Glastonbury. It Rocks!

Glastonbury. It Rocks!

What an incredible place! Everything about Glastonbury took me zooming back to my childhood, it was like uber-everything my hippie parents ever wanted us to share and enjoy, ALL IN ONE PLACE! What a time warp! There were the incredible bookshops, filled with books on mysticism, paganism, spirituality, natural healing, and classic literature. There were amazing crystal and precious stone shops, and the most incredible natural healing shop filled with all the wonderful scents you could imagine. Even the public library was a.m.a.z.i.n.g! At the end of a series of incense wafted courtyards through the healing center. I found it after eating a delicious chilli (that I swear has come straight out of my mums Whole Earth CookBook) at a vegetarian restaurant 🙂 What a day!   And of course, I was there for the Wool Festival 😉 I did some shopping. My husband did have to point out the irony of having travelled all the way from Holland to the Wool Festival so I could buy a DUTCH MADE spindle….  So ok, I can see how he could be a ‘little’ confused about that.  I bought it from Hedgehog Equipment, and it was hard to pass by all their other goodies!  However no one could reasonably question THIS: Some beautifully dyed Romney, Wensleydale, and Gotland locks from Sara’s Texture Crafts. I totally couldnt resist these colours, and they are now added to my stash. This will be my treat to myself when I get some ‘me time’! I also barely resisted the stunning dolls and creatures from JennyMade, and I thought the wonderful colours and yarns from Jillybean Yarns were really stunning. It was also lovely to have the chance to say Hi to Amanda Hannaford of Manda Crafts, I had attended a workshop she ran here in Holland earlier this year, and I hope to take more, Amanda is incredibly knowledgable and such a skilled spinner, I dont think there is anything she cant do with wool! At that workshop she showed me how to spin boucle, and shared so much information, she is a great teacher. Heres just a few of the cards and brochures I picked up!   After doing the rounds of the stands and displays we went on up the hill to a field with a perfect view of the ancient Glastonbury Tor. The hill is said to have once been the mythical Island of Avalon, and if youre a Marion Zimmer Bradley fan, you will have read one of (IMO) the best books about Avalon and the Priestesses who lived there. Its really no wonder the town is so mystically focussed, its surrounded by some of the most powerful mythologies of English Folklore....

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Sheepies in Holland

Sheepies in Holland

Sheep Events in the Netherlands! The Netherlands (AKA Holland) is probably much better known for its cheese, tulips, and clogs than for its sheep and fibre products. For this New Zealander, the fields look quite empty, with much of the grassland being used to grow hay. Fences are missing as paddocks are split up with networks of small drainage canals, crossed with little bridges with what look to be stand alone gates to nowhere scattered around the landscape. However, if you take a drive out in the countryside you will certainly still see animals, black and white Friesian diary cows (of course for the cheese!) graze alongside the many wild white swans, and there are always sheep. Not in the numbers I am used to seeing in New Zealand, but pockets of happily grazing sheep at regular intervals where ever there is farmland. And what kind of sheep are these? I did some sleuthing, and found that there are actually a number of very well established, distinctly Dutch sheep breeds. One of the most well known would have to be the Texel Sheep, or Texelaar in dutch (pronounced Tess-el-aar) originating from the island of Texel in the north of Holland.  Another very popular Dutch origin breed is the really pretty Zwartbles – which literally translates to ‘black stripe’, and so describes the standard appearance of this black sheep with its distinct white blaze (bles). These sheep are  quite sweet and have a gentle nature, they are often found in the many childrens farms throughout the Netherlands. I found some of these sheep at the Stadsboederij De Vos Heuvel (City farm, The Fox Hill) in Amersfoort. This is, of course, not big time farming with flocks of fleece and meat producing sheep, but it does have sheep, and they do need shearing. So each year there is a day planned to make an occasion of this, to celebrate the shear and educate the public about the sheep and the process of shearing them. On this occasion, there was a ‘Wolfestival’ (Wool Festival) planned around the event, so the farm was filled with stalls, people selling their handmade woollen items, yarns, roving, knitted and woven garments, spinning equipment, and also demonstrating their crafts. When I arrived at the festival I discovered that the shearer was just finishing the job of shearing a Zwartbles, and it was almost asleep! The sheep on these mini-farms are very accustomed to being handled, and the Zwartbles is known for its easy going nature, apparently this one was very relaxed during its shearing! I was used to seeing freshly shorn sheep scrambling to their feet and scampering down the shute to join their mates in the...

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