The founder of a West Wales company, who hand dyes British wool yarns using botanical extracts and natural dyeing methods, can’t wait to launch two new products at next month’s Wonderwool Wales.

Helen Hickman, owner of Nellie and Eve – – based near Llanwrda, is a massive fan of the award-winning show that celebrates all that’s great about Welsh wool and natural fibres.

“It’s the best show ever,” says Helen, who named her business after her grandmothers, Nellie and Eve. “It never fails to amaze me that every stall in the three halls has something completely different. I remember going to my first show and being absolutely amazed at how incredibly inspirational it was.”

More than 230 exhibitors have booked their places at this year’s 17th Wonderwool Wales at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells on April 22 and 23.

The annual festival brings together people and businesses with a passion for Welsh wool and its versatility as a material for creative crafts, designer clothes, home furnishings and more.

Wonderwool Wales covers everything from the start to the end of the creative process. Exhibits of sheep, raw and hand dyed fibres, yarn for knitting and crochet, embellishments, equipment, dyes and books can be found alongside superb examples of finished textile art, craft, clothing and home furnishings.

Nellie and Eve founder Helen Hickman with some of her yarn. Credit: Nellie and Eve/Helen Hickman.

Nellie and Eve will be launching two yarns that have been spun especially for Wonderwool Wales.

One is a Blue Faced Leicester yarn made from fleece selected by Helen from a local farm. The other is a yarn spun from the fleece of a small flock of Shetland sheep from the farm next door to where she lives.

“The important things for me are that I am supporting local farms and the footprint of having the yarn produced is as small as possible,” said Helen, who moved to Wales from Somerset with her husband, Simon, 20 years ago.

As she was surrounded by sheep, it seemed only natural that she launched a wool-based business, having been taught how to knit and crochet as a child in Surrey. She learnt how to spin in weave in Wales.

Helen, who also runs workshops on spinning and plant dyeing wool, says there’s a “lost generation” of people who didn’t get taught the creative skills but are now keen to learn.

The colours of the Nellie and Eve’s yarns are inspired by the landscape and changing seasons of a Welsh mountain.

Sourced from small, local farms, the entire production of exclusive ‘Limited Edition’ and ‘Single Farm’ collections is kept to within 50 miles of Helen’s studio and spun at a family owned woollen mill, Curlew Weavers at Rhydlewis, Llandysul.

Mindful of the environment, yarns are dyed in small batches using water from a natural spring, compostable materials and plastic free packaging.

Wonderwool Wales tickets – cost £12 per day or £22 for the weekend – may be purchased online in advance at or at the gate.  .

For more information, visit, like Wonderwool Wales Ltd on Facebook or follow on Twitter @wonderwoolwales and Instagram @wonderwoolwales.

Read more: First and last chance to see wall hanging maps at Wonderwool Wales

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