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?

One thing 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 Yarndale?

Lucy thought 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 garotte 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’s socks
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 world.

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.

So what 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.

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16 Responses

  1. Amy at love made my home says:

    Wow! What a wonderful achievement by everyone involved!!! The socks all look wonderful hanging on the lines – at the right height! – a real festival of socks!! I am sure that everyone who receives a pair will love and appreciate them. Another suggestion – as if you don't have enough already! – what about a local nursing home? I know that elderly peoples feet get very cold and a pair of handknitted socks would be a lovely thing to warm their feet – and no doubt their hearts too! Congratulations to you and to all the sock knitters on a great achievement! xx

  2. Marion says:

    Seeing my socks on the line gave me the feeling of satisfaction. I was so pleased to have been able to contribute to such a worthy cause. Thankyou for taking up the challenge and seeing it through. Well done.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thanks, Marion! I loved being able to tell people about all the places in the world where the socks had come from, and it's great to think that they're going to have another life after being on the Sock Line! xx

    • Helen Lynch says:

      Hi Christine, don't they look impressive, I hope you are proud of yourself for getting all the wheels in motion! I think I can just see what might be my socks there, but they took a circuitous route via Blacksheep wools. The link you have given us to a list of contributors doesn't seem to work. Thank you for all your hard work, and for being available whenever we have a crisis!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi Helen, yes your socks will be there, I made sure that I collected everything from Black Sheep before I left for Yarndale! I've also fixed the link so you'll be able to see that now xx

  3. linda says:

    It was great to meet you at Yarndale Christine and to see the fabulous sock line, I'm the one who forgot to bring her socks, typical I left them lying on the table, I was going to sent them on to you but have added them to a box of charity knits which I will be sending to knitforpeace refugee appeal so they will be going to a worthy cause. I hope you managed to buy some lovely sock yarn at Yarndale, I've already started a pair with the yarn I bought. 🙂 xx (my yarndale post is here along with a rather blurry picture of the sock line it was difficult to get a good shot) lindacraftycorner.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/come-visit-yarndale-2015.html

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I love your blog post, Linda – so many pictures of exhibitors that I missed this year! It was lovely to meet you too, and I'm so glad that your socks will be going to a good home xx

  4. Christina says:

    What an amazing achievement Christine. I am feeling quite emotional. I hope that I'll be able to go to Yarndale one day. x

  5. Rachelradiostar says:

    What a wonderful post. I chuckled at the thought of someone being sick garrotted!! I wish I could have got there.

  6. Julie Kirk says:

    What a fabulous story – a pleasure to read and it;s easy to understand why you'd feel emotional at seeing all that hard work and generosity come together like that. How lovely.

    And how wonderful to know they're now going to go on a new journey, showing their new owners that, from the bottom up, there are good people out there who are thinking of them. Perfect.


    p.s: I hopped over here from Sian's, and in my 300 comments in 30 days challenge this is No.207 … 93 to go!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hello Julie, thanks for visiting! I think the comments challenge is a fab one, I always comment if I've enjoyed reading something and always try to visit everyone who has been over to my blog too! Yes, you're absolutely right, there are a lot of good people out there and sometimes it's too easy for us to believe the media and think that there aren't many at all 🙂 xx

  7. JOAN says:

    I found my way to your blog via Lucy of Attic 24 fame! What a lovely gesture to give the socks to the needy, there are SO many world wide aren't there? I belong to a couple of groups who knit hats and blankets and wash cloths for the homeless, women's shelters, and the hospitals. I would suggest fingerless mitts for the old folks in nursing homes as their hands are often very cold. I'd love to attend Yarndale, but I'm across the pond in the US in the state of Nevada. Hopefully, I'll be able to join in for the next Sock Line. Keep up the good work! Oh yes, I'm buying your book!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hello Joan, it's lovely to see you! We've had so many pairs of socks for the Yarndale Sock Line this year, people have been very generous. I'll be posting about them and where they go very soon so that everyone can see what's happened to them. And thank you for buying the book! xx

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