To mark its second year, the Wool @ J13 showground had almost doubled in size to accommodate more exhibitors, a greater range of workshops, more street food vendors, a packed schedule of entertainment – and plenty more fun wool and yarn-inspired activities.
Over 27 different artist-led workshops, with topics ranging from felting guinea pigs to lace shawl knitting, big broom crochet to button making, peg loom weaving, wet felting – and pretty much everything in between – were well attended by visitors keen to get hands-on and learn new skills. Meanwhile, two shopping marquees packed with some 82 exhibitors – including several traders premiering their products in the ‘Saw them here first’ zone – meant visitors could discover a vast range of woolly delights.
Kerry Ashdown, enjoying the Hat Exhibition
Raising awareness – and funds – for good causes was also high on the agenda, with an exhibition of handmade woollen hats supporting Brain Tumour Research. A sock fashion show on Sunday afternoon, featuring hand knitted socks made by exhibitors and modelled by Stafford dance troupe The Stafford Steppers, and raffle with the main prize a beautiful Wool @ J13 cake designed and donated by Kat’s Kitchen in Manchester both raised funds for The Childhood Liver Disease Foundation.
Last, but by no means least, on the fundraising front was the wonderful ‘Knitted Tearoom’ featuring delightful knitted cakes and cuppas crafted by the clever ladies of the Staffordshire Federation of the WI alongside real cakes and refreshments to buy. Proceeds from tearoom sales alongside cash raised during an auction of the knitted items went straight to a campaign to help raise £70,000 to buy a new Flaxitron machine for the breast cancer unit at Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital. In total, some £800 was raised for these great causes over the course event.
Val James & Ingrid Wagner with the Haywood Sisters and a farm lamb
Elsewhere on the showground, visitors could enjoy the dulcet tones of close harmony trio, The Haywood Sisters, whose regular performances brought a vintage vibe to proceedings; a ‘stash swap’ where you could trade in your stash, weight for weight, for yarn left by other visitors and demonstrations including sheep shearing, spinning and angora rabbit care. Co-organiser of the show, Staffordshire-based wool artist Ingrid Wagner, who runs the event alongside Lower Drayton Farm’s Val James, says:
“We are still on the come-down from what was an amazing weekend – we were blown away by the response of visitors, whose feedback that this is a truly unique event on the wool circuit is exactly what we wanted to hear. Once again, with this only being the second year of the show we’ve learned a huge amount, but the showground has the scope to continue growing and Val and I have so many ideas to keep the event fresh and unique each year. We’re determined for it to become a real ‘red letter day’ in the wool and yarn calendar.
“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful team of volunteers, without whose dedication,, hard work & smiles this event could not take place, everyone who visited over the weekend and to all the traders – we hope to see many of you back again next year!”
Sue Fuller, Volunteer, sporting a contribution to the Hat Exhibition made by Clare Copestake, with Ingrid Wagner co-organiser of the event
With a successful second year behind them, the duo has already set the date for Wool@ J13 2019, which will take place on 18th & 19th May.
For more details about the event, head to www.wool-j13.uk