Yarndale 2017 – My favourite moments

It seems longer than two weeks ago that Yarndale filled the Auction Mart in Skipton; already October has arrived and the nights are drawing in.  It’s been lovely to look back on my Yarndale photos this last week as I’ve got ready to write this post.  I absolutely love the Yarndale weekend and being involved with the festival (thank you so much for all your comments on my Yarndale Sock Line post – I will reply to them soon!), and my heart swells with happiness from the moment I get into my car, loaded down with socks, books, emergency chocolate (totally essential for a Yarndale weekend!) and my shopping list of yarns and treats that I want to look at.

This is the fifth time I’ve visited Yarndale and the third time that I’ve been involved in the festival.  I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.  Would you like to have a look at some of my photos too?  Get ready for a photo-heavy post of my favourite Yarndale moments!  (Disclaimer:  it’s also very long – I did consider splitting it into two posts but thought you might have had enough of Yarndale by now.  Feel free to have a lie down in the middle if you need to.)

 💜   Setting up 

One of the things I like most about Yarndale is the way that it reminds me how closely connected we are as crafters to the farmers and the sheep that produce our yarn.  There’s always a smell of livestock in the Auction Mart even though the floors are scrubbed, and here’s why …

Source: www.facebook.com/Yarndale/

There were 10,000 sheep in the Auction Mart the day before the exhibitors moved in to start setting up.  Some of them didn’t go very far … this was taken looking out of one of the Auction Mart side doors on Friday afternoon!

The pens are scrubbed out, tables and chairs are left ready for the exhibitors to make the space their own.  There’s always a cacophony of noise; banging, clattering, the sound of wheels rattling over the ridged concrete floors, all of it echoing around the metal-roofed building and mingling with the sounds of busy conversations as people start to fill the space.  Happy noise.

💜  The Yarndale Sock Line

Of course!  My own little space in the Knit n Natter Lounge next to Lucy and the friendly folks from Wool Warehouse is just the nicest place to spend the weekend.  Walking into the enclosed area feels like coming home now, and I love that moment when I start to peg socks out on the Sock Line.  Until then, I don’t really get a sense of just how many a pairs of socks we have because they’ve all been looked at over a period of weeks and not all at the same time.  We had soooo  many pairs of socks this year – you can find out just how many in the post about this year’s Yarndale Sock Line here.

I also love getting out my “Why not knit socks?” washing line that small daughter helped me to make last year.  Be warned, this will be coming to Yarndale with me even when small daughter is definitely not small any more! 🙂

💜  Yarn – and so much more

Yarndale’s mission is to celebrate creativity and yarn in all it’s forms.  I think they do this beautifully with the mix of exhibitors that they have.  There’s something for everyone, and I like that every pen is set up differently.  

Some of them occupy a big space where you can see everything from a distance …

Blacker Yarns 

and others have a smaller space which invites you to get up close to look at the detail that’s gone into the work on sale.

Daisy Florence Design

There are balls of yarn in boxes …

Blacker Yarns

Skeins of yarn in boxes …

Eden Cottage Yarns

Skeins of yarn hanging on hooks … 

Hand Dyed by Kate

Skeins of yarn on tables … 

The Knitting Goddess

Yarn that looks like cats … how brilliant is that?!

Mothy and the Squid

And that’s before you start to look at the fibre for spinning and the sheep themselves that have come along for the weekend.

Buttons … I’ve never really got the whole button thing, if I’m honest.  There are people who buy them and hoard them because they’re pretty and I can see why they would do that, but it’s never been something that I’ve wanted to do – until I saw these ones.  It was like a whole sweetie shop full of buttons!  One of those, one of those, one of those …

Textile Garden
Textile Garden
Textile Garden

I love looking at the felt-work.  I have to say that I’m in awe of people who can stab away at piles of fibre and make them look like little animals or birds.  Or big dogs, in case of one exhibitor.  I have a felting kit in a cupboard and that’s where it’s staying.  My fingers were not designed to be a pincushion.  I’ll leave it to the experts!

I love the eclectic mix of exhibitors, people that I would know nothing about unless I saw them here, and my life would have been poorer for not being able to admire the creative talent that’s on show.

Janet Browne Textiles

The UK Handknitting Association’s Yarn Doctors (Bronagh, left, and Juliet) were on hand to teach beginners how to knit or crochet and to unravel problems for more experienced knitters.  

