Tuesday 18 July 2017

British Wool Show 2017

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the British Wool Show. Longer established than Yarndale or Edinburgh Yarn Festival, but not as well known, this was a yarn show that I stumbled across via Instagram when one of the vendors mentioned it. I looked it up, and this year it was held in Thirsk, which is only an hour from Durham, so I decided that I would pop down for the Sunday.

The show was held in Thirsk Rural Business Centre on the outskirts of Thirsk. The venue had a large enough car park (there was just enough parking for everyone), which made it an easy option (we'll ignore the 8 mile detour I had to make as I missed the entrance to the car park, oops).

The venue was large and spacious, with a good variety of stalls. One distinct advantage of the show being less well known was that there was plenty of space to browse, without having to wrestle my way past people to get to look at things, making it a very laid-back affair. I was there for about 5 hours, and at no point did I feel rushed or overwhelmed (I'll be honest, I find the bigger yarn shows completely overwhelming and exhausting; while I love yarn, I don't love being in large crowds).

One of the things I like to do when I first arrive at a yarn show is to walk methodically round all the stalls and see what's on offer. I really enjoyed my first walk round this event: I saw lots of beautiful fleece (I almost tried spinning, until I remembered that I really don't need another hobby, and that spinning wheels and small children are not a good combination), a wide variety of buttons, lots of wonderful yarn, and myriad other things that were fascinating.

I was really excited about getting to meet a few specific vendors the the show. My very favourite stall was Alice Yarn, whose website I had stumbled across a few weeks ago, and it is an excellent example of a beautiful yarn website (go and look now!); she had a lovely selection of yarn, patterns and stitch markers (which I found hard to resist, more about that later), and pick and mix mini skeins. SkyBluePink Designs had a fantastic array of buttons [I leapt at the stall as (i) I have an obsession with buttons, and (ii) I remembered their stall from Yarndale a couple of years ago]. I finally got to meet Jillian from Mothy and the Squid, whose yarn I have loved for a long time.

A stand out feature of the British Wool Show was the Sheep Show, a live show where a man told the audience all about a selection of sheep, and their uses, and a live shearing (the sheep wasn't all that impressed with that section!).

The venue was a good choice. It had a cheap and cheerful cafe on site - I got a bowl of chips and a Diet Coke for £2, which was pretty much all I needed for lunch - and plenty of picnic benches and grass outside to sit on. I caught up some knitty friends and had a lovely time doing some outdoor knitting in the sun.

So what did I buy? Obviously I couldn't travel to a yarn show without picking up a few souvenirs. I could not resist the yarn from Alice Yarns, and picked up a skein of deep, intense purple merino/silk 4 ply, which will become a crocheted shawl over the summer (I'll be using Alice's Porthcawl Shawl pattern, which I also bought). Alice also had some gin and lemon stitch markers, which also jumped into my basket (I don't even drink gin!). I made two other purchases: a full rainbow of colour-edged wooden-buttons, which I am delighted with. I had bought them with the intention of using them on a garment for my daughter, but by the time I'd got home I had decided they were for me! And the final purchase was a ball of Opal sock yarn in the colourway Cheerful - it is sparkly (!) and comes in amazing pink and grey stripes that remind me of licorice allsorts (which are one of my favourite types of confectionery).

All in all an excellent day out. I wouldn't have travelled further than an hour for it as it wasn't a very big event, but it was just the right level for me and I really enjoyed it.


  1. What a great time you had! As you know I love those little stitch markers and I will probably need those buttons too!

    1. At least the stitch markers were easy to come by! The buttons may be a little more tricky (but I'm sure eBay will oblige...).