On the way to our holiday destination, we broke our journey one night at Wangaratta, or ‘Wang’ as I’m reliably informed the locals call it.
As well as stumbling upon an excellent Indian restaurant, right next door to our hotel no less, we also got to stop at the home of Australian Country Spinners the next morning, the Wangaratta Woollen Mills.
In fact, when we were discussing where to break our journey, Sean had said ‘do you think Wangaratta would be a good stop over point?’
He had no idea how good.
Now, let’s be clear. ACS yarns are not high end. They in fact provide some of the most pedestrian and awful novelty yarns you’re likely to see. But they also make some damn fine, solidly reliable Australian wool products. When you go to the mill shop, you’re greeted by a site like this.
Mountains of mill ends bagged up for bargain prices. It’s a bit pot luck as to what you get. There are no labels and you have to sniff out the good stuff. It’s very much a kid in a lolly shop kind of scenario though – the fibery fumes go straight to your head and you think you need to buy SO much.
Which I did.
That’s about 4kg or 8lb worth of wool, mainly 4ply and Patonyle sock yarn – again, not labelled, but not hard to spot. Down the bottom of the bag, you’ll see a big white blob. That’s one of the great treasures. Almost a whole kilo of white 2ply which I have been teasing my sister, Fee, saying it would make a great wedding shawl. Hint hint.
There’s been suggestion that I was restrained, perhaps too restrained, that I could have bought more. Yeah, I could have. But it’ll take me forever to work through that massive bag as it is. I’m happy. I think you can see from the grin Sean captured that I was like a kid at Christmas.
I’ll just say though that the experience was slightly soured by the attitude of the shop. We took a couple of photos, just like the one up the top – very general photos with no real information on prices or anything. The woman behind the counter said that we had to stop taking photos and what were they for? I said to send to a friend. She said ‘that friend might be a competitor.’ OK, fair enough we should have asked I suppose but honestly, what competitor? And what would I be revealing? As RoseRed later said, ‘you mean you might let on their secret that they sell yarn?’ Yeah. Right. The woman said the owner would confiscate our phones if he saw us.
I’d like to have seen him try.
But it was fun and I got some nice stuff I’ll enjoy using. It was good practice for July when I’ll go to the Bendigo Woollen Mills. Now that’ll be a hoot.