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Thursday, July 04, 2013

Cumbria & Woolfest 2013

We set off for Cumbria last Wednesday. It was sunny for most of the drive there and when we got to somewhere near Manchester we turned off the M6 and headed for Dunham Massey, just a few mins off the motorway. We stopped here last year too so knew it was worth the stop.
Dunham Massey is a beautiful National Trust property with a large park with deer walking around the park and a beautiful formal garden.
We had a quick look around the house but spent more time in the garden. It was lovely after a day in the car.
After a couple of hours we got back in the car and headed north again. Once we got to Cumbria we stopped at a service station and got some sandwiches which we ate at a picnic table. This little birdie wanted to join us. He got really close and we did give him some crumbs.
 On Thursday we had a day of sightseeing planned. We're seeing the Lake District one day a year. First we picked up some sandwiches for breakfast and headed to Ullswater.
 A beautiful view for breakfast. The weather wasn't great. It was dry when we set off but it didn't take long before it started raining. We stopped at another National Trust site: Aira Falls but i left my phone in the car so don't have any photos. It was a 1.5 mile walk up to the falls which were beautiful and worth the walk.
 Afterwards we drove on down to Lake Windermere and Stott Park Bobbin Mill which is a historial bobbin mill. Apparently the Lake District was covered in these bobbin mills and this one was the last one to close. They had a large undercover area with lots of history about the mill and then we had an hour guided tour and talk.
 We were taken all around the mill and the history of the mill was explained to us. We even had some demonstrations of how some of the equipment worked.
 Upstairs they had a large bobbin collection - most of them weren't made at this mill though. 
 The bobbins come in all shapes and sizes from small cotton reels to large mill bobbins.

 A view of the factory floor from the attic. It was a really great tour and I highly recommend visiting this English Heritage site if you're in the area.
 After the bobbin mill we drove up to Cockermouth and visited Wordsworth house (he was a famous poet) which was another National Trust property. Again, I left my camera in the car so don't have any photos but it was an interesting small house with a beautiful small walled garden.

We then headed to the show ground to set up for the show. We arrived later than we normally do but the set up went fairly quickly. I was happy with the result. Trying to transform a cattle pen into a beautiful display selling patterns and yarn is not easy.
 The challenge is to fit it all in and display as many knitted shawls as possible. We had a great weekend and sold lots of copies of The Easy Lace Collection and the Midnight Stole pattern as well as lots of other patterns and yarns.
 It was great to meet so many regular and new customers. I recognise so many faces from previous shows and that's great. I also met some of my new sample knitters and several designer friends. I wish I'd had time to chat to them all for longer. Meeting up with other freelance designers is always great. Talking to people who understand your work is always good but we were too busy for me to be away from the stall for too long.
Simon bought a rigid heddle loom a year ago and so far has only woven one scarf. We had a quick walk around the show before we opened on Saturday and at a weaving stall the ladies talked to us about some of the interesting samples they had on display. They all came from The Weaver's Idea Book and were woven on a rigid heddle loom, so I bought Simon the book as a thank you for helping me out for the weekend (he had to take 3 days off work and go back to his regular job the day after we got back). I'm hoping this book will inspire him to do some more weaving. I think he's planning to start a new project during our 'stay at home' holiday August.
I only bought some buttons, actually I bought quite a few buttons from The Textile Garden. I always try to buy from them at shows as it's easier than buying online and there's no decent button shop near us. I try to have a good button stash so when I have new designs needing buttons chances are I'll have something suitable in my button stash.

On Sunday we had a lie-in, then stopped and got some sandwiches and drove back to Ullswater to eat our breakfast overlooking the lake before we headed back down south.
The drive home was long and hot and I was relieved to get home. Woolfest this year was our best year ever and I'd like to say a big thank you to all of you who helped make it our best show ever. I'm already looking forward to next year. I'll leave you with one last view of Ullswater. 
Next time I'll tell you about my Tour de France/Fleece spinning.

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