Woolfest 2015 is taking shape after a huge response to its call for stallholders and with a plan to make even more of its sheep breed connections.
“Every year we wonder if the growth trend in wool crafts will continue,” says Marion Woolcott, one of Woolfest’s organisers, “but the demand for stalls has been as strong as ever.”
” We were about 45% over subscribed this year and there are some wonderful new businesses coming to Cockermouth for the first time this June. It is great in some ways – lots of opportunities to refresh the event and find out more about new businesses – but the demand is also a real challenge for us as organisers as we hate to disappoint people who’ve been at Woolfest for several years. I think we have the balance of continuity and fresh faces about right though as visitors seem to come back every year.”
A tapestry of wool crafts
Two different aspects of tapestry will be to the fore this year with Maggie Jeffers of Fox Tapestry bringing her kits to the Carolyn Rawlinson Memorial Stall and part of Kendal’s Quaker Tapestry also being on display.
“Maggie’s designs are unusual and she uses all naturally-dyed British wool,” says Julia Neubauer of The Wool Clip, who was involved in her selection.
“Her application for a stall at Woolfest was beautiful and a work of art in itself. When we realised that Fox Tapestry is also quite a young business, it seemed the ideal candidate for this year’s Memorial Stall in memory of one of Woolfest’s founders, Carolyn Rawlinson.”
Also on a tapestry theme, five panels of the renowned Quaker Tapestry will be heading north from Kendal to Cockermouth to be part of an exhibition area at Woolfest.
More than 4000 men, women and children have been involved in making the Tapestry, which is made up of 77 panels in all and features all aspects of Quaker life, past and present.
Bridget Guest and others from her Cumbrian team will be accompanying the panels to Woolfest and explaining the unique techniques and stitches used in their creation.
“This is something a bit different for us,” says Marion Woolcott, “but we’re hoping that visitors to Woolfest will be sufficiently intrigued and impressed that they’ll also want to find out more and maybe visit the full Quaker Tapestry in Kendal on a future visit.”
All about animals
One of the things that marks out Woolfest as the original British festival of wool is its focus on the rare breeds, fleece animals and raw fleece that are at the roots of all things wool.
For Woolfest 2015, more space will be given over to the livestock side of the event and several new breeds are expected to join the Herdwicks and other animals taking part in the popular Rare Breeds Parade.
“Last year, the lambs were a particular favourite, especially the cuddly Greyface Dartmoor,” says Alice Underwood, one of the organisers, “More lambs will be present at the event this year, including Manx Loaghtan and Wensleydale, and we are delighted to also have the amazing Valais Blacknose sheep which won all the plaudits for cuteness after they appeared on BBC Countryfile last year.”
“Visitors to Woolfest always seem to appreciate our unique approach of including every stage of wool from the animals themselves, with demonstrations of shearing, right through to finished goods. This certainly adds to the family appeal of the event.”
Further details of all aspects of Woolfest 2015 are on the website at www.woolfest.co.uk.
Woolfest 2015 takes place on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 June from 10am when the event takes over Mitchell’s Lakeland Livestock Centre in Cockermouth for those two days.
Entry is just £8 per day (including full programme) with free entry for accompanied children.
Directions and details can be found at www.woolfest.co.uk or on the event’s Facebook page or by calling The Wool Clip at Caldbeck on 016974 78707 during shop hours.