A growing interest in wool, natural fibres and the associated creative crafts saw flocks of visitors at this year’s Wonderwool Wales.

The lively and colourful wool and natural fibre extravaganza at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells combined workshops, demonstrations, inspiring exhibits and more than 200 quality stalls.

Originally set up in 2006 to boost the market for Welsh wool and woollen products, the show has grown year on year to become the premier wool and natural fibre festival in the Principality. It’s now an annual fixture for wool and natural fibre enthusiasts from all over the UK and abroad.

Alongside the Shetland Sheep Society and Ryeland Flock Book Society, exhibiting examples of the breeds, animal exhibitors include Ystrad from Carmarthenshire, who were selling beautiful, eco-friendly fleece, yarns and wool textiles from their flock of organic sheep and Flock of Ages who farm Shropshire sheep, Britain’s oldest pedigree livestock breed.

Cinderhill Farm were exhibiting some of their black Welsh mountain sheep and selling yarn and designer kits.

There was also a chance to see angora goats and buy mohair fleece, yarns and products from their keepers, A Crafty Goat Club, plus the opportunity to see angora rabbits kept by Bigwigs Angora and Snowdon Angora, and buy their products.

While not showing their animals, a host of alpaca farmers brought yarn and fibre products from their own herds to sell. Among them were Bird Farm Alpacas from Ceredigion, Sodom Hall Alpacas from Denbighshire, and Penrhallt Alpacas from Gower.

Sheep farmers and smallholders also brought products to the show direct from the farm gate. They included Beilidu Farm, who breed the endangered Manx Loaghtan sheep in the Brecon Beacons.

Bringing an international element to the event, there were stallholders selling yarns or handmade textiles from all over the globe, from Scandinavia to Southern Chile.

There was also the chance to see stunning work by the joint winners of the inaugural Wonderwool Wales bursary, Kathleen Lloyd from Carmarthen and Julia Davies from Llandysul, both BA textiles graduates from Carmarthen School of Art.

Kathleen’s award-winning scarves and tops were influenced by a visit to Jaipur, where inspiration for her fashion accessories for men and women came from both the architecture and the heritage of indigo dyeing and block printing. Meanwhile, Julia Davies found inspiration for her handwoven, mixed yarn scarves, clothes and throws closer to home, in the industrial heritage of Wales.

A highlight of the 2018 show was a massive Curtain of Poppies combining more than 57,000 hand-made textile flowers, sent in to Wonderwool Wales by groups and individuals from far and wide.

The special, community initiative, launched at last year’s show, commemorates the end of World War 1. After its first appearance at the show, it becomes a travelling exhibition before taking up its permanent home at at the Gower Heritage Centre.