Thursday, 6 October 2016

Yarndale reflections

Last month I attended my first ever Yarndale. For those who don't know - though I'm pretty certain that a lot of you reading this, do know - Yarndale is a festival/show/exhibition/convention of all sort of yarny goodness, think knitting and crochet and spinning, as well as lacemaking and weaving and just about anything you can think of to do with yarn (I spotted one or two sewing stalls too, but these were outliers, and we don't need to talk about them). Held at Skipton Auction Mart in Yorkshire it's a show that I've heard of and read about for a few years and had always fancied going to. And now that I work on a knitting magazine (!) I was asked if I would like to go to meet some of the people I will/should be in touch with in my role as editorial assistant. YES PLEASE.

Basically, the show was the best craft show that I've ever been to yet, and I can't wait to go again next year (because, let's face it, I have to). You can read more about the show on it's website, while I'm just going to take you on a bit of a whirlwind picture tour of the day! First, let's go in ...

Well, what a welcome to a knitting show. An ice cream truck, converted to a 'finger puppet truck', completely yarnbombed, was parked just outside the entrance door, while bollards were cheerfully yarned-up with all sorts of characters. My favourites were the cute amigurumi weather characters and also the bumblebee collection. There was also a rather busty and booty-ed knitted lady in a bikini, but I didn't get a great picture of her! Shame, I know.

Mandalas were hung from the tree branches and were very pleasant to watch swaying in the wind when we later sat outside and had a picnic for lunch. I know that Lucy from Attic 24 had a hand in designing and making some, if not all, of these mandalas. I'm sorry to say that I didn't have a chance to walk along the lovely, blue knitted walkway, but rest assured this was allowed (no shoes please) and some clever clogs sat on there at lunch time as well - pre-installed blanket; love it. Well, technically it was a knitted canal, contributed by a knitting group to celebrate the 200th birthday of the Liverpool and Leeds canals; read more about that here.

You can tell that this was a show that really, truly cares and is passionate about all things yarn. There were thousands of knitted bunting, not only draped in the entry hall, but all along the walls of stalls and dotted within the main showroom (auction den!) itself. It was really a delight to see and this room was my favourite. I couldn't walk through it without a huge smile on my face and now I really must fill the ceiling of my craft room (when I have one) with similar, colourful bunting.

There was such a deluge of colour on most every stall, it was such a delight to feast my senses on! Just yarn yarn, beautiful yarn all over the show(!) - everything that was on offer was a little more expensive and luxurious that I am used to buying and using, but in a way that was one of the best bits of the show. For one thing, it meant I couldn't spend silly amounts of money because I really had to consider what I wanted, what I could afford, and how much I would need to complete a project. For another, there were yarns from independent dyers that I really would never have come across if I hadn't found them at the show. I was also introduced to these 'sushi rolls' which you can see in the picture directly above this. These are skeins of yarn that are pre-knitted, but not finished, because you can then unravel them while you knit the yarn into the project that you want to make! That is just an AMAZING concept. My mind was blown.

We stopped for a 2 hour lunch, which was a wonderful picnic sat outside, knitting, chatting and eating and just chilling out. It was a very busy show so this was a welcome break, and it also gave me time to just absorb everything that I had seen in the morning while I decided what it was that I wanted to buy - because I just couldn't leave the show empty handed ...

What I really wanted to buy was the yarn to make this large adorable toy from TOFT, featured in the latest book from Kerry Lord, Edward's Imaginarium (Christmas gift idea, anyone?). TOFT yarn is beautiful but I blanched at the cost to make this guy (£90+ EEK) so unfortunately I had to move on. I opted instead for a nice balance; I've recently taken to sock knitting, so I bought some luxurious sock yarn from CoopKnits, and also some budget DROPS sock yarn from another stall - Christmas knitting is beginning in earnest. A pair of KnitPro circulars rounded off my day very nicely, thank you very much.

There was so much more on offer at the show, including workshops and knit & knatter groups, but I didn't really partake in these, and its more of an excuse for you to visit with me next year, what do you say? I really can't say enough how much I loved Yarndale, and if you went along this year I hope you felt the same!

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