Open Day with Woool! Yarn Store The Hague

Open Day with Woool! Yarn Store The Hague

It only takes about an hour to drive from here to The Hague. Its a really nice city, Dutch center of government, home of many embassies and diplomats, site of the wonderful Peace Palace, a truly international city. And this extends even to the yarn stores! Woool is a lovely little shop packed with fibery goodies and creative activities, Pauline runs regular workshops and knitting groups, and she has a great eye for colour, its a visual feast as soon as you walk off the narrow street and into this cosy shop. And today it was truly an international hub of creativity. During the open day today the shop was buzzing with activity, I found myself speaking to people from all over the globe, UK, US, Holland (of course!) I heard a South African accent, me the only Kiwi, and did I hear a Scottish lilt at some point? And the focus of the day, fibery creations. There were people poring over knitting patterns and books, discussion about stitches and designs, others browsing the yarns and making their selections, and there was a lot of interest in the activities of myself, doing some corespinning from a multi-mixed up batt, Victoria Logan was there with her stunning animal creations ( http://www.victorialogan.co.uk) Andre was spinning on his Louet, from various bags of raw wool originating from, among others,  the Dutch Blauwe Texelaar breed, and Patty, with her wonderful Saori looms, a great attraction that took everyones interest young and er, less young! In the above picture you can see Patti demonstrating the Saori Piccolo loom, it was a major hit with the kids that had come along with their mums, and it was impressive to see how fast they picked it up and started creating fabric! I am quite seriously wanting this loom pictured below, (this VERY LOOM) to be my own. See my name written all over it? SEE? Patty is a Saori Dealer, her website is still under construction but she can be contacted via the email address listed on her page Here . She is a very knowledgeable weaver and happy to answer questions (at least, she hasn’t gotten sick of me asking them all the time, yet!) Anyway, I did more than just drool over the loom, really! Here is the proof! Above is my spinning from the afternoon, a soft and super bulky chain ply (navajo ply) made from one of my batts, which I especially packed with extra sparkle! And here below, are some of the yarns that are now in stock at Woool, hanging on the wall! I do believe there were some sales involving my yarn, and some batts too I think, and I know Pauline...

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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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