It’s less than four days now until this year’s Fibre-East – are you excited? Only four more sleeps! Squee! And the coming days are going to be extremely busy ones for Jan and her team of volunteers as they get everything ready for you. The marquees arrive tomorrow and then set up begins in earnest on Thursday morning.
Whether you’re an old hand at visiting fibre festivals or perhaps Fibre-East is your very first woolly event, we thought that a quick guide to visiting Fibre-East would be useful and get you in the mood for a fabulous festival of fibrous frivolity!
Fibre-East is held at Redborne Community College, Flitwick Road, Ampthill, Bedford. The postcode for sat navs is MK45 2NU. Make sure you enter via the south school entrance – look out for lots of colourful bunting and Fibre-east signs. There is loads of parking, and there will be people on site to guide you to a suitable parking spot. Blue badge holders have a specific area and will be directed to it as required. If you are travelling by public transport, the nearest station is Flitwick. A bus service runs from the station to the school on Saturday only, or you can take a taxi.
What to wear
Who knows what weather our good old British summer will bring next weekend! So keep an eye on the forecast and bring suitable clothing for sun/cold/wind/rain!!! (I’m not going to tempt the weather gods with anything else!) The vendors are all inside, either in school buildings or marquees, but you will have to go outside to move from one area to another. Layers are always good so you can cool down or warm up quickly and easily. Also, wear comfortable shoes as you will be spending lots of your day on your feet, walking around. Nothing worse than sore feet!
Do some planning in advance
Take a look at the complete list of vendors here and click through to their websites, jotting down any you are particularly interested in. Then you can make sure that you pay them a visit when you’re at the show. Take details of any patterns you are interested in making, such as yarn weight and yardage, so you can buy yarn with a particular project in mind. Take swatches of fabric or yarn for button matching too!
The marketplace is spread out over a number of marquees and halls within the school. Each one is named after a different sheep breed. The vendors will be listed in the show brochure you will be given when you arrive, so you can check out where to head to first. You can mark any favourites in your brochure to revisit later in the day, and don’t forget to pick up any cards or leaflets from vendors you’re interested in for future reference.
Set yourself a budget and try to stick to it. It’s very easy to get carried away with all the wonderful things on sale and before you know it, you’ve blown your entire yarn budget for the next couple of years! Take cash with you (vendors will love you if you have change too!) as there’s no cashpoint on the school site. You may be able to use a card with some vendors if they have machines and the wifi is working, but to avoid disappointment, cash is the best option.
We have a dedicated catering team on site with a seating area; you will be able to buy drinks, sandwiches, light snacks and cakes as well as more substantial meals. You may prefer to bring your own packed lunch with you and you will be able to sit on the grass or at one of the picnic tables on the paved patio area. It’s probably a good idea to have a bottle of water in your bag as well as an ’emergency’ snack if your energy levels need a boost!
If you are hoping to meet up with friends, why not join the chat in the Fibre-East group over on Ravelry to find out who’s coming? Wear your Ravelry badge if you want people to know who you are! We have a few Ravelry badges on sale too.
Being a school, there are quite a lot of toilets available, but be prepared to queue. There are also disabled toilets which use Radar keys. We will have keys at Fibre-East, but if you have your own, you might like to bring it with you to save waiting for a volunteer to come to your assistance.
There is ramped access to all areas.
Bring plenty of bags for carrying home all your lovely purchases! There will be a bag creche in the Farm Animal Sanctuary tent, located in a small marquee on the field. They will happily look after your bags for a small donation.
As with any event of this kind, it can get busy and crowded at times. If it’s all getting a bit much for you, take a break and go and sit somewhere for a few minutes. Watch one of the sheep shearing shows, wander down to the pavilions to see demonstrations of old traditional crafts from our visitors from Insulae Draconis or just sit and people watch for a while. We want you to have a good time at Fibre-East! If you need any assistance during the day, please speak to one of our volunteers. You’ll be able to spot them as they will be wearing hi-vis jackets. They will be more than happy to help you.
We were very excited to hear of two more launches at this year’s show. Third Vault Yarns have been collaborating with Cowtown Knits and will be releasing a beautiful shawl kit.
The Knitting Goddess is launching a new yarn at the weekend. Joy says: ‘We have a new yarn base – much like our gorgeous Britsock base but with silk instead of nylon. So Britsilk. The yarn is a 4ply with 40% Bfl, 20% Wensleydale, 20% alpaca and 20% silk. The wools and alpaca come from UK flocks and are processed in the UK before being spun by John Arbon in Devon. Here’s a photo of Joy’s beautiful dyeing to whet your appetite..
We are delighted that Michael from Sparkleduck has decided to come to Fibre-East following the untimely death of dear Heather earlier this year. There will also be a tribute to Heather and a memory book in the Main Foyer if you would like to sign it.
Spinning and Weaving Equipment
If you are thinking about buying yourself a spinning wheel or a weaving loom, then Fibre-East is the perfect place to see a range of different makes all in one place. You can try them out and see which one you prefer.
Anyone wanting to try out Kromski wheels and rigid heddle looms – visit Hans at Low Lands Legacy. For Ashford and Louet wheels and looms, visit The Threshing Barn and for Majacraft go and pay Hedgehog Fibres a visit.
It’s the perfect opportunity to try them out, get advice from experts and see which one you like the best.
So, get yourself ready for this year’s Fibre-East. Make your shopping list, bring your Paypal receipt if you’ve bought advance tickets online, and enjoy yourselves! We’ll see you this Saturday and Sunday (29th and 30th July) at 10am sharp! Keep a check on the blog and other social media for any last minute announcements and more sneak previews. Oh yes, and a chance to win a selection of yummy woolly goodies from this year’s show in another competition!