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Yarndale People (and a possible “Yarnvale”?)

And Finally….the third (and last) post showcasing just a tiny proportion of the wonderful weekend that was Yarndale 2014.

Today, it’s all about the people.

The warm, friendly, talented, generous and sharing stallholders that make Yarndale the success that it is.

180 stallholders embraced 6,000 yarn-mad ladies (and a couple of men!) with open arms for not just one, but two crafty days, most of whom were still smiling by end of play at 4.30pm on Sunday.

Most were there to sell an amazing variety of hand made goodies and supplies, but there were also a number of organizations spreading the word about their groups.

One such collaboration was the Skipton branch of The Embroiderer’s Guild. Their 3D map of the Yorkshire Dales National Park was outstanding and featured numerous different stitching styles. The ladies running the stall were eager to tell you all about their work and couldn’t have been friendlier. Obviously it highlighted the Tour de France route:)

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There were several spinning demonstrations going on…

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…and the lovely ladies from the Craven Guild of Lacemakers even let me loose with their bobbins!

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Look at all those pins!

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Plant Dyed Wools were demonstrating loom weaving with wool dyed and spun from their own rare breed sheep;

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Big Wigs Angora brought along half a dozen of their rabbits to effectively demonstrate the rabbit-to-yarn chain. You have never felt anything so soft in your life as the fur of the Angora rabbit!

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This is Rachel Coopey of Coop Knits signing copies of her books;

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Gam Farm Rare Breeds also brought a few of their sheep to the show – this one was particularly friendly and loved all the petting;

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As with many of the stalls, their wares were imaginatively laid out;

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County Alpacas were very popular with their angel-faced creatures that stole the show;

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Jackie Lunn Textiles created a very attractive display…..

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…and her pin cushions were little works of art on their own!

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Her wet-felted circles inspired my first efforts at needle felting shown in yesterday’s post here.

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Kits were selling like hot cakes – these by Alula’s Garden were presented in a thoroughly original way;

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The ladies at Tall Yarns were so helpful and enthusiastic about their clothes that I ended up trying nearly every design on! I was wearing a red linen dress on Sunday that I made and it just so happened that it worked very well with most of their designs.

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The stall that gets my vote for the softest yarn in the most beautiful ice-cream shades is Mrs Moon – what an utter delight! Here is Roz from The Velvet Cow making a huge purchase for a new crocheted blanket for her bed.

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For me, the most inspirational stall had to be H-anne-made.

Her textile art incorporated all kinds of mixed media collaged and stitched to a canvas frame.

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Maps, music scores, pages from novels; these were all used to create a kind of ‘memory’ art. Her sketchbook itself was a fascinating insight to the way she works.

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After spending Saturday having a good look at all 180 stalls, we went back on Sunday to purchase one of Anne’s lovely kits only to find that she had sold out!

This was yet another imaginative display to accessorize the Skein Queen’s stand;

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Not only were TOFT showcasing their endearing line of amigurumi animals….

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…but, like so many generous artisans, were giving away free patterns (and, in this case, an Alpaca pom pom) with their yarns;

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Last, but by no means least, are these adorable needle felt sculptures by Jenny Barnett;

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They are so lifelike it is uncanny – check her blog out for details of her workshops.

Well that, my Blogging Buddies, is it.

Yarn enthusiasts came from far and wide and put a sticker on their home town. When I placed mine, we seemed to have travelled the furthest in the UK! Our sticker is the green one outlined in black;

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There is just one last photo I’d like to share with you…..

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It had to be Lucy, didn’t it?

One of the founders of the yarnfest that is Yarndale, she is such a genuine, lovely and down to earth lady. She smiled from dawn ’til dusk all weekend, never once got fed up with photo requests and seemed truly interested in every single one of the individuals that queued up to meet her.

We waited until close to closing time on Saturday when the crowds had dissipated and then introduced ourselves.

We briefly discussed our plans for a sister event in the Blackmore Vale in the South West and Lucy asked if we would get in touch if we decide to go ahead as she is aware of a gap in the market for such a venue.

We would love to be affiliated with Yarndale and thought “Yarnvale” could be the southern equivalent in the Spring.

What do you reckon???


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Yarndale Booty

As I am still trying to match my photographs of stallholders to their websites, I thought I’d do a quick little post showing you the treasures that tempted me into parting with my cash.

First of all, you must understand that I love buttons. All shapes and sizes, but all handmade and each one unique. The right button can transform the ‘good’ into ‘great’ and catapult your lovingly handcrafted item into another league.

I was barely in the door two minutes when I made my first purchase. A couple of stalls in and I lingered long enough to lose the girls for the rest of the morning. Tile Productions make the most fabulous handmade tiles for kitchens and, to use up the leftovers, they make buttons. Well, we were queuing four-deep to rummage through those little baskets of gems and no-one so much as glanced at the stunning tiles in the background! They had no idea that their gorgeous little glazed, ceramic buttons would create such interest, especially as they are essentially a by-product!

