It’s a little over 40 days until this year’s Fibre-East and preparations are well underway behind the scenes. 2018 promises to be the best show yet, with a huge variety of exhibitors to tempt you to part with your pennies. If you’ve not started saving yet, best you do! Over the next month, we will be taking a look at some of the exhibitors and the things that they’ll be bringing with them. You might need to start a wish list – just saying! Lots of old friends are returning but we are delighted to be bringing you some new faces too.

Fibre-East will be Lindsay from Dye Candy ‘s first show outside Northern Ireland so we feel very honoured that she’s chosen us! Lindsay started her business after the birth of her daughters and it’s grown and grown. She was nominated for the best independent yarn brand at last year’s Knitting and Crochet Awards, so be prepared for woolly gorgeousness!

A love of textiles was one of the reasons that Jennifer set up her business Jenpatola. She visits India four times a year, designing many of the products she sells. Jennifer works with weavers, embroiderers, block printers and dyers and all her products are fair-traded. She will be bringing a range of bedcovers, throws, embroidered shawls and bags with kantha work and suzani. It promises to be a visual feast!

Siobhan likes to think of her business, SiobhansCrafts as having a little something for everyone. She has weaving kits, hand spun yarn, hand dyed yarn and fibre, drop spindle kits and needle felting supplies just to name a few. New for this year is a mini loom necklace kit. This kit allows you to make a gorgeous hand woven necklace for just £7. The kit has everything you’ll need to make one from the little loom and necklace chain to the handspun yarns to weave with and of course fully pictured instructions. Also new for this year is a mini skein series of hand dyed yarn. These are a set of 5 mini skeins (either DK or sock) dyed to look like your favourite characters.  Sets Siobhan has done so far include My Little Pony, Adventure Time, Dr Who, Care Bears and Winnie the Pooh (just to name a couple!) It sounds like the perfect stall to visit if you’re looking to expand your skills and stock up on kits.

Graham and Lindsey from Coastal Colours are old friends of Fibre-East, having exhibited for many years. They specialise in  hand dyed luxury knitting yarns in 4ply and lace weights made from exotic fibres such as Alpaca, Yak, Silk, Cashmere and Camel, as well as Bluefaced Leicester and Merino. They sell exclusive, custom blended tops made to complement their yarns which they sell both dyed and undyed. For the felters they carry a large selection of dyed pre-felt pieces and packs of assorted dyed fibres. They show samples of our yarns, knitted up promoting charity patterns from P Hop, they collect donations for P Hop and were happy to raise  in excess of £200 for them last year. They also produce wooden buttons that are beautifully finished without the use of polishes or varnishes making them ideal for further processing, a range of hand made Lucets in a selection of different hardwoods and  polished stone drop spindles, all of which are  exclusive to Coastal Colours. During the festival they will demonstrate sock knitting on mini circulars and spinning with both wheel and drop spindle; they like to encourage people to ‘have a go’ and have a small range of Knit Pro products to support the type of sock knitting they promote. Graham and Lindsey also run dye workshops and sock knitting workshops for guilds and groups, so if that’s something that interests you, make sure you have a chat with them while you’re at the show.

Emma from Manfield Crafts designs and produces knitting and crochet kits. She will be bringing these along to tempt you this year. Her most popular kits are her wooden animals wearing knitted sweaters using the best quality yarn. Her kits range from £10-£16, so a kit could be the perfect present for yourself or a fibre-loving friend.

Romney Marsh Wools is a family business which was founded in 2008. The aim of their business is to deliver a wide range of products made from the fleeces of their own sheep from the 6th generation family farm. They use traditional British craftsmen to ensure that their products are made to the highest standard, supporting British industries and can be kept as a family heirloom; from their family to yours. Their range includes traditional woollen products such as throws and cushions as well as toiletries made with Lanolin from the sheep fleece and a wide range of Romney and Merino knitting yarns.

Our last featured exhibitor today is The Makerss. They will be bringing along with them lots of their hugely popular needle felting kits, their books, information about subscription boxes, retreats and workshops and all kinds of needle felting supplies. If needle felting is a craft you’d like to know more about, make sure that you visit Sophie and Steffi as they would love to share their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm with you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first look around this year’s Marketplace. There’ll be another post soon sharing some more of the wonderful woolly wares that you will be able to see at this year’s Fibre-East so make sure you call back.