Monday, 9 May 2016

Daytripping: A Visit to Illkley and the Wharfe Wool Fair . . .

With so many wool and yarn festivals each year in the UK, it becomes a really good excuse for a fun day out with friends.  And I love knitting on trains.  I'd never been to Ilkley before, although I did get a glimpse of the town looking down from the top of Ilkley Moor in this walk.  So we hopped on an early train to Leeds on Saturday, changed for the short ride to Ilkley and arrived at the Wharfe Wool Fair just fifteen minutes after it opened.

Ilkley is a very pretty village, nestled in the Wharfedale Valley with hills leading up to the moors on both sides. It has a vibrant high street full of lovely shops and all the trees were in bloom.

Inside the venue was one large room of vendors but the nice thing about these smaller shows is you do get to meet local crafters and businesses who can't afford to exhibit at the larger ones.  There was a nice variety of yarns and fibre and I will be forever grateful to a member of the Craven Guild of  Weavers, Spinners and Dyers who gave me some great tips on drop spindling.  I think I may now know where I've been going wrong.

Freya at Freyalyn Fibres was also extremely helpful, chatting away while drop spindling herself.  Here is her table full of gorgeous hand-dyed fibres.

I also encountered another new-to-me indie dyer, Coastal Colours from Fleetwood which is near Blackpool.  They don't have a website or sell online as every skein is unique, but they are on facebook and will be at the Pop-up Wool Show in Port Sunlight later in August.

I bought two lovely skeins from them.  The one on the left is actually Titus from Baa Ram Ewe, one of my favourite yarns.  They purchased skeins of White Rose and dyed them different colours.  The skein I bought has several shades of grey with some almost mauve bits in it.  The one on the right is 1200m of laceweight and the colours just reminded me of those rocket popsicles I had as a child. 

I also loved these mini-skein "pops" from Baa Baa Brighouse.  They are 100% British Bluefaced Leicester wool, spun and dyed in Yorkshire.  I think they are so fun and colourful.

Buoyed by eternal optimism that I will indeed crack the art of drop spindling, I also bought a lovely new spindle with a polished stone as the whorl, and some bright yellow Shetland fibre.  I'm sure I was influenced by all the gorgeous sunshine outside, but I'm also curious to see how these yellows might work if spun or plied with some of the grey fibres I have in stash. The Wensleydale and Teeswater locks were just so silky and enticing - I shall use them in weaving to add some texture.

As small a show as it was, we still managed to spend almost two hours talking to the vendors and squishing their wares.  Then it was off to Betty's for a bite of lunch. When in Yorkshire. . .

I had the Yorkshire rarebit, grilled to perfection, and the most refreshing organic ginger beer from Devon that I've ever tasted.  I might have also popped into the shop on the way out to snag some Fat Rascals to take home.

We then strolled the high street, popping into the lovely Grove Bookshop, where there was a very nice display of all things Bronte and Bennett.

And then we climbed up one side of the town towards Ilkley Moor.

Under a canopy of blossom.

This is the edge of the moor. Had it not been so warm and had we more time (and better footwear), we might have gone further for a proper walk.

But there was a lovely jazz band playing in the park below and what better way to end a lovely spring day than to sit on a bench knitting while listening to live music. One couple even got up to do a little tango. Yes, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day out. With yarn.

1 comment:

Trademark Lawyer said...

Love all the trees in bloom, particularly the blossoms! Thanks for taking us along with you.