Nine independent shows in the UK where you can see textile crafts

Tapestry weaving in progress

Banish the winter blues

I don’t know about you, but the winter months are not my favourite time of year. If it’s not raining, it’s cloudy, dull, damp and cold. We can’t make the Sun come out, but we can look forward to events in the coming year. I always feel excited when I am on the way to an art or textile show. And just thinking about which ones I might visit this year boosts my sense of wellbeing, with the anticipation of seeing amazing art and textiles, meeting makers, participating in workshops and maybe buying some yarn or fabric.

In this post I’ve listed some of the smaller, individual and independent shows I have visited and others I’d like to visit, along with their dates, locations and website links.

Up-to-date details of UK yarn and fibre festivals are here.

Reviews of some independent shows

Art in Action

16-19 July 2015
Waterperry House, Waterperry, Oxford, OX33 1JZ

Tapestry weaving in progress

A sunny summer’s day and Art in Action is my idea of a perfect day out! This festival of arts has something for everyone: calligraphy, ceramics, glass, illustration, metalwork & jewellery, painting, performing arts, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and woodwork. Wander around the gardens of Waterperry House, popping in and out of the marques where you will find artists and craftspeople demonstrating. Arts materials are sold in the Art Materials and Publications and the work of designer-makers is in the Market Marquee.

Take a look at my blog posts about Art in Action 2014 and Textiles at Art in Action.

The Big Textile Show

26-27 September 2015
Leicester Grammar School, London Road, Great Glen, Leicester, LE8 9FJ

Three-dimensional felted man

The Big Textile Show was started in 2013 by a group of enthusiastic felt makers. It covers all textile crafts with exhibitions, demonstrators, workshops and traders. Compared to many other shows, this has a local feel, in that the work exhibited is made by local groups and there are several nearby, independent traders, including Parvabrook who sell kits to make the adorable bears kits you see below.

Display of hand-knit bears

The quality of exhibitions is superb; it is great to be reminded that there are so many talented craftspeople locally!
I’ve not had time to write about last year’s show, so take a look at my blog post about The Big Textile Show in 2013.

On my wish list

The following are my wish list of independent shows to visit. I’ve heard great things about some of them whilst others are relatively new, so I don’t know anyone who has been yet. All in alphabetical order.

Edinburgh Yarn Festival

14-15 March 2015
Edinburgh Corn Exchange, 11 New Market Road, Edinburgh, EH14 1RJ

I lived in Glasgow for a few years and loved visiting Edinburgh. And starting last year, there is the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. This year’s festival has a great list of vendors and tutors with many from Scotland, including Ysolda Teague, Hazel Tindall, McAree Brothers, The Skye Shilasdair Shop and Jamiesons of Shetland. All good reasons to head north! All the workshops are three hours long.

Fibre East

25-26 July 2015
Redborne Community College, Ampthill, Bedford, MK45 2NU

Fibre East has been running for a few years. A weekend of family-friendly fibre and craft.


27-28 March 2015
Ricoh Arena, 71 Phoenix Way, Foleshill, Coventry, CV6 6GE

P-lush is a new show which is organised by Belinda Harris-Reid and Rachel Vowles. The show takes place alongside the British Alpaca Futurity (the largest Alpaca event in Europe).


20-22 February 2015
Farnham Maltings, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7QR

Unravel is an established show which takes place at Farnham Maltings, a centre for crafts. Most of the exhibitors are small, independent companies such as Coolree who hand-dye yarns in Ireland.

Colourful hand-dyed yarn

Wonderwool Wales

25-26 April 2015
Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3SY

Wonderwool Wales is a festival of Welsh wool and natural fibres. You can join the Woolschool, watch demonstrations, admire the fibre animals (alpacas, angora rabbits and sheep) as well as look round the exhibitions and trade stands which cover crochet, felting, knitting, spinning and weaving along with textile art.


26-27 June 2015
Mitchell’s Lakeland Livestock Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0QQ

Woolfest is another festival in a wonderful location. If you want to visit, please note that it takes place on Friday and Saturday, but not Sunday.


26-27 September 2015
Skipton Auction Mart, Gargrave Road, Skipton, Yorkshire, BD23 1UD

This year will be the third Yarndale. It is a creative festival celebrating all things woolly and wonderful.

I love the small individual, independent shows because each has it’s own quirkiness. Some may showcase work by local artists. Others specialise in British yarn or yarn from small, independent producers (lot’s of hand-dyed yarn at these). Some focus on particular fibres or a few crafts. They often take place in unusual venues. They are all one-of-a-kind.

I know I won’t go to every one of these shows, but I’m hoping, that this year, I shall visit at least one independent show that is new to me. I can’t wait!


Since I wrote this blog post I Knit London have announced that they are organising a fabulous festival of fabulous fibre.

I Knit Fandango

15-16 May 2015
Royal Horticultural Halls, Westminster, London

The I Knit Fandango is not the first fibre festival that I Knit have organised. In September 2009, I went to I Knit London and had a truly fabulous time. I attended a workshop on Fair Isle knitting by Alice Starmore which, although only an hour-long, really improved my technique. I also went to a talk by Alice Starmore and visited a stand where she cut a steek. Oh yes, a really big steek! Which you can see in the video clip below.

Alice Starmore cutting a steek

In case you are wondering, I Knit London was not an “Alice Starmore” festival, it’s just I love Fair Isle knitting and am a big fan of her designs. I also went to a talk by Meg Swanson, daughter of Elizabeth Zimmerman. And, there were lots of other wonderful things going on. If the I Knit Fandango is anything like the previous I Knit London event, then it will be worth going to!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Linda

    Thanks for the newsletter. I am still doing my crochet. Just got back from Iceland and guess what I bought back???? Yes knitting wool. I found a knitting association shop and got some ‘real’ Icelandic wool . Problem was choosing so many lovely colours and not enough space in the suitcase!! Of course now looking for a project .
    Hope to see you on the Squirrel course cheers Lindav

    1. Being Knitterly

      Iceland, how exciting! I visited a couple of years ago and went to that shop. I decided to buy my yarn on the last day to give myself time to choose, and guess what? The shop was closed because it was a bank holiday! ): Just have to return one day!
      We are planning the next Squirrel crochet course; I’ve not decided exactly what we shall do, but it will follow on from the ones you did there.

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