It’s not all about yarn, either, and that’s what makes Yarndale so inclusive.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t knit, you can find half a dozen (or more) other crafts to try out. 


The two things that I noticed more of this year were giant yarn, knitting needles and crochet hooks …

and also undyed yarn for hand-dyeing.  I think there’s been a big rise in people wanting to have a go for themselves after seeing so many beautiful yarns around.  Some of them, like podcaster Kathryn from Crafternoon Treats, will discover a latent talent and have their own stands at Yarndale …

Crafternoon Treats

and other people, after having had a go at it, will prefer to remain staunch appreciators of the dyeing skills of others (and not having to clean up the mess afterwards).  I could see me being in that group of people!

There was so much more that I missed.  I always think, especially as I go to help set up, that I will see everything but I never do.  Every year I read other people’s blog posts and think “Where was that, then?” and “Oh, I wish I’d seen that!” and I resolve to make sure that I don’t miss anything the next year.  Ahem.

💜  Waking up in someone else’s town

Did you ever stay over at a friend’s house when you were a child, dropped off by your parents and waving goodbye to them as they left you behind in a house that you knew but somehow felt different because they weren’t there?  That’s how it feels to me when I go up to Skipton for Yarndale weekend.  Whenever I visit Lucy, I usually have to be home in time for small daughter getting home from school but over Yarndale weekend, my husband is in charge at home and there’s no need for me to rush back.  Instead, I can take a long shower in my hotel room without cats coming in to remind me they need breakfast or small daughter wanting money for the school bus.  I can go out to the pub in the evening to meet up with friends without having to worry about babysitters or what time I need to be back home.  I can be the first one at the supermarket in the morning, watching the sun rise over the hills as I wait for the manager to open the doors so that I can buy toothpaste because I’ve forgotten to bring mine.  Ah, freedom.

 💜  Celebrating creativity

Because that’s what Yarndale is all about, isn’t it?  From the miles of bunting in the Yarndale Hub … 

to the current creative project – this year it was crocheted hearts to raise funds for the mental health charity, MIND

and here’s my contribution, hastily hooked on Friday night after I left the Auction Mart.  Nothing like leaving it till the last minute!

The yarn-bombing outside (this was my absolute favourite bit – look at that snail trail!) …

and Lucy’s mandalas swinging in the trees …

More mandalas in the cafe area …

and the biggest mandala in the world (or so it seemed to me) …

Giant mandala made by Hester

it’s all about getting involved, and I think that’s what so many people like about Yarndale.  

💜  Friends old and new

I met so many people over the Yarndale weekend and admired so many pairs of socks.  It was brilliant!  I love saying hello to people in real life who have knitted socks or read the blog (yes, that’s you!) and I know there were so many more that I missed seeing because it was too busy or I just had to nip to the loo (sorry, when a girl’s gotta go, a girl’s gotta go!).  Thank you to everyone who came to say hello, it was really lovely to see you!

And so many tiny socks too!  This one came all the way from Canada and the photo is slightly fuzzy because I was so excited to see it!

I love being part of this socky community that has developed, I absolutely love it.  There were meet-ups a-plenty and it was a joy to watch people who have only ever communicated online finally see each other in real life.

💜   Giant Swaledale Sheep

What is it about these giant sheep, their cheeky sheepdog and the shepherd that tickles me so much?  No idea, but I get really giddy when I see them.  I’ve got almost as many photos of these sheep as I took of real sheep when I went to Woolfest last year.  That’s a lot.

💜  Packing up

You’d think this bit would make me feel sad, but it doesn’t.  It feels right, at the end of a busy weekend, a bit like a circle of life type of thing.  The Yarndale seed is sown, it blooms over the weekend and then it disappears again, having spread seeds of creativity far and wide.  And next year it will happen all over again.  Comfortable, familiar, seasonal.  

I have so many more photos but this post has gone on for quite long enough (some would say too long!).  Let me show you one final photo of the treats I came home with, some bought and some gifted, and then I’ll leave you in peace.

💜  Yarndale treats

Clockwise from the top left is some WindSong Fibers Farm cormowool/alpaca yarn from America, a new project bag (can you ever have too many of these?), watermelon sock yarn from Hand Dyed by Kate (ooh, I’ve fancied some of this for such a long time!), Dodgson Wood Castlemilk Moorit and Bluefaced Leicester DK yarn from Northern Yarn, hand-dyed mini skeins from Yarn Magpie, One Farm Yarn 4ply yarn in shade Elephant from The Knitting Goddess, calico cat 4ply yarn from Mothy and the Squid and in the middle a dinky felted sock made just for me by Beth.

