Monday, 28 September 2015

A Woolly Weekend in Yorkshire Part One: YARNDALE. . .

I love taking the train to Yorkshire.  It's so beautiful out the window - hilly dales, boats pootling on the canals, sheep grazing happily in the sunshine and lots of stone mills, remnants of the region's industrial past but not looking at all dark or satanic. 

I change at Leeds and take a smaller train to Skipton, or "sheep town".

I was early so dropped into town centre for a latte and some baked goods, then walked along the canal towards the park.

Very soon you start to see all the welcoming crocheted bunting and yarnbombing on the trees.  Just follow the yarn about a mile . . .

. . . and you reach the auction mart.  Honestly. is there a more idyllic place to hold a yarn festival?

The sheep certainly think so.

As always, the entrance hall was just festooned with colour.

I didn't take any photos of the booths as I know some vendors don't like it, but I had a truly gorgeous time.  I met lots of knitters that I've only chatted with on ravelry and we had a Scollay cardigan meet-up that was fun.  I was also on a mission to find as many British single breed yarns as I could, in preparation for Knit British's swatchalong starting next week.  It wasn't difficult.

From Blacker Yarns I got some Gotland, Cotswold. Shetland and Wensleydale.  From Hilltop Cloud, I picked up their sample pack of roving.  Now, I don't even spin, but what better incentive to start?  I do have a drop spindle and have bought a craftsy class;  I just need to find the time to sit down and have a go. This has added Masham, Jacob and North Ronaldsay to my stash.  John Arbon was especially helpful and suggested Zwartbles (the dark browny-black roving in the top photo) and Polwarth (the white roving) as breeds that would be ideal for the beginning spinner.  And from Sheepfold, I picked up some Black Leicester Longwool and some Hebridean.

And this lovely is a Whitefaced Woodland sheep.

And here is her breed's wool from Gam Farm Rare Breeds.

I'm so pleased with all the sheep varieties that I picked up and I'm really looking forward to swatching them all and seeing their different characteristics.  It was such fun going around to all the vendors - a bit like a scavenger hunt - and I learned a lot.  So mission accomplished and I'd love to say that I limited all my purchases to just the swatch-a-long.  But. . .

Well, here's the thing about Yarndale.  It's so overflowing with such lovely, talented, knowledgeable and passionate people that you just want to support them all!  And oh, the yarn, the yarn!  Resistance is futile.  So I . . . ahem . . . picked up a few more skeins.  Some lovely (and time limited) Cornish Tin from Blacker, Baa Ram Ewe's gorgeous new DK yarn Dovestone,  and a skein of the Knitting Goddesses'  Britsock yarn (earmarked for the BritYarn October sockalong).  How could I resist the colourway name - Laughing Herdy?

And then I was seduced by colour.  This flaming orange on the left is from Midwinter Yarns.  The bluey-grey skein is from The Little Grey Sheep, a farm in Surrey that raises and shears their own sheep, has the wool spun in Yorkshire and then hand-dyes it.  The colours on her booth were so, so beautiful.  Next to that is a skein of Fyberspates Scrumptious lace in the most autumnal colour of Treacle Toffee and then I had to get a skein of Titus in the heathery goathland colourway.

I've already cast on Karie Westermann's Mahy with the Scrumptious lace and it's knitting up beautifully.

So that was Saturday.  I embraced more colour on Sunday but that's for the next post.


LaceLady said...

love this whole post ~ just about the best "armchair traveling" one could ask for! and the fibre, and the yarn....oh my oh my you have picked some gorgeous-ness!

Blithe Spirit said...

Thank you so much - what a nice comment to read. I loved Yarndale as you can probably tell - a feast for all things woolly and such nice people.