades. I indigo dye wool locks, vintage blanket pieces, pre-felt, silk hankies and wool batts for textile makers. Sari silk offcuts, buttons galore can also be found at the Border Tart's stand.”
Jane & Keith Jackson from Brightseed Textiles will be with us. Jane and Keith are now familiar faces at the St Abbs Wool Festival. As you know – judging by the number of you clutching them on the way out – they produce a range of high quality greetings cards and giclee art prints taken from Jane’s distinctive and colourful needle felted Harris Tweed “paintings”. Jane’s work focuses on images of well known local landscapes, landmarks and the wildlife that make this region such a popular and special place. Jane’s "paintings" are hand built from layered collages of vintage and contemporary Harris Tweeds and wool yarns, with each piece taking approximately 30 to 40 hours to make. Harris Tweed is a unique heritage fabric that is still hand-woven by crofters in the Scottish Outer Hebrides.
Jane also runs rag rugging workshops for beginners with fellow textile artist Margaret Kenny under the name of Rebel Rag Ruggers. All workshops run from 10am - 3.30pm & cost £40 per person (price includes all materials needed for the day.)
2016 Rebel Rag Ruggers Workshops
Laura Brittain is a designer, feltmaker and teacher. Combining creativity and skill and just using soap, water and gloriously coloured wools Laura creates a variety of unique felt pieces. Her work includes handfelted rugs, cushions, pictures, bags and baby bootees. She is also an experienced teacher and has run workshops both at home and abroad.
Marlene Brown sock knitter extraordinaire will be on hand to answer al your questions about knitting on four needles! She will also have an enormous pile of hand knitted socks in all sizes from the teeniest tiny newborn baby to the biggest man foot you can imagine! Fingerless mittens in a myriad colours are also available. Marlene will commission knit for you too - in the yarn of your choice, don’t be shy - ask her for that special pair of socks!
Sandra Nicol & Craig Finlayson from Chandlers, " are delighted to return to the St Abbs Wool Festival in Eyemouth with their selection of hand dyed luxury yarns.” That’s what Sandra told me over a cuppa recently in her café in North Berwick!
Inspired by the East Lothian coastline & surrounding countryside, Sandra & Craig work with a range of natural fibres, combining semi solid shades with coordinating hand paints. From 20g Minis through to generous 150g Skeins, Laceweight & 4ply through to Chunky... with everything in between ...there's something to suit everyone.
A small selection of other yarns, craft books & knitting and crochet accessories are stocked in the retail shop where you can also pause for coffee & home baking or top up with delicious homemade soup & savoury scones. Yes, yes I know it should be about the yarn, but the oaty scones are just delicious!
Cobweb Knitwear, Mavis Clark is our resident Shetland lace and Gansey knitter – two very different disciplines in knitting. She has travelled extensively in Scotland during the past 12 months, exhibiting and teaching at wool festivals and events.
In a recent conversation with her, Mavis told me that during the year she had received commissions for a series of Ganseys for which she provided original designs to suit the customers requirements. She says “In general I enjoy working in wool and looking into the history and traditions of this medium and I have met some very interesting people doing so.”
Mavis has some workshops coming up – see below for details
21st January Workshop at Studio 6 in Felton, Nr Alnwick.
18th February Workshop in Cheviot Centre Wooler 10am- 3.30pm
25th March Workshop in Cheviot Centre Wooler 10am- 3.30pm
29th April Workshop in Cheviot Centre Wooler 10am- 3.30pm
At these workshops she explores the traditions of Shetland Lace from beginnings to quite ambitious finished products. You can find out more about these workshops by visiting the Sheep Tales link at the top of this page. Thank you!
Eve Studd from Cornhill Crafts is a regular at the festival, usually hiding behind a jungle of plants for natural dyeing. Eve says
“I sell naturally dyed bags and silk scarves, plant dyed fleece, yarn selection packs and supplies, natural dye kits, hand made paper, felt items, dye plants, fabric packs and more. I also offer workshops in Natural Dyeing, Eco printing, Indigo & Shibori, Peg loom and Brinkley loom weaving.’
Sue Shaw from Ewetreecrafts is a needle felter extraordinaire and many of her pieces are made and displayed with a wry smile – check out the “stand up chameleon” on the facebook page. I’ll never forget the “Pelican briefs” (you can guess…) which she made for her first wool festival. You have to be quick though, so if you see it on her stand, then buy it – because it won’t be there if you go away to think about it!
She has recently started to compile downloadable needle felting instructions/tutorials for various items -available from her Etsy shop.
She will be holding a needle felting workshop in Wooler on March 4th (for which there are a couple of places left). She is also holding another workshop at the St Abbs Wool Festival in Eyemouth and I know that places have been going fast, so get in touch with Sue to book!
Examples of her work can be seen on YouTube, in 3 slideshows, 'A needle felted alphabet' "A felted fantasia' and finally, "more felted fancies"
Janis Embleton from Flight Weaving, creates beautiful hand-woven items in luxurious yarns, to suit all budgets, from sophisticated silk scarves and wraps for a special occasion, to tweedy wool notebooks and key-rings. You can commission Janis to make very special fabrics for that touch of exclusivity and individuality.
