Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Delights of Yarndale pt 1

Well, the little glimmer of excitement that I could just about see in the far off distance, kind of speedily crept up on me the last few weeks. That excitement being Yarndale... for anyone who has not heard of this, it was the first year of this woolly craft show held in Skipton, North Yorkshire and run by a team of local crafters including the infamous Lucy of the Attic24 blog. I was just a little bit excited! A whole weekend away (my first since having Little P) and going to a festival of woolly goodness ran by my biggest inspiration in the crochet world - what a lot to look forward too!
Friday morning was somewhat hectic. I had to pack both me and Little P up for our holidays, and as usual she was a little bit too helpful! It's so hard to get anything done in a hurry with my little sidekick, but we managed it just in the nick of time. Then at 1pm, my ride promptly arrived. My good friend Curly Girl Coop had offered to drive to 200-odd mile trip 'up North' and I sorted out the accommodation in return. It was a long journey... 6 and a half hours roughly, as we encountered a bit of Friday afternoon traffic and the roads aren't that great either, a lot of single carriageway.
Gradually the countryside became more hilly and green as we left the arable farmland of the East behind. It is a really beautiful part of the country, I don't think I would ever get bored of those views! Seeing more and more sheep reminded me just where we were going and why! Yarndale!
We arrived at the Craven Heifer Inn at Kelbrook (just outside Skipton) just in time for dinner, which I had luckily pre-booked, as it was packed. I can see why, the food was excellent - especially the Eton Mess I had for pudding. With a long and exciting day ahead of us, Leah and I returned to our very comfortable and spacious room and relaxed before catching an early night!

The day was finally upon us. We needed no alarm to wake us up, the thought of Yarndale made us jump out of bed and get ready. After a hearty Yorkshire breakfast we drove to Skipton Autcion Mart - the venue for Yarndale. It's used to being filled with cattle and sheep to be auctioned off, but today was full of creativity and colour. And wool too of course. We arrived at 9.30am, half an hour before it was due to open. The car park was already filling, but it was fairly quiet around the front of the building. There was a nip in the air and a gentle mist rolling in from the Yorkshire Dales, but you could see the Sun was trying to break through to shine down on Yarndale. The trees outside had been yarnbombed by the Yarndale team, and the granny bunting that had arrived from all over the world was strung up. I had a quick scout about but couldn't see any of mine! It was going to be like finding a needle in a haystack, as they received over 6000 triangles! We began to queue and already the place was coming to life. People were arriving thick and fast, and the queue soon snaked across the car park. We were lucky as we were about 11th in the queue. The doors opened a little before the scheduled 10am and in we all rushed, just like the sheep and cattle who usually frequent this place I suppose!

Once inside, we were greeted by the entrance foyer decorated with hundreds on bunting triangles strung up on the ceiling. It looked awesome. It also made me think I had no hope in finding one I made.

The venue was very open and airy and very agricultural. I had no problem with this, in fact I think it added to the character of the event, and it didn't get too hot or stuffy which was great. The exhibitors stalls were all situated in animal pens, which I first found quite funny, but then realised it was actually a very practical way to do it! We raced about to get the bits and bobs we really wanted before it got crazily busy. Leah had surprised me by booking us on to a yarn dyeing workshop for a couple of hours, so we did a bit of shopping before heading to the auditorium for the class.

This was our dyeing fun! It was great to do something I wouldn't usually do at home or have the resources to do so. We spent a couple of hours trying out hand at dyeing different wool (from straight off the sheep to knitted pieces) and seeing how each one took up the dye differently. It was great fun experimenting with colours and I'd definitely recommend this course for anyone going another year.
It also broke up the day nicely. The auction mart was now brimming with people, it was hard to get about down the aisles, so sitting down for a couple of hours was actually a treat.
There was quite a number of stalls selling all sorts of fibre related items including plenty of hanks of hand-dyed wool. I now appreciate just how difficult it is to produce those beautiful hanks after attempting to dye yarn myself!

Some of the highlights for me were seeing the alpaca a couple of exhibitors had brought in. I love these animals, they have such character and are so sweet, and apparently make great wool too!

There was also a stall selling angora rabbit wool, and they too had brought some of their animals in! I love this super-hairy ball of fluff!
We shopped around the stalls for a bit before joining the long queue for lunch. It seems a lot of people weren't happy with the food facilities, but I was of the impression that when you get a lot of people in one place, you have to expect to queue, unless you cater for yourself and bring a packed lunch! The caterers were working their socks off to keep the queue moving, and the pork and apple burgers we had for lunch were really quite tasty! Lunch Yarndale style...

