Queuing up with like-minded people, all eager to get inside Skipton’s Auction Mart, shuffling along like cattle towards a wooly paradise. As you excitedly walk in and get your wristband (So we can pretend we are hardcore festival goers) the smell of the wool envelops you. Or maybe it is the building itself – either way it adds to the experience, and makes the whole ordeal even more special and authentic. The flurry of crafters and the buzz of positive energy and creativity is overwhelming. I was speechless, and it took me a little while to adjust. Needless to say, I think going on the Sunday was the right decision (Thank you Fay). It think it would have been a bit too much to have had my first Yarndale experience on a Saturday when the crowds were a lot busier. Next year bring it on, I have had a taste and now I want more!
I was extremely lucky on my first trip to Yarndale as I went with Fay of Knit it-Hook it-Craft it (The Crochet Circle Podcast) and going with an experienced member of our crochet community really gave me the courage to meet a lot of new people. (Even though I did chicken out of saying Hi to Lucy from Attic 24!)
Our first check list of the day was for Fay to ‘feed people’ with the delicious flapjack she had made and brought in for her favourite vendors and loyal friends with her ‘pay it forward’ attitude – making our first stop John Arbon Textiles, a firm, and dear favourite of Fay’s. At this point, you have to bear in mind, I have never purchased any hand dyed or indie yarn – or even any 100% animal fibre yarn – so when I walked into Yarndale, I went week at the knees. John and Juliet of John Arbon Textiles are so lovely and kind; and were the prefect welcome for me to Yarndale. Speaking to these guys felt like speaking to family, they were so friendly. I wanted to choose some yarn to make Fay’s Doppio Colloseum Shawl pattern, as she used John Arbon Textiles Yarn when designing the pattern. I was drawn to their Alpaca Delights range because of the gorgeous dusky colours and it is oh-so beautifully soft. When I went to pay, John and Juliette generously gifted me the Alpaca delights, leaving me speechless. I gave a john a hug, and I’m not sure he knew what to do. Hahaa. It is the generosity of our crafting community is mind-blowing, and I feel extremely grateful to be a part of it. I returned to the stall before leaving yarndale, and purchased some Harvest Hues yarn in a ‘tweedy’ dark green to make a scarf for Katie. There is such a wide range of choice from John Arbon Textiles, the colours range from pastels and dusky shades, to rich autumnal shades to a vast range of pantone-inspired colours.
We paid a visit to the sock line so Fay could hang some socks she had made for Winwickmum’s charity project, where I came face to face with Lucy of Attic 24, and had a conversation about how I couldn’t knit. But I was too shy and like a dear in headlights. I just wanted to say Hi and Thank you for all of the time and effort she puts into her patterns. I wanted to tell her that she inspired me to want to design my own patterns, and that her eye for colour was genius. But I’m an idiot and couldn’t get the words out, no matter how much I wanted to, I was a bit starstruck!
We also met with one of Fay’s friends, called Kate. She was so lovely and I enjoyed meeting so many new people who share the same love of yarn. I think that is what Yarndale is all about. Bringing people together – or it felt that way to me at least. People who live different sides of the country can meet and chat, make friends and get to know each other. I finally felt like I belonged. The past 8 weeks have been incredible for me and I am making my way into a world where I feel comfortable being myself… the 23 year old who would much prefer to sit on the sofa with a cup of tea, crochet hook and ball of wool. I think I was made for retirement (A long way to go yet though!)
The rest of the day I spent going up and down the stalls on each row, patiently waiting to find Vicki Brown, Inside Crochet and Mothy and the Squid… filling up my new Yarndale bag as we went (briefly interrupted by the hilariously entertaining Sheep walk of Skipton’s Giant Swaledales). My favourite Vendors of the day were John Arbon Textiles, Riverknits, Vicki Brown Designs, Inside Crochet and Mothy and the Squid.
John Arbon Textiles
John Arbon was a given considering how friendly and generous John and Juliet were and how gloriously soft the yarn was. Their coloour choice was incredibly vast and amazingly soft. Seriously… check them out!
Riverknits was another stall I came across, and initially was attracted to the stall due to the rainbow wall of mini skeins they had in such rich, warm shades. I think I spent the most on this stall alone. I bought a rainbow pack of 6 mini skeins for myself, and one for Fay in Autumnal shades as a thank you for bringing me to Yarndale with her. I also bought another 6 pack of mini skeins to gift to a couple of special people, and a full skein of BFL Splendiferous Sock in the colour way Stoke. This company is run by husband and wife, from a narrow boat, where they live and also dye all of their yarns. (How? I don’t know… Listen to Fay’s interview to find out) I hope to start designing with the yarn I bought from Riverknits, and I think I will definitely be buying more of this yarn and building up my collection in the future.
Mothy and the Squid
Mothy and the Squid was another of my favourites, despite me not spending an awful lot of time at this stall. This was one of my favourites, purely because I have followed them on Instagram for quite a while, and I admire their colours and how they match palettes to animals and images from nature. My favourite was their Calico Cat yarn, because of how perfectly the colours matched the inspiration behind the colour scheme – however, it isn’t a colour theme which I would use myself. I bought a skein of their Mountain Moth which is an adorable, snuggly mixture of cream and grey; and a colour scheme I will definitely wear.
Finally, I got to meet Vicki Brown! I was so excited to visit her stall as I am going to be crocheting my first pair of socks soon, and have recently bought her book – the Crochet Sock Collection. I was determined to buy some of her own yarn so I could eventually crochet one of her sock patterns with her own yarn. I settled on Blue Hydrangea after picking up multiple skeins. I will definitely be buying more of Vicki’s yarn in the future The colours are so beautiful, and I have my eyes on a skein of lime & turquoise. I will be making the Spring Fling socks first!
A you know, my dream is to have my deisgns published in magazines and books. I wanted to speak to the editors at Inside crochet and ask how I go about submitting designs. I talked to Sarah Moran, and showed her the baby blanket I had designed. She gave me her card and told me to email her some photos, and they would also add me onto their mailing list. Even though this is no achievement – it is a huge step for me… and the first step to [fingers crossed] getting some of my patterns published. The staff were, again, extremely friendly and easy to talk to… now I am checking my inbox every five minutes hoping for a reply. Hahaa.
Despite the most amazing day I had, nothing can prepare you for the ‘come down’ and ‘post-festival depression’ that sets in. It has taken me a few days to really appreciate everything I saw and how great a day I had. It truly was so surreal, it feels like a dream. Next year, I would like to go for the whole weekend, and explore Skipton a bit as well, rent a cottage and take the time as a bit of a Holiday. I can imagine nothing better than curling up in a cosy cottage with a hot chocolate and some new yarn to crochet with. I would also like to donate some socks to the sock line, and participate in the Yarndale Charity Event. This year I didn’t have time to crochet and send in a heart, and if I ever get the opportunity again, I would love to say Hi to Lucy and thank her for her patterns.
Love Charlie, Xx