Are you sitting comfortably? It’s time for another look around this year’s Marketplace to meet six more of our vendors. I’ve already started a wish list for this year’s Fibre-East and have a tin on my bookshelf to store £1 and £2 coins in. It’s surprising how it’s adding up; by the summer I ought to be able to treat myself to lots of lovely yarn and other delights!

For the Love of Yarn sell a wide range of hand-painted, luxury yarns dyed in the heart of Scotland. They stock a good range of British yarns as well as yarns from other countries. Lisa’s business started 4 years ago when she made a crochet hook to help her mum, who was suffering from arthritis, get back into crafting. Lisa has continued making these handmade polymer clay ergonomic grip crochet hooks in a wide range of styles and themes and will be bringing along a selection, as well as handmade polymer clay buttons and other knitting notions. As well as these, Lisa will also be bringing along  crochet and knitting kits to make items including shawls, socks and cushions. You will also be able to sign up to Lisa’s popular yarn club at this year’s show. Having seen the photos of the crochet hooks, I am definitely going to be taking a look at these in July!

For the love of yarn (5) For the love of yarn (1) For the love of yarn (2)For the love of yarn (3)

The Knitting Gift Shop are an online company run by Tricia and Ian Fothergill specialising in unique high quality gifts for knitters. They have ‘Natural Knits’ – their own brand of natural wool, knitting designs and knitting kits. Tricia designs all of the patterns and the wool is produced from fleece that they buy from farms throughout the UK and have woollen spun by Halifax Spinning Mill in Yorkshire. Another large part of their business is their large range of wooden & ceramic yarn bowls and wooden yarn servers & swifts, all of which are produced locally for them in County Durham and Tyneside. They also sell a large range of knitting accessories and gifts including a large selection of wooden, resin and metal shawl pins and brooches. Looks like the perfect place to stock up with gifts for yarn-lovers (and yourself of course!)

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Halifax Spinning Mill is a true Yorkshire Woollen Mill based in Selby. The mill is passionate about adding value to the vast amounts of wool that’s available in Britain. They are enthusiastic about promoting the array of rare breed wools  on our doorstep. Paul Crookes has worked in the textile industry for almost 40 years, progressing from a carding apprentice to a mill manager where he produced tonnes of manufactured yarn every week. After being made redundant four times due to the demise of the commercial textile industry in Yorkshire, Paul decided to take the big step of setting up his own mill. Halifax Spinning Mill is a full-sized mill housing a 62 feet long carding machine which weighs in at 24 tonnes. However, the mill is tailored to suit smaller batches of fibre. Using this unusual set-up, they are able to provide a high quality, bespoke service, making yarn to suit each customer’s personal requirements. So if you have a yearning to create your own yarn from raw fibre, why not have a chat with Paul at the show. He is able to work with many varieties of fibre and offers a range of processes. It all sounds fascinating.

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Shabby Sheep Crafts is owned by textile artist Talitha. She makes wool and felted pictures and sculptures with needle felting. Go and take a look at some of the photos on Talitha’s facebook page to see the the whole process that she goes through to create these beautiful items. I cannot wait to see them in person this summer! Based in the west of Norfolk, Talitha also runs needle felting classes, you if you’re local, you might be interested in finding out more when you meet her at Fibre-East this summer.

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The Border Mill, started in 2011, is owned by John and Juliet Miller. Nestled in the Scottish borders, this small spinning mill specialises in spinning alpaca. The mill has expanded year after year to meet the demand for specialist spinning and as well as alpaca, they also process rare breed sheep including Wensleydale, Gotland and Teeswater. They have a small and dedicated team of employees who love to see the whole process from raw fleece all the away to a finished yarn or even hand woven scarves, throws, and blankets. They will be bringing examples of these to Fibre East. They like to experiment with dyed yarns, and will bring their Alpaca Tweed range alongside a couple of new yarns one of which is Alpacalopi. This brand new yarn is made from pure British alpaca in rich swirls of colours inspired by the countryside of the Scottish Borders.  Alpacalopi is a unique blend of silky suri and soft huacaya alpaca in a chunky single ply that knits up quickly on anything from 6 to 15 mm needles. It sounds absolutely delicious, doesn’t it?!

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UK Alpaca specialises in British alpaca yarns with full provenance. Their natural and dyed fully worsted yarns are manufactured in the traditional mills in the north of England. Their aim is to maintain the reputation for top quality British alpaca yarns. They sell wholesale to knitwear designers, sock makers, weavers, dyers and retail shops, and are constantly promoting British alpaca. Set up by Chas Brooke and Rachel Hebditch, UK Alpaca supports British alpaca farmers by buying several tons of fleece a year which is hand graded on their farm in Devon by colour and fineness. The large quantities of fleece processed mean prices are competitive with South American yarns. Sounds like another one to add to my list!

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I think you’ll agree that we have some absolutely brilliant vendors coming to this year’s Fibre-East. With so many people passionate about British wool gathered together, it’s going to be a real showcase of the best of British! Get the date in your diary – July 30th and 31st. Why not make a weekend of it?! Don’t forget, you still have time to enter our caption competition here – you could win a pair of tickets to Fibre-East 2016.