We sat on a pavement outside, and it was lovely to have a break from the hubbub and sit in the glorious Skipton sunshine. We then went back and finished out shopping before deciding to walk into the town centre along the Yarn Walk. The walk was about 25 mins and it took us through a beautiful park and along a canal, all of which had been yarnbombed for the festival.

The picturesque surroundings of Yarndale...

And the yarnbombing...

I love the little duckies made by Lucy! I'd seen her make some of these things on her blog, so it was great to see them in real life! We spent a little while walking around Skipton town centre, and even sat down and had a drink in the lovely sunshine before walking back to the auction mart. Skipton really seemed like a lovely little town, we didn't get to explore it much, but I'd love to go back in the future, maybe take Little P up there with me!

The Yarndale bus...

One of the biggest highlights for me, and I am sure many others, was meeting the wonderful Lucy of Attic24 in person. When I first got into crochet, 18 months or so ago, I was only interested in making toys. I loved this so much, but had no incentive to make blankets or cushions or anything as it all seemed so drab, that was until I discovered her blog. The colour and patterns just blew me away. This is what I wanted to make... the colour and style just summed up what I wanted to do. I started by making a couple of her patterns, but soon found that most things I liked got linked back to her blog, so have been a fan ever since. She was hanging out in the knit and natter lounge all day, and had displayed a little bit of Attic24 in the corner.
There was a small queue of people who wanted to speak to her, so we joined it. She was really nice and patient with everyone, as she had a constant stream of people all day. It's hard to constantly make happy chit-chat with people you don't know, so I take my hat off to her for standing there all day and letting all her fans say hello. It must have been exhausting for her! She was super-nice though, and genuinely seemed overwhelmed by the love and support for her and the Yarndale team at what they had pulled off. I think they knew it was going to be big, but maybe not this huge! We had just a little chat, I declared my appreciation for Yarndale and kind of told her she was my hero and then I asked if she would have a photo with me, and she kindly did :)

That is genuine happiness on my face I can tell you! And after we said bye to Lucy, we ventured behind her to the collection of bunting triangles laid out on a table (covered in her gorgeous ripple blanket!) and there was MY GOAT BUNTING! I couldn't believe it! I had found one of my bunting, and it was sitting central on the table behind Lucy, double bonus!

The corner was filled with Lucy's creations, and it was great to see them in real life. And touch them. Those lovely looking blankets really did feel as good as they look in the pictures! The lampshade that Lucy recently yarnbombed stood there next to her famous crochet chair. It was great to see such a feast of colour in such a small corner. It has inspired me to make more blankets and use some nicer (cashmerino type stuff) yarn to really set it off.
So all in all, a great day was had by both myself and Leah. I couldn't fault the experience and it lived up to the high expectations I had for it. If only it wasn't so far away! The next morning came and we had another hearty breakfast and then set off on the long road home, although it was considerably quicker with a lot less traffic! I would also like to personally thank Leah's sat nav, which we named Cora due to her Irish accent. She was faultless and kept us on the right path throughout!
I'm still in a kind of post-Yarndale comedown, but Little P is certainly worth coming home too, how I missed her! I also have returned with a few bits and bobs from Yarndale. I will take some pictures of my haul and show it off soon, so until next time...


  1. Seems like you had a brilliant time! I saw and recognised your goat bunting... Just couldn't remember which blog I'd seen it on. Maybe next year I'll have to try a bit of dyeing myself... Looking forward to seeing your stash!

  2. I have totally enjoyed everyone's pics from Yarndale! It looks like it was awesome! You are so lucky to have met Lucy. She seems like she would be just the most amazing person ever! Glad you had such a good time. Can't wait to see your "bits and bobs"!!

  3. Awwww such a lovely write up ((thank you))!! It was super-nice to meet you, and I have to tell you sooooo many people fell in love with your goat bunting triangle :o)
    Lots of love
    ps see you next year?! x

    1. I will make every effort to be there next year! Try and keep me away! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my little corner in the blog world and reading my Yarndale write up (I'm guessing you have a thousand of those to read!) it has made my day!
      I'm looking forward to your Yarndale review now! Enjoy the peace while you can, Anna x