I always feel so spoilt when I leave Skipton and the empty Auction Mart with full shopping bags and a full heart.  A weekend just for me to indulge in yarny things and fill up my well-being tanks ready for the coming darker days of autumn and winter.  I am looking forward to next year already!

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20 Responses

  1. Heidijo says:

    I am so hoping to come next year,and meet everyone and see all the goodness on offer looks so brilliant through yours and Lucy's blogs.

  2. MarshIsleFiberArts says:

    Someday I will make it to Yarndale! Thanks for the great tour of the event.

  3. suzyjune says:

    I loved reading your post (and viewing your pictures) about Yarndale, Christine. It was almost as good as being there. I know how exciting it must have been to be able to be there in the flesh. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us 🙂

  4. selina says:

    awesome! Calico Cats wool OH MY GOSH! wouldn't a lovely long cardigan look great in that?! am so tickled by it……ahemmm
    what a wonderful weekend Yarndale must be, i'm too far away from all the yarnie events here.
    loved the photos & look forward to next years again!
    so, how many pairs of socks turned up this year? was it more than last year?
    thanx for sharing

  5. Marion says:

    Yarndale is just so lovely, everyone so friendly and lots to see and buy. It was lovely to stop and say hello to you again this year also I plucked up the courage this year to ask if I could have my photo taken with you and you was kind enough to say yes. It made my day😀. Thank you Christine for such a marvellous book on how to knit socks and for always writing a lovely blog. xxx

  6. Brendaintheboro says:

    just found your blog recently via Attic 24. I have wanted to go to Yarndale but its only a couple of weekends after the quilt show at Harrogate( quilting is my other passion) that I talked myself out of it. I knit socks and am currently knitting a Norweigan cardigan using a pattern written in Norweigan. I have to say that its a steep learning curve but I am getting there. waiting to see more sock knitting lovely things.

  7. happy hooker says:

    Pass me the tissues – I'm drooling so much! All that gorgeousness in one place. Already started on next year's socks…

  8. Lucy Davies says:

    What a great summary. Lovely to see the before and after photos too. It was my first Yarndale this year, and already I can't wait for the next one! 🙂

    xx Lucy

  9. mrssheepie says:

    Your photos of the yummy stalls were lovely. I also loved seeing everyone's photos on the Winwick site. Due to mobility problems I'm unlikely to go but even I can't wait for next year

  10. Lilly's Mom says:

    Such a wonderful time you had! I'm so happy for you and your socks this year were amazing. I love the cat yarn you found; reminds me of my Lilly. Have fun with all your new goodies. Hugs. Pat

  11. Unknown says:

    Christine, what a great overview of Yzrndale and a surprise to see my tiny Canadian sock!! Lovely to meet you and see the amazing sock line. Hope I will be able to visit Yarndale again with extra space in my suitcase.

  12. The Knitting Cross Stitcher says:

    Lovely post.I enjoyed every picture,thank you for sharing them.

  13. Kim says:

    Thank you for all of your lovely pictures of Yarndale 2017. I hopep to attend one day coming from the U.S. Maybe I will try to convince my husband that we need to visit England in September for our twentieth anniversary. Via Lucy, I am inspired to try to once again try to learn to knit socks. I am a crocheter primarily. I have your pattern printed out and plan to keep at it. Being left handed is a slight disadvantage, but I have found youtube videos done for lefthanded knitters. I might try making a sock in worsted first just to get the hang of it first. Thank you for your generosity and encouragement on your website. I heard you on the british knitting blog…you were fabulous!

  14. Lenore says:

    Thank you Christine for sharing all the photos, what a fabulous event you have all created. I'm so excited about next year. I can see I will need to leave plenty of room in my suitcase to bring all the treasures I buy home. Xx

  15. Anonymous says:

    I love Yarndale – it's more than just a yarn festival. The moment you walk in you're enveloped in a warm, friendly feeling that stays with you long after you're back home and your yarn is stashed. The exhibitors are all wonderful, and no matter how busy, they've always got time for you.
    This year was even more special because of the number of 'Winwickers' who managed to meet up.
    Thank you for starting this wonderful community and thanks to the team for all the hard work they put in
    Liz Phillips

  16. