Monday, July 27, 2009

Wingham Wool Work

Yesterday I and Best Quilting Buddy went for a Try Before You Buy day at Wingham Wool Work which is just off the M1 near Barnsley/Rotherham in Yorkshire - about 90 mins drive from home for me. As you will see from their website they sell all kinds of fibers and wool and we were thinking in terms of wet felting and needlepunching with embellisher machines to create backgrounds for stitch. You can also spin if that is your thing. The deal is that you can go and try - without any obligation to buy, the only condition being that you have to try lots of fibres and make samples and not sit there all day using one wool to make an entire wallhanging for free. Fine by me as I was frankly baffled by the choice on their website. Although I did buy variety packs for plain merino wool tops from them mailorder as soon as I got the Babylock.



I knew that they had this kind of three sided greenhouse thing with power supply and kettle for us to work in and this great decking area to have lunch on or indeed to bring the machines out onto had the weather been better. I anticipated that we would be given a selection of little sample bags ( they mostly retail for just 50p) to play with so, when I was first shown into this work area - which had a few bags of scraps lying around - I was a little disappointed to be told, "As for fibres - anything you can find you can use." But I did not understand.......


First I was taken to this shed - the Rainbow blends shed- and told to take what we wanted to use. Really? Anything? Let me at that gorgeous blend of peppermint and chocolate wool with white silk then. Then we went to this shed - normally out of bounds to customers - which houses silk throwsters waste and fibers like bamboo, soy, tencel etc and told to rummage and see what we wanted to try.

Next door was the English wools shed of which these bins were only a sample. We were quite taken with the Blue Faced Leicester Oatmeal and the Shetland Humbug for backgrounds

And finally the dyed merino wool shed. Again, help ourselves! Amazing.


We were only there from 11.30 to 5 so didn't actually bankrupt them but the ability to work with the fibres and see how they felt and what they looked like together was very illuminating and clever marketing as I shall now buy all my stock for felting from them and I am of course recommending that you do the same!
Although we didn't have to buy anything from the shop we all knew I was never going to manage that. I indulged in some pick and mix blends from the shed, ( you fill your own bags and it gets weighed at the till) some English wools and then some sample packs of luscious mullberry silk tops. The shop as you can see is packed with stuff to choose from including Olive Oil soap which I had not seen anywhere else.






My only criticism was going to be that the woman in the shop was extremely rude, until I realised that she was not rude so much as she was probably from Barnsley. Barnsely being in Yorkshire and Yorkshire being a place where a spade is a spade and closing time is in twenty minutes and by God are we going to make that clear to all people still shopping! Yorkshire forthrightness is an endearing trait when you get used to it but, being from the 'wrong' side of the Pennines it can still surprise at times! Yorkshire people also have a reputation for being stingy but such an attribute cannot be placed on Ruth and Alan Gough who let us roam free for the day and didn't even charge us for broken embellisher needles! Thank you, if you are reading.
Would you all like to see photos of my samples?

9 comments:

Garnered Stitches said...

OMG! I HAVE to go there next time I am "up North". Being from the left side of the Pennines - which of course is the right side (as in correct!) it was a shock to find that the roots go back to Yorkshire - apparently Grandfather moved to Lancashire for work - which explains the forthright nature that can sometimes surface! Thanks for telling us about this place.
best wishes

FELT 4U said...

This is definately on my TO DO LIST. I live in Israel and buy from Wingham Wool. Their service is excellent. Maybe next year I will make it to thier Workshops in August.

Kay said...

What a dream of a place! It makes me wish I had a) an embellisher, and b) a plane ticket to the UK!

Kristin L said...

Well, duh! Of course we want to see your samples! That shop looks completely fantastic and overwhelming at the same time. I think my brain would explode if I went there (but I'd definitely go if I were anywhere near your island). As for directness, I lived for 12 years in Germany, so I'm immune.

paulahewitt said...

i echo Kirsten when I saw 'well duh....'
what a fun place - Id love to visit.

janet said...

Careful! I live in Barnsley!!
Although I am really from Leeds. I buy all my felting/papermaking supplies from Ruth and can also recommend them. My friend Rita works in the shop.......
It did rain a lot on Sunday didn't it??!!

Pat said...

What a fabulous day - I can't imagine anything better. I'll certainly be looking to have go sometime soon. Can't wait to see the samples.

carrie said...

They run residential courses in the Lake District, you know. I am going on one next week. very good value :)

Jen said...

I'm going there this Sunday, I'm so overly excited I can't sleep! I'm a spinner, and looking forward to testing out every wheel I can get my hands on. Thanks for all the lush images, here's to another retless night! x