Summer Shows 2022

Stephanie Hoyleevent reports

Guild members demonstrated at a number of local farm shows. Here is a write up and pictures from some of them.

Sutherland County Show, Dornoch

For its return in 2022 the Sutherland County Show was held on a fine summer day and attracted good crowds with the queue to enter stretching back into Castle Square at one time I was told. The Guild was back in its usual position by the fleece competition in the Lifestyle Marquee, but we had less space than before as the organisers seemed to have reorganised the tent. We were rather squeezed into about half our usual space which meant that access to the tables with a wonderful array of members’ yarns dyed lovely colours and beautiful woven hangings and clothes from members’ weavings was rather limited, as we were constrained to sit in a curve in front of the display and only a little to the side. Nevertheless, the public enjoyed what they could see and some made an effort to reach the display. As always, many questions were asked about our crafts and joining the Guild. We gave away many magazines and encouraged people to contact the website. An interesting request was from someone from Caithness area who was looking for contacts for an Ukrainian family with whom she was working in that area. It would be good to think we can do a bit for one family. We had spinners with a range of wheels and Jane Kitchener attracted special interest as she spent the day carding and creating rolags, which has left us with ideas of how to organise next year’s display around a theme. Watch this space, volunteers! My thanks as always to all those who turn up to demonstrate and talk to the public. We seem to generate a great spirit among us which reflects on to the visitors.

Nairn Show

The Show was in a new venue, closer to the town, in a good flat field, though it seemed smaller than the one at Auldearn where it has been for some years. It was a bit slow to get
going in the morning, but we had lots of interested visitors as the day went on, and had a good day. The weather was kind – generally hot and sunny, but with a nice cooling breeze.

When I was first contacted about this year’s show, I was told they wanted our contribution to be educational, so that people, especially children, could see how sheep’s fleece is
transformed into garments. My mental response was “that’s what we do anyway”! However, as requested I took a day or two to think and got back to him with the idea that we’d have two teddies, knitted from handspun, one with clothes, one without, and throughout the day we’d have people carding, spinning, weaving (as we always do), plus someone knitting with handspun to make a jacket and trousers for the naked teddy. Margaret knitted the jacket, Janet the trousers.
There is a class in the handicrafts competition for an article in own handspun yarn. Janet’s cushion won trophies as the best handicraft exhibit, and the best knitting and stitching exhibit. Hilma got a second for her scarf. Congratulations to both! The ring shawl in the photos of our display was knitted by Margaret, the yarn spun by a friend of hers.

Three people asked us if we were interested in fleece, so I told them to contact us via the website and we’ll advertise in the newsletter. Thanks to demonstrators: Christine, Kathleen, Margaret, Janet, Agnes, Linda, Jenny, and to Patsy, Ada and Hilma who weren’t able to be there, but who loaned items for the display. Some pictures below:

Black Isle Show 3 and 4 August 2022

We arrived to set up on Wednesday knowing we were sharing a marquee with the fleece and crooks competition, but not sure how much space we would have. However, the sign on the tent said “Spinning, Wool and Crooks”, so we knew we were wanted, and the space was very reasonable, almost square, with enough space for a group of spinners to sit towards the middle without impeding our visitors. No tables when we arrived, but a kindly official helped us to take what we needed from the back of the sheering competition tent next door – dusty and cobwebby, but Sue and I cleaned them up with paper towels and they were fine. Liz, Terry, Norah and Roger arrived shortly after and we got set up quite quickly, then watched with interest as Fergus set up his weighted warp loom. We didn’t have a huge display, but plenty for people to look at. Terry’s Fishwife was a definite star!

For an hour or so after the Show opened, we were very quiet, then people began to filter down to our end of the showground, and we were intermittently quite busy. A family of four children came and had a go at weaving on the SampleIt, and came back on Thursday to have another go, and also to try spinning. It was all very pleasant and relaxed: Roger got on with threading heddles, wishing he hadn’t put on such a wide warp, Fergus started weaving on the weighted warp loom (this was quite a draw), Henriette began weaving her stunning multi-patterned, rainbow cushion cover, and Sue, Norah, Alison, Terry and I spun – Terry using a dealgan, and Sue spinning on the Saxony wheel gifted to the Guild. We went home about 7.00.

An early start for some of us on Thursday as the Show opened at 8.00, and more people joining us to demonstrate as the day got busier. Mary and Beth were there early, then Michelle, Aileen, Denise, Sonia and Sadie. They brought a few things to add to the display, and Michelle, Denise and Aileen had opted to wear their handspun and dyed items. We had worried about how to accommodate Sadie’s tapestry demonstration, but this was solved by Roger and Fergus moving one of the picnic tables closer to our tent. She was able to set up three tapestry looms, and had a lot of interested people watching and having a go. Unfortunately, she had to pack up mid-afternoon when her table was overwhelmed by people wanting to watch the dog show!! The middle part of the day was extremely busy, and we had a lot of genuine interest, quite a number of people (children and adults) having a go, and some potential new members.

Thanks to everyone who was there, you made it a very enjoyable couple of days! Special thanks to Liz who came just to help set up, and Terry who came back with her dog trolly to help Sue and I get the heavy stuff out to our cars once we’d packed up – much appreciated! Some pictures below: