Have you started your shopping list yet? Or have you declared all ‘lost coins’ down the side of the sofa as ‘yarn’ money?! Here’s the next instalment of our Marketplace preview, to set your fibre-lust meter ticking, and to help you plan your day at Fibre-East this July. So go and get yourself a cuppa, grab a notebook and enjoy getting to know six more of our vendors a little better.
Jen Best from Beaker Button is returning to Fibre-East again this summer. She’ll be bringing a fabulous selection of Dorset button kits, patterns and threads for making buttons. They are all unique to Beaker Button, designed by Jen in her studio in Hampshire, and using her own hand dyed threads. Jen has been making buttons for over 30 years, having been taught how to make them by her Gran, and has been selling kits for over 4 years. Dorset buttons are perfect for all sorts of craft projects. Anything you can do with a normal button can be made with a Dorset button, and you can make the button to match you project. Dorset buttons were stitched by hand in Dorset from the early 1600’s to the mid 1800’s, with the cottage industry employing more than 4000 people. The Industrial Revolution almost put pay to the craft with the arrival of button machines, but thanks to people like Jen, you can learn how to do this fascinating craft today. Jen says: ‘We’re on a mission to make Dorset buttons world famous!’
If you came to Fibre-East last year, you’re sure to have spotted Crafts from the Dungeon‘s stand, with its glass sheep. The mastermind behind it all is Bee. Bee has a passion for making things using glass and wool. She spends her mornings with glass in her cellar/dungeon, her afternoons with fibre and her evenings combining the two. Her glass work is sheep themed and includes some sparkly multi-layered pendants, vases and sheep-display teams. Mainly weaving on rigid heddle looms, Bee freestyle weaves, mixing textures and colours as the mood takes her. Bee also designs spinning and weaving equipment which make these crafts easier to learn and more portable such as the Dizzy Sheep spinner and the Palm Loom. There will be demos at the stall and sample products for you to have a go on. Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it?! Bee is very happy to have her brain picked, clothes tried on, or just a fibre-y glass-y chat. So make sure you stop by to see what’s going on.
If you like gorgeously soft yarn, you’ll probably want to visit Lesley Hordon who will be there accompanied by one of her fluffy Angora rabbits. Lesley represents The National Angora Club of Great Britain. They are a Club for people who keep the English Angora rabbit for wool and for exhibition. Their rabbits are much loved and well cared for, living for up to 10 years. They are sheared for wool, like sheep, and not harmed in any way by wool production. The Club does not make a profit by selling the surplus wool from their rabbits to hand spinners, but any money raised goes back into the care of the rabbits, and goes towards the bills for food, housing, greens, hay and straw and any vet’s bills! They will be bringing Angora fibre for sale in a range of colours. These include White, Smoke, Chocolate, Lilac, Blue, Brown-Grey, Gold, Sooty Fawn, Cream and Sable. They also have some 50% Gold Angora/50% Blue Faced Leicester 4 ply knitting wool, produced by Halifax Spinning Mill from wool from their garden rabbits. There will be samples of Angora products, such as shawls, berets and yarns on display. Free drop in spindle spinning lessons are given on the Stand on request, along with advice on preparation and carding of the wool. There are drop spindles for sale at a price suitable for simply having a go. There will be a rabbit on display, either Orlando, a Lilac, or Dominic, a large White, depending on who is in best coat! Lesley will be delighted to give general rabbit advice, as well as any information on Angora rabbits.
A new face at this year’s Fibre-East will be Tania Oakshott from lovespoolyarns. Tania creates handspun art yarn for adventurous crafters and imaginative minds. She also makes mixed media art yarns in colourful combinations, and natural yarns not as you know them! Tania’s work is handspun art yarns using a variety of materials – silks, soya, bamboo, fabric, beads, trilobal, angelina (anything that she can get her hands on that’ll spin in!) The base of her yarns is fleece. She make a colourful range using a variety of media and techniques but has also branched out into naturals producing an interesting array of mostly rare breed art yarns that are spun in accordance with the nature of the fleece. She rarely cards or combs but tries to keep the character of the sheep. So if you fancy something a little different, you can choose from a huge range from thin wire core and delicate floaty yarns to chunky mega yarn.
Whistling Duck Alpacas will have a stand at Fibre-East in the summer. They breed their own Suri alpacas, shear them themselves and have the fleece processed into lovely yarn, great for crochet, light weight knitting and weaving. They’ll be bringing their yarn, available in a range of beautiful natural colours, some raw fleece for spinners and crochet kits along to the show for you. Recently they had success at the British National Alpaca Show (like Crufts but for alpacas!) with a 4th placing and a 1st, as well as champion female across all age ranges, so you know that the yarn you’re getting is going to be absolutely top notch!
Belinda Harris-Reid is the last of our featured vendors for today. Belinda started off with a career in music and theatre, but luckily for us, she started her own luxury British handknit design company in more recent years. Belinda will be bringing her luxurious yarn made from baby alpaca, silk and cashmere, patterns to go with her yarn and a range of accessories including shawl pins and yarn bowls, table swifts and drop spindles. Belinda loves designing beautifully constructed knitwear that is delicious to both own and wear, so if you like classic and luxurious things, be sure to pay Belinda a visit this summer.
We’ll be back again soon with news of other vendors who’ll be at this summer’s Fibre-East. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a competition to win tickets to this year’s event!