These are the four that hopped into my basket;

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More buttons soon beckoned and these little iridescent beauties are by Textile Garden – coconut shell with a turquoise glaze and silver edge;

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Injabulo is a specialist Fair Trade seller of hand made buttons and baskets from Africa as well as supporting the British Wool Industry with gorgeous wool blankets and cushions from Wales.

I fell in love with this fabulous button;

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Longwood Blankets were were selling the most glorious plaid throws – I came home with this one;

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There were lots, I mean loads, of stalls selling home grown wool with a clear provenance from sheep/rabbit/alpaca to skein. Overseeing the entire process through shearing, dyeing and spinning must be satisfying in the extreme and I rather think I would like to have a go. (Cue research into keeping Angora rabbits for their supremely soft fur.)

In the meantime I shall have a go at spinning. Not with a spinning wheel Sleeping Beauty style, but with a Drop Spindle. This consists of a very simple contraption that looks incredibly easy to use when demonstrated by the experts, although in reality I anticipate some rather choice language will be peppering the air!

This kit was supplied by Wheeldale Woolcrafts and included some hand dyed and carded Corriedale wool fibres ready to spin;

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With a dozen or more workshops on offer we were spoilt for choice really, but I booked Layers Of Texture which was essentially a short course in needle felting.

Jaki Bogg was efficient in her introduction, talking us through the basics and leaving us the best part of an hour and a half to have a go.

This was my very first effort:(

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It was enormous fun and I think I’m addicted so I bought a bargain mixed bag of roving in the bright colours I love so much;

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I also decided to buy some luxury silk tops produced by the Tussah Silkworm. (Adelaide Walker and Wingham Wool Work) They are completely gorgeous and shimmer in the light. I’m thinking luxury brooches finished with tiny beads and silver thread…..

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Another skill that I have been procrastinating about for ages (Tajana!) is that of sock knitting. I shall dither no more though, as the lovely Rachel Coopey’s (of Coop Knits) book Coop Knits Socks convinced me to finally bite the bullet. She even signed it for me too:)

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I then hot-footed it over to Purlescence where they had the most fabulous 100% Merino wool skeins in a zingy shade of yellow. I just had to have it. I don’t do subtle:)

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They were also able to advise and supply the requisite 80cm long 2.25mm circular knitting needle (a lot less scary than four double pointed needles methinks!)

A pretty little stitchmarker was thrown in by some kindly stallholder with a friend’s wool purchase and she very generously gave it to me for my socks;

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My last, and arguably favourite, purchase were these beautiful 2″ wooden buttons.

Perfection.

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Yarndale (and a chat with Lucy!)

What a fabulous, yarntastic weekend!

Yarndale 2014 was all it promised to be – and more.

Conceived and organized by a group of five yarnaholics (including the very popular Lucy of Attic24), Yarndale’s inaugural festival of 2013 was followed up with an equally successful event this year.

Three friends and I endured the 250 mile car journey north to Skipton, Yorkshire, which took a mammoth seven hours from South Somerset due to a typically busy Friday night’s traffic. We enjoyed real five star hospitality in luxury surroundings from Pam Gregory at Cononley Hall  – these were our two rooms: –

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We really couldn’t fault it at all – the perfect place to relax and unwind after a full day on our feet (our heads were buzzing from inspiration overload!).

We set off Saturday morning after an amazing full English; just a five minute stroll to the station (which turned into a sprint as we saw our train on the platform from halfway up the road!) followed by one stop on the train to Skipton. There were two (free) buses put on this year to ferry passengers to and from the station and they set the tone for the whole weekend….

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….yes, even the double-deckers had been yarn-bombed both inside and out!

We were at the front of the queue so managed to snap a couple of photos – this was pretty much the only man amongst 6,000 crochet-mad women in the entire place!!

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The event was held in Skipton Auction Mart which, when we viewed the site from the hill, was enormous! Can you see just how vast the covered area is? I’ve circled it in red below: –

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The approach through the park (for those walking) was well signposted with crocheted signs in various styles….

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Local schools joined in with unique interpretations on bicycle yarn-bombing;

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The walk took you past the picturesque canal…

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…until you arrived at the site…

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…which marked your wooly destination with yarn-bombed trees!

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Apologies for the poor quality of the photos (and me, a professional photographer too!) but I left the camera at home and went with the iPhone. They’re not great but, hopefully, you get an idea of the atmosphere surrounding the event and the amount of thought and effort that went into organizing such a huge project:)

Once inside, a colourful gallery of all 1,182 mandalas sent to Lucy greeted you, stretching the entire width of the venue;

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The Yarndale Hub (centre of operations!) was, again, strung wall-to-wall with last year’s contributions of 6,212 bunting triangles sent in from all over the world. Here we are, the only photograph of the four of us taken over all four days!

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Can you guess where this is?

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Of course you can – it’s the Knit & Natter lounge hosted by our favourite Lucy!

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This creative lady sums up the yarn obsession shared by everyone at the show!

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I think that’s more than enough for one post but do come back again when I have details of a little plan that we discussed briefly with Lucy and photos of some of the many stalls that were so beautifully displaying their wares.