Like all of our exhibitors, Janis is passionate about passing on the ancient skill of weaving to others and regularly hosts workshops for both individuals and small groups; classes range from weaving without the use of a loom, very useful for the terrified or complete beginner, to on-loom techniques for novices and improvers. Fur further information about commission work or weaving tuition, please contact Janis at email@example.com
Judith Goodfellow, from Felton in Northumberland, is joining us again this year – she seemed to go down a storm in November - it was her debut event and I think she was surprised by the keenness of visitors to buy good quality yarns! Judith told me “I'm a local yarn shop specialising in British and Fair Trade yarns in natural fibres, including hand dyed and handspun yarns from local independent producers. I run a regular programme of knitting groups and workshops in my studio.” You can find out more – and book a workshop - by visiting her website - click on the coloured text above. You will see that many of our craftspeople are actually holding workshops at Judith's studio.
Karen and Tom Burn from Hunting Hall Farm are next up. With their Pure Northumbrian Organic wool knitting yarn from their award winning, wildlife-friendly farm in the north of Northumberland near Lindisfarne. Karen told me “This year we are highlighting our 100% Rare Breed Teeswater organic yarn. The wool of our traditional breed Teeswater sheep, highly prized for their long lustre coat, is spun into a luxuriously silky, natural coloured organic yarn, perfect for very special, soft shawls and pure, gentle baby woolies.
We also blend Teeswater fleeces with the finest wool from our mixed breed flock to create a beautiful organic yarn in a rich palette of colours named to reflect our Northumbrian home. Spun to 4-ply, double knitting and Aran weight by a small family mill, our yarns are certified by the Soil Association through GOTS, the Global Organic Textile Standard.
With the help of local knitters we've designed unique, easy patterns for some lovely small items knit in our organic wool. Our Wild Hare Beret pattern in Hunting Hall 4 ply is a 3 colour design depicting butterflies and hares to represent all the wildlife of our farm. We also offer knitting kits, prettily packaged with needles, pattern, yarn and all you need to create a wonderful hand-knitted gift. Harry Hare, our knitted hare pattern and wool kit makes a lovely gift for a small child – we have even knit our own Harry Hare Team who sometime help us on the farm.”
Lucy Robertson from Jeanie Bags is a new face at the St Abbs Wool Festival this time. She makes beautiful, hand crafted tweed bags, which she designs and makes in the Scottish Borders. She says "they are practical, robust and would grace any well dressed woman - wherever she goes." ... and I bet you could get loads of wool into some of them!
Come and see Eta's new wacky wool overs, scarves and wall hangings! Eta Ingham Lawrie has been exhibiting her beautiful woven hangings internationally and leading workshops and classes for a very long time! They are always fresh, inspirational and you can’t help but want to touch them! Eta also makes beautiful “woolovers”, scarves, dolls etc. She always brings along a loom and weaves during the festival, so come and see her working.
Jane Hall from Pinkminis was another new face in November, but once again proved very popular with festival goers. So, she's back again with her beautifully tailored ladies clothing and accessories made in wonderful wool - Harris Tweed, Lovat Mill and Andrew Elliot being amongst the weavers. The items she makes are highly wearable and practical with a wee edge to make you stand out. They really are gorgeous! New this year are some amazing random patchwork Harris Tweed tunic dresses...
Skybluepink Designs - yes, I’ll be there too! With my eclectic range of woolly goodies - hand spun yarns in all shades and textures, from lace weight singles to supercoiled necklaces and everything in between; spinning and felting fibres - tops and batts - lots of colours and beautiful natural shades from many different breeds of sheep. Plenty notions for knitting and crocheting - and you've never seen so many buttons! I will also be promoting my new workshop schedule, so if you fancy getting up to some woolly fun, just pick up a brochure!
Alice Elsworth from Whistlebare will be with us, selling luxury knitting and crochet yarns from her flock of Angora Goats and Wensleydale Sheep, which rare kept at the family farm in North Northumberland. The yarn is worsted spun in Yorkshire and then dyed by hand on the farm. Whistlebare also produces original, contemporary knitting and crochet patterns.
Gill Coull from Woolrush is welcomed back into the fold this spring – she actually sold out of her handspun yarns before the event in November and I am sure, has been super busy spinning from dawn to dusk to create a new range. She describes herself as a hand spinner, dyer, designer and textile artist, selling her own range of hand spun, hand dyed wool yarns, her own original knitting patterns for adults, babies and toddlers, Dorset Buttons and completed garments. She is inspired to create, like us all, I suspect by the natural world – and at all times of the year.
George and Louise from Yarn Garden are back with us. George is an artisan hand dyer of unique colourways of yarn including British wools and wools blended with luxury fibres such as silk, alpaca, or cashmere. As a trained chemist he knows how to properly handle and nurture the yarns, drying them naturally and slowly to protect the fibre structure from damage to maintain the softness of the yarn.
Louise makes sure that the designs to go with the yarns are just perfect and she has a great eye for a good book! Yarn Garden stock a range of high quality books on knitting, crochet and other crafts.