Yarns of Leeds’ industrial past brought to life at wool festival

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THE second annual festival to celebrate the industry which put Leeds on the map has been hailed a major success.

Around 1,000 people visited the Leeds Wool Festival at Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills on Canal Road on Saturday.

Sarah Hughes with Gilbert the sheep at Leeds Wool  Festiival

Sarah Hughes with Gilbert the sheep at Leeds Wool Festiival

There were living history re-enactments looking back to the 17th and 18th centuries, when Leeds prospered and expanded as a centre of the woollen industry.

The Spinners of Aire staged yarn spinning demonstrations and folk singer Jon Harvinson performed traditional songs about life working in the wool industry.

Knitting and crocheting experts were on hand for expert advice and visitors watched fabric dyeing and textile workshops.

Also on show were the museum’s working looms, spinning mules and newly updated tailoring gallery.

Leeds Industrial Museum’s knitting group ‘Close Knit Friend’s came up with the idea for the Leeds Wool Festival, which was first held last year.

Sarah Barton, keeper of Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills and Thwaite Mills, said: “The festival went really well, better than we expected.

“It links in so well with the history of the mill so it is the perfect location for the festival.

“At one point it (Armley Mills) was the largest woollen mill in the world and it was one of the first to bring all of the processes of making woollen cloth together. We are definitely going to be holding the wool festival again next year and hope it will become an annual event.”