Sourcing Suppliers

I have recently been invited to take part in a wool fair at the Hearth at Horsley in Northumberland. I have been a bit reluctant to go down the route of participating in craft fairs and it’s hard to explain why. I suppose I still feel like I’m finding my feet with how I want my little business to progress. However, this invitation from Ellie Langley seemed like an opportunity too good to miss, a small event, local location alongside quality stall holders and the talented artists who have their studios at The Hearth. A chance for me to get feedback from the public about what they really think of my folk….watch this space!

There was however one snag, I had to ensure my folk were clothed in British Wool, after all, this is an event that celebrates British Wool. I had to check, I didn’t want to be making any false claims but I had been using quality British brand yarn. Sadly the answer was no, most of the wool I had been using didn’t come from British Sheep’s fleece. Still keen to participate in the event and slightly ashamed I had never considered the provenance of the wool I was using, I set about to find alternative supplies.


Balancing in his jumper made from Hebridean and Mule yarn!

I mentioned to Ellie my predicament and that I would be looking for something around a 4 ply weight yarn. Ellie happened to have some 4 ply wool herself that came via the North Pennine Wool Group, I purchased some. It’s a beautiful shade of deep grey, a mix of Hebridean and Mule and gorgeous to knit with.

I was also looking for a finer yarn to knit the jumpers for my MDFs  (Mini Driftwood Folk), it just so happened that Woolfest was around the corner, a woolly convention in Cockermouth.  I had never been to Woolfest before, I was due to head down to London that weekend, but managed to fit in a quick trip on the Friday, not exactly en route, but still worth the not insignificant diversion!  It was simply wonderful and worthy of a blog in its own right, I’ll leave that for next year when I plan to have more time to take it all in.


Lace yarn from The Knitting Gift Shop.

I found some beautiful natural coloured lace yarn at The Knitting Gift Shop, Ellie again had pointed me in their direction. I hadn’t realised they were based in Crook, just a few miles from the little village that I live in. All of their wool is sourced and spun in the North of England, but this story gets better!  The wool is a mix of Shetland, Blue Faced Leicester and Alpaca and I was delighted to learn the Shetland sheep from which the fleece is taken live less than a mile from my home. It felt like the happy ending to my quest to find the perfect wool. I should also state the Blue Faced Leicester comes from Hamsterley, a mere 5 miles away and the Alpaca from Redcar.


Mini Driftwood Folk – jumpers in mixed yarn from The Knitting Gift Shop.

I was itching to get started and decided the yarn was just a little too fine to use on its own, so I’ve been using a couple of balls together to mix the colours. It’s perfect and just lovely to see the different results from blending the 4 different colours together.  What I love the most is how the colours blend so perfectly with the driftwood I use to create my folk.

The wool fair takes place on Saturday 22nd August, it would be lovely to see you there.