My 5th visit to the annual Yarndale festival yesterday was as fresh and exciting as ever. Such a lot of thought and effort goes in all year round to ensure the event is the success that it is. All the organisers and volunteers should be really proud of themselves.
Extra details like the ukulele band, giant Swaledale sheep puppets, vintage red buses, yarnbombed walking route and community projects make Yarndale a really special show for the 8000 or so visitors across the weekend. Mum was back for her second visit after being so impressed last year.
When the exhibitor list was announced, I was pleased that favourites from Yarndale 2017 would be back and made a note of the new sellers I didn’t want to miss. I found the ratio of stall types just right. Most were selling yarn and everything could be found from budget acrylics and cottons to luxury fibres like alpaca, cashmere and silk. Also unique hand dyed skeins like these beauties from Eden Cottage Yarns.Exhibitors have to be pretty creative to transform an empty cattle pen into a tastefully displayed pop-up stall in just a few hours. I loved the colour themes on Jem Weston’s and her bold designs. Her book Cute Comfort Knits was my first purchase.I was really pleased that my favourite yarn brand Scheepjes were at Yarndale for the first time with their team of talented bloggers. It was good to see and feel how different their designs looked in various yarns, sizes and colour schemes. This is the large version of Ubuntu, the current CAL (Crochet-A-Long) designed by Dedri Uys who writes the blog Look What I Made. I did wonder how they got it up there on the rafters!I brought home some lovely Scheepjes Stonewashed XL to play with. Though it’s 70% cotton/ 30% acrylic it feels really woolly and cosy.This sweet and cheerful granny square blanket is crocheted with a similar yarn, Scheepjes River Washed. Maria from Fifty Shades of 4 Ply designed it and has just released the beginner-friendly free pattern on her blog.When I first saw this ‘One Step Beyond’ blanket on Martin Up North’s blog, I loved the design. It was great to be able to see it in real life and feel the textures that the mosaic crochet technique has created. The stitches show up so well in the Cahlista cotton, the same yarn I used for my needlepoint cushion design and I love the colour scheme. Funnily enough, my Mum had just treated me to a scarf kit from the Cotton Pod stand in shades not too different. My winter coat is wonderfully warm but grey and a bit dull, so this should help once I’ve hooked it up. The alpaca yarn is so soft and light too.As a multi-crafter, I enjoyed the variety of textile crafts catered for and it was good to see a number of local independent businesses. The Fent Shop have been in Skipton for over 20 years and brought some beautiful quality fabrics. This print will make me a lovely seasonal project bag.Beyond Measure was a ‘must visit’ as they always have unique and interesting items on their stall. This year I was attracted to these gorgeous illustrated tiles by Alison Milner. It was really hard to decide which to choose (pin cushion), as I wanted all six, but was on a strict Yarndale budget!If any of my generous family are reading this, I also really love these long turned wooden needle cases, especially in yew. Christmas is coming. Hint hint!I’ve been an admirer of Janet Browne’s work for some time and have bought a little something from her stall each year. I’m particularly partial to her allotment scenes that remind me of my own beloved veg plot.Sadly I didn’t have the budget for my favourite piece but I did buy this lovely embroidered strawberry hanging basket card.Von Allen’s adorable needlefelted creations at Heartfelt Dogs have to be seen for their incredible attention to detail. Meet Zoe, Lydia and Tristan!I was interested to see that Von has some workshops local to me in 2019 so I’ve sent off for a booking form. I do love a workshop and I’ve posted recently about some fantastic courses at Anne Brooke’s Hannemade studio. Her stall looked attractive as ever with its recognisable style. Great to see some cards there this year by the talented young artist Harriet Brooke too.Everyone at Yarndale is so friendly. I had a big bonus from the lovely ladies at the The Knitter magazine when my purse was beginning to feel pretty light. I won a beautiful skein of yarn on their ‘Spin the Wheel’ game! I Reckon I can get a pair of luxury wristwarmers out of this. I could have done with some on the day. Temperatures had dropped and it was pretty chilly in the cattle mart and I was glad I was wearing my warm woolly John Arbon socks!There were plenty of moments when we spotted something that made us go ‘ooooooohhhhh’. These socks did that. I’m not kidding myself that I’d ever find the hours to have a go at making them but aren’t they just divine? The pattern is called Frostfires and is by Aldersign.Gwennol Designs also had some lovely patterns for colourwork like this Autumn throw.Yarndale visitors are always sporting interesting handmade creations. THE design to be seen in this year though was apparently The Sinister Catdigan by An Caitin Beag. I spotted a number of them in various colourways and yarns, with the wearers attracting much attention.The quirky stuff on this stall really made me smile. Even though I vowed never to knit another pair of socks after my first and colourwork is not my thing, I bought the pattern because I really, really want some Peeky Catsocks! I couldn’t resist a tin of kitty buttons too.The black and white one looks a lot like my furry friend who is also a big fan of yarn, particularly pompoms. She will be delighted when I get started with this fabulous Multipom gadget. I was mightily impressed by the demo of how quick and easy it is to make perfectly neat little balls, up to 20 at a time. Much better than the fork method! Not so into yarn is my husband (to be fair, the Ryder cup was on when I did my show and tell). However he is pretty happy about my genius new magnetic needlekeeper. Every evening without fail I lose a needle that I’ve stuck into the sofa or a cushion while I’ve gone off to make a brew. Too often it gets recovered in a painful way!
They are by Emily Cross Ceramics, who was also selling pretty yarn bowls, magnetic pin dishes and ceramic stones perfectly designed for wet felting. It’s so good when someone understands crafting frustrations!Selling for the first time this year and also on my ‘must visit’ list was Stationary Geek. I wasn’t disappointed. Their journals and notebooks are thoughtfully designed for crafters. I was fortunate to get one of the last crochet project bibles before they sold out. The gift labels made me chuckle and I will now be able to identify my pencils when someone at home steals them.Yarndale has it’s own branded merchandise. The pen I bought last year is still going strong as is my bulging notebook where I keep all my design ideas. You can see how well used it is. Good thing it has elastic to keep it closed. With all the plans and ideas I have after Yarndale this year though, it may well explode!