Yarndale Sock Line at Yarndale 2015
I still find it
quite amazing that it was only five months ago that the Winwick Mum Sockalong
started and since then so many people have started knitting socks who felt that
for whatever reason they never could before.
Knowing that I
would be going to Yarndale this year, the idea of sock bunting was raised back
in June. It seemed like such a lovely
idea – after all, one of the delights of Yarndale is walking through the
entrance hall and seeing all the crocheted triangle bunting hanging there to
welcome visitors. Why not sock bunting
to show off everyone’s socky achievements?
niggled at me, though. What would we do
with the sock bunting afterwards? It
seemed a shame to ask people to knit one sock to go on a line and then after a
weekend of admiration, hide them away for another eleven months. And then there’s that thing that sock yarn
comes in balls big enough to knit two socks.
It seemed like a bit of a waste not to have two socks – and then the
idea struck me. What if anybody who
wanted to could knit two socks and then they could be given away after
this was a wonderful idea and so the Yarndale Sock Line was born. After the original post in July, the socks
started to arrive. I would get updates
from Lucy in Skipton telling me that more parcels had been delivered by the
postman, and I would get more and more excited – but also more and more
frustrated knowing that I had wait over the long school summer holidays before
I could get back to Skipton to pick them up!
At last, the
pick up day arrived and I headed excitedly up the motorway to Skipton, fingers
firmly crossed that there would be no major traffic queues or tractor convoys
that I would get stuck in. I really love
my visits to Skipton; I am greeted like an old friend now at Coopers Café Bar (which,
considering that I only tend to go every 5 weeks or so, makes me feel very
special) and the pleasure of being able to sit and chat to my lovely friend
Lucy and other yarny folk at the knit n natter sessions is immeasurable. You can read about our Parcel Opening Day here.
Back home, it
was time to start photographing and cataloguing the socks. This is all done now, but I’ve not quite got
round to uploading all the pictures to Pinterest – another job for later this
week if I can.
Just a few
short weeks later and it was the end of September and the Yarndale weekend had
arrived. Leaves were starting to turn
brown and the smell of autumn was in the air.
It was certainly a beautiful time to be in Yorkshire. Inside the Auction Mart, there was more of
the smell of sheep, but that just added to the authenticity of the yarn
festival. I’m going to tell you more
about what goes in setting up the Yarndale festival in a couple of days.
It was quite
emotional to be standing there in what would become the Knit n Natter Lounge
with my big bag of socks. Months of
excitement, preparation and knitting had finally come to the point where the
Yarndale Sock Line would become a reality.
Have you ever had that feeling where you’re in a car park with lots of
spaces to choose from and you don’t know which one to pick? It’s crazy, isn’t it? Given only one space, you’d take it without
thinking, but with space to change your mind, you become indecisive. This was me looking around and trying to
decide where to hang up the socks. “Just
make sure you don’t garrote anybody with the washing line,” Lucy said. “You don’t want to be upsetting the Health
& Safety team!” Having met the
Health & Safety team and concluded that you didn’t mess with them, that
pretty much decided where the socks were going to go.
There was space above the seating where I
could safely hang the line and space at the bottom by the handrail where more
socks could be displayed. It’s actually to the left of the photo above – for some reason I didn’t take a picture facing that way. I strung the
line up (in an appropriately Health & Safety-conscious kind of way, in case
you were worried) and started to peg out the socks.
At first, I
thought they would all fit on one section of the line, just above where people
could walk up the steps to sit down. I
knew there were over 60 pairs of socks in my bag, but the space looked so big
that I thought they would be swallowed up.
Very quickly, they filled up the space and I realised that all of the
socks together were heavier than I thought and the line started to hang lower
and lower. The risk of inadvertent sock-garroting had
returned, so some more line was strung up along the next section of the seating
area and the socks moved along to fill that space too.
And then they filled up the space at the
bottom by the hand rail …
where I put the information on what the Sock Line was,
and all the names of the contributors and the picture of Lissie’ssocks
that were gifted in France.
If I had
felt emotional before, it was nothing compared to seeing all of these socks
hanging in all their woolly glory in the Auction Mart, each pair complete with their own message of lovely words and kind thoughts for their new owners. I had imagined what it would be like, but
this was so much better.
There were more socks to come too, with Yarndale visitors bringing another ten pairs during the weekend.
For those of
you who didn’t get to Yarndale, I am sorry that the photos don’t really seem to
do the display justice. (Although I do love these ones with Lucy all a-blur in the background – that’s pretty much how she was all weekend!)
Being so high up
it was difficult to get good pictures of the Line, and the light was never very
good in the Knit n Natter lounge, but I hope you can get a feel of just how
many socks there were and how lovely they all looked together, wafting gently in woolly splendour just as I had imagined them doing.
It was everything that I hoped for, and I was
so proud to be able to tell everyone who admired them that they had been
knitted by sock knitters – some new and some not so new – all over the
Some of these socks are the first
pairs that someone ever knitted, and to give them away is a special gift
indeed. Many times I was asked if the
socks were for sale, but again I was very proud to be able to say that they are
going to be given away and this was always met with nods and words of
approval. We’re a generous lot, us crafters. We like to give. And there are 75 pairs of socks to give
away. Isn’t that just wonderful? A wonderful, generous gift because a pair of
socks isn’t just something that you whizz up over the weekend (although I know
some people do!); it takes time and effort and expense, as sock yarn isn’t
cheap. I am very grateful to everyone
who has been involved. Thank you.
now? Well, I have made a start on making
sure that a proper record is kept of each of the socks and where they are going
to go. I thought it would be nice to say
where they have been sent so that the knitter can imagine who might be wearing
their socks. You can see the list of
contributors here and you can see the socks themselves here. I will be contacting the
organisations that have been suggested as possible recipients for the socks
over the next couple of weeks. I’m not
in any rush – I want to know that they will be going to places where they will
be appreciated and used. I have contacts
for homeless shelters, women’s crisis centres, hospices, old peoples’ homes and
refugee centres, and am still open to suggestions if you would like to make
any. I would like them to go to as many
places as they possibly can – maybe only a couple of pairs to each place but
because people from so many parts of the world have knitted them, I feel that
the socks should be given to more than just one or two organisations.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it has been to be involved in Yarndale this year and to be able to create the Yarndale Sock Line with your help. I’m very excited now to see where all the socks are going to go – having felt like Christmas opening all the parcels, it feels like Christmas all over again being able to send the socks on as the gifts they are intended to be. How lucky am I to be able to do this?
I hope that we’ll be able to do this again next year – the experience of passing the socks on will tell whether it’s a good idea or not, but I know that it’s been something that people have enjoyed being part of so I really hope that it is. There will be more to tell you over the coming weeks but I hope you have enjoyed looking at the socks on the Sock Line as much as I did over the Yarndale weekend – I was very sad to take them down, but happy to know that with each peg removed, the socks were one step closer to their new homes.