The magnificent community knitting exhibit ‘Above and Below the Waves’, more than two years in the making, will be one of the colourful attractions at Wonderwool Wales 2016.
Returning for its 11th year on April 23 and 24, the wool and natural fibre extravaganza will be held at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells. As well as showcasing Alison Murray’s third community knitting project, a nautical nine metre by six metre exhibit which combines contributions from more than 2000 people, the fibre festival is doing its own bit as Wonderwool Wales encourages creativity.
Knitters and crochet and craft enthusiasts from across the UK are all busily working on ways to make the premier wool and natural fibre festival in Wales even more vivid and vibrant than ever.
Groups including the Bridstow Spinners from Ross-on-Wye, the Border Spinners from Ewyas Harold, Rhayader Spin A Yarn group, Ledbury U3A and the ECHO Group in Leominster have been knitting and crocheting streamers and other decorations to decorate the venue.
Jane Veevers, who is co-ordinating the groups, is looking for more people to help with this “yarn graffiti.” Anyone interested in joining in is encouraged to get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
Visitors to Wonderwool Wales will find a show simply bursting at the seams with ideas for creative endeavour. Attracting fibre fans from across the UK, the show provides a wonderful showcase for the versatility of Welsh wool, one of its founding objectives.
It also provides a wealth of opportunities to get creative with wool and natural fibres by joining in with have-a-go sessions or watching demonstrations on many of the exhibitor stands, taking part in the hands-on activities in the interactive area or watching daily demonstrations by members of the Welsh Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.
There’s also a popular programme of pre-bookable Woolschools, put together by the organisers, with something to inspire everyone, whether their interest is knitting, crochet, felting, weaving, spinning or fleece preparation.
The Woolschools feature a choice of one and two-hour workshops. Topics for the longer sessions include mapuche weaving techniques, the sought-after opportunity to join the talented Jenny Barnett and learn how to make a lovely little needle felt fish brooch and a Woolschool with Sarah Enoch to create a ‘cobweb’ felt scarflet using wet felting techniques.
There’s also the chance to join a workshop in the ever-useful life-skill of upcycling boring old jumpers into fabulous and funky new garments. Meanwhile one-hour sessions will cover hand carding, spinning on a drop spindle, selecting fleeces for processing and more.
Since it was set up in 2006, Wonderwool Wales has grown year on year and now covers everything from the start to the end of the creative process – from exhibits of alpacas and sheep, through raw and hand dyed fibres, yarn for knitting and crochet, embellishments, equipment, dyes and books to superb examples of finished textile art, craft, clothing and home furnishings.
Thanks to the wealth of quality exhibitors drawn to the show, craftspeople and makers can shop ‘til they drop. Then they can put their feet up and enjoy the ever-popular Sheepwalk, a woolly take on the catwalk. The quirky fashion show gives exhibitors the chance to show off their creations and, if previous years are a guide, it is guaranteed to be very entertaining.
It is all part of what makes Wonderwool Wales a much-anticipated date in the calendar. Opening hours: Saturday 10am – 5.30pm and Sunday 10am – 4.30pm. Tickets cost £10 for adults and children under 16 get in free. On-line booking is available, postage costs apply.