Friday, 18 July 2008

Australian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo


Up early [for us, we are on holidays you know!] - the shuttle bus picked us up at 8:45am. If I'd known how easy it would be to get parking, I probably would have driven but, having never been there before, how would I know? It was very quiet when we first got there, like they were still setting up or something. We decided to climb the hill [a reasonable slope, nothing too vigorous] and work our way back to the bus pick up point. There was method in my madness: 1) we wouldn't spend all day walking uphill [which my cold knees would hate] and 2) the theory of leaving the best till last! The sheds closest to where the bus left us were labelled woolcraft; on the theory that's where the knitting would be - we would wait and see it last!

I'm glad we did it that way. Firstly, the last pavilions held the alpacas. DD loves alpacas and so she was able to wander around and look at them with only their owners in the way! No paying customers had made it that far so early! She managed to find one animal that would let her pat it and it even gave her a kiss. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera out at that point and he was in no mood to repeat the performance for the camera!

When I finally managed to get her away from the alpacas we went to look at various breeds of sheep. They all have their own pavilions - one for merinos, one for Corriedale, etc! The sheep pavilions were a bit more on the nose than the alpacas so we didn't hang around for long!

Into the first 'permanent' pavilion we came to. By permanent I mean a fixed shed, the others were temporary tent-like structures [marquees?]. Here we saw the first of the retail stalls. We looked, admired and touched and admired some more; but didn't purchase anything. My motto for Shows is "look first, buy later"; that way I don't end up carrying a multitude of purchases all day!

Ran into David [who not only has my favourite knitting podcast but is also a member of the same group of the Knitters' Guild as DD and I] so, of course, we had to chat! More looking then it was time for the first of the fashion parades. Out of respect to the designers whose work was shown, I didn't take any photos. Suffice to say, there are some brilliant minds out there - what people are doing with wool in knitting, crocheting, felting and weaving is mind-blowing. The garments made from wool fabric were also amazing. Who'd have believed that wool could be almost transparent and ooh, so soft and flowy!

After the fashion parade, we met up with friendly Catsmum aka Susan and her friend Jeanette - I had a box of postcards to hand over [promised months back]. It's amazing how much my DD and Susan had in common! We took the time to have a cuppa together and to talk a little.

More looking, admiring and touching followed; including DD's discussion with Sarah Durrant about Knitpick Harmony needles. DD loves them; I wish someone had given me such wonderful needles when I was a new knitter! We had a chat with the owners of La Grange Woolcraft about dyeing and ended up going back to buy Landscape Dyes from them.

There was a display of competition items in all manner of crafts; I was particularly impressed by the first prize winner of the team entry [5 items made by a team]: it showed a jetty from underneath and on top, mostly done in felting - fantastic work! Once again, I didn't take any photos - they were behind glass and taking photos through glass is tricky at the best of times; but my conviction against photographing others' work without their permission also ruled.

We saw an amazing display of dolls with needle felted faces. The maker was demonstrating her technique and I fell in love with doll making all over again! I'm going to save my money and make another trip to Victoria to do the workshop [$130 for two days] unless someone can persuade the tutor to come to NSW!

So, apart from the dyes, and a special present for WM [can't tell you what that is, he's reading my blog to keep up with our adventures while he continues working to pay for our purchases!! LOL] what did I buy? Nothing! Yes, that’s' right, nothing!! I know you'll all think I'm crazy but I'll try to explain.

    I have more hand-knitted jumpers than I ever wear. Working in air-conditioning, it's too hot for even 5ply [sportsweight] jumpers/sweaters. With my frozen shoulder, I have trouble getting in and out of them so I probably wouldn't wear one unless I really had to - like today; it was so cold I had to wear a jumper; and who would go to the Wool show wearing a bought jacket? Lots of people actually, but here was one of my few chances to knit one of my gorgeous hand knits!

    The hand-dyes I saw today were all lovely - but I dye my own yarns!

    WM doesn’t feel the cold yet has two jumpers that he never wears - one of which won second prize in the local Show [State Fair] years ago! DD knits but won't wear hand knitted clothes [go figure]. Her reasoning is that other people need them more than she does.

    So, nearly all my knitting [until DD and FSIL have wee ones] is done for charity. I love alpaca [it's unbelievably soft] and the new yarns [bamboo, soy, milk, etc] are amazing. But I need budget yarn [not beautiful yarn] for my knitting projects so, for now, it's remnant yarns and yarns on special that take my knitting budget.

You may not agree with me and that's okay because we need each other to make this world interesting. Besides all those retailers needs shoppers unlike me to stay in business! Regardless of our non-yarny purchases, we had a good time and the Show was well worth a visit just to touch and admire and see what’s out there [and add another couple of must try crafts to my list!!]

Off to breakfast in the morning and then the mill shop! [plenty of remnants, I hope]


  1. It sounds like you're having a wonderful time - I love the picture with the alpaca :)

  2. Oh, I'm so jealous. Glad you're having a great time. I WILL make it there one year.

  3. So sorry I couldnt catch up with you while you were in Bendigo, but
    my health is not the best.
    Good to know that you both enjoyed the show.
    Regards Marlene.
    Bendigo Amigoes.

  4. Sounds wonderful - am very envious of your trip!!

  5. it was so nice to finally meet you - hope that Susan is on the mend soon...
    I've had a look through my box of treasures and didn't find a single one that I already had !!!! Thank you again for lugging them all this way.
    I'm sooo jealous that you got to the Ravelry ACS breakfast - and I'm sure that no one would've cared two hoots that you aren't members [ yet ]
    and I'm so glad that the reports were misleading and you managed to find some goodies at the Mill.
    the other s

  6. You both were at the Ravellers Brekkie on my behalf (LOL).

    Glad you had a great holiday.

    And DD got to pet a paca.


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