Woolfest proves a hit with knitters

Woolfest proved to be a big hit with knitters

Cockermouth's annual Woolfest has just finished, proving a huge hit with all involved.

Heavy showers didn't put off the crowds who made it up to Mitchell's Lakeland Livestock Centre in Cockermouth to get a load of the 160 stalls on offer.

Hand-knitted and crocheted items were in abundance, with sellers coming together to show off their skills and try and encourage more people to take up a craft.

But this wasn't just an event for seasoned professionals (oh no!), as beginners were given a chance to learn some tricks of the trade.

Demonstrations were given in all manner of crafts, including spinning, basket weaving, needle felting, wool dyeing and even a little lesson in how to shear your own sheep, if you happen to have one.

Events like Woolfest are a great way to hone your skills and seek inspiration for your next project by having a nosy at what everyone else is up to.

This is especially useful during the summer months, when knitters might want to stray away from the warmer classics like scarves, hats and mittens.

One reason the 2012 textiles extravaganza was such a must-see event was its commitment to native breeds of sheep.

Rare breeds such as Hebridean, Ryeland, Coloured Ryeland, Jacob, Herdwick, Wensleydale, Teeswater and Shetland sheep were all on show, with experts revealing the best ways to shear them in order to preserve their valuable wool, ready for spinning.

Alpacas, agora goats, cashmere goats and angora rabbits could also be seen at the event, as Woolfest attempted to exhibit more rare fleece animals than ever before.

Organiser Jan Hicks told the BBC: "The animals have always been a highlight of Woolfest," and added that the new venue meant they could afford to spread out and accommodate a wider variety.

Some 5,200 visitors made their way to the two-day show on June 22nd and 23rd, which was a record number according its organisers, craft cooperative, The Wool Clip.

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