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Ingrid Wagner to display new needles at Woolfest
Jun '08
There are just a couple of weeks to go until wool lovers from across the UK and from around the world gather in Cockermouth for Woolfest 2008 which will be held on Friday 27th & Saturday 28th June, 2008. This year's event promises a mix of local talent, contemporary crafts and global influences as well as providing a shop window for raw fleece and a chance to see rare breed animals.

Local talent:
Last year, the Wool Clip cooperative launched the Carolyn Rawlinson Stall to commemorate the work of one of the Wool Clip founders who was also a key person in the creation of Woolfest. Sadly, Carolyn died soon after Woolfest 2007 but she met the first winner, young local designer, Jane Rawling, and this year's free stall has been awarded to Naomi Harrison (28) of Ireby near Penrith.

The award consists of a free stand at Woolfest and the associated opportunities to show work to over 4000 visitors and fellow craft workers.

“Last year's publicity created a lot of interest in my work,” confirms Jane Rawling who is currently working as a graphic designer in Whitehaven. “It created several opportunities for me and encouraged me to persevere with the clothing design. I am about to buy my own house so I should have a bit more room then to develop my ideas for using Herdwick wool and other natural fibres.”

Naomi Harrison set up her businesses three years ago and she has designed and made a collection of clothing from woven wool especially for Woolfest. “Some of the fabric has been woven locally in Carlisle,” she says. “I am really looking forward to Woolfest as it will be such an opportunity for me to showcase my work and, hopefully, to develop my business for the future.”

Contemporary crafts:
Among the 100 or more stalls at Woolfest will be several new faces including the author of The Knitter's Bible, Claire Crompton, with a range of kits and patterns as well as regulars such as Sophie Chaplin of Sophie's Wild Woollens who is based in Dent and makes beautiful clothing inspired by the flora and fauna of the Dales.

One stallholder who is returning to Woolfest 2008 with an unusual approach is Ingrid Wagner from the Northeast of England. Ingrid has already broken the world record for knitting with the world's largest needles when she knitted the required 10 rows of 10 stitches on 3.5m long needles in March.

She will be bringing her new 4 metre tall and 8cm diameter needles to Woolfest to start work on her year long Big Knit Project in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer. The Project will travel to events across the UK during 2008/09 and Woolfest is its first northwest venue.

“I am aiming to create the world's largest one piece knitted textile,” Ingrid explains, “and Woolfest will give the public a chance to get involved in the early stages. Knitting with 4 metre needles will be a challenge but great fun at the same time and I know that visitors to Woolfest will make an enthusiastic contribution.”

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