Return to Woolfest

In a fit of insanity week before last I somehow found myself booking a train ticket back up to Woolfest for the day from London. For my North American readers, allow me to explain the insanity.

Early morning scenery when it felt like the rest of the world was still waking up.

Early morning scenery when it felt like the rest of the world was still waking up.

Woolfest is held in Cockermouth, Cumbria - a gorgeous part of the UK known as the Lake District. It's kind of in the middle of the UK, and to be fair, London is kind of near the bottom. Google Maps puts it about 326 miles between the two, which is about 524 kilometers. And that my friends, is a lot of distance to cover in a day in one direction, let alone two!

Did I mention that Woolfest has been running for 10 years now? Amazing support from the UK's knitting community!

Did I mention that Woolfest has been running for 10 years now? Amazing support from the UK's knitting community!

But part of our adventure in living in London is about embracing opportunities when they come our way, and let's face it - as someone who is running her own business and also has the business of being a mum, getting away for any longer period can be more difficult timing-wise, and is also more expensive, so you just do what you gotta do.

The train to take me to Woolfest - or at least part of the way. Probably my favourite train operator in the UK.

The train to take me to Woolfest - or at least part of the way. Probably my favourite train operator in the UK.

So a day trip it was and at 4am I cursed my alarm, got up and was ready for the cab when it arrived at 4:45am to take me to Euston station for the 5:30am train towards Glasgow. Looking back at this time on the blog last year, I think I missed posting about Woolfest because well, my brain was probably mush from all of the faffing about it took to get up there, and the delays, and then re-organising the journey back.

This is the large. Note to self: a small will be fine next time, hell, the small is probably perfect!

This is the large. Note to self: a small will be fine next time, hell, the small is probably perfect!

This year I had the advantage of knowing where I was going, and also what to look for on the Ravelry boards in terms of people sharing rides, or organising buses. And to be frank, I got lucky. I happened upon a lovely little knitting group that had organised a minibus from Blackpool, which would be passing through Lancaster, and then onwards to Cockermouth. Lancaster is on the main train line up to Glasgow, and a straight three hour shot thereabouts on the train from London. All good!

Victoria Magnus welcomes knitters to Eden Cottage Yarns.

Victoria Magnus welcomes knitters to Eden Cottage Yarns.

Aside from a dubious introduction to stinging nettles when I had to beg the bus driver to stop at the side of the road (the result of an overly large cup of coffee. Note to self: don't order the "large" at Euston station - it's freakin' ginormous!) - the trip up was relatively uneventful and meant that we arrived around 11am at Woolfest with plenty of time to wander around and see everything.

I think I take a picture of sheep or alpaca at almost every show I go to!

I think I take a picture of sheep or alpaca at almost every show I go to!

I wish I'd thought to duck outside and take some pictures of the beautiful hills and area where the auction mart is. It's incredibly gorgeous and the weather was so wonderful. By comparison last year it had been chucking it down and the show was so busy on the Friday that one could hardly move up and down the aisles to see everyone's stalls.

Beautiful woven scarves from Laura's Loom.

Beautiful woven scarves from Laura's Loom.

I squee-ed when I saw these lovely vintage sheep.

I squee-ed when I saw these lovely vintage sheep.

My favourite Viola yarn from John Arbon.

My favourite Viola yarn from John Arbon.

The numbers of people enjoying the show seemed down, although organisers said they were on par with last year. As someone on Ravelry posited, perhaps last year there were more partners and children increasing the throng of people as they couldn't really go out and about with the weather so awful! Whatever the case though, it made for a lovely day wandering the stalls with the ability to stop and have a chat with folks for a bit and catch up.

hese lovely knitters were having a great chat when I crashed their party. Lea is wearing an amazing Bohus that she knit herself! So gorgeous!

hese lovely knitters were having a great chat when I crashed their party. Lea is wearing an amazing Bohus that she knit herself! So gorgeous!

This was my favourite part of the day - just having a chance to sit down and meet new knitters and see what they were working on and learn more about them and where they're from. And of course I always love seeing familiar faces too.

A ticket mixup meant I was pleasantly surprised to be in First Class on the train journey home. Might as well enjoy it!

A ticket mixup meant I was pleasantly surprised to be in First Class on the train journey home. Might as well enjoy it!

And now it's on to the next. There's a brand new show on the knit-erary calendar this summer. Unwind Brighton makes it's debut this weekend, 12-13 July 2014. I will be there on the SweetGeorgia stand, and Felicia will be there too - doing a couple of talks on Saturday and her spinning with colour class on Sunday. Come by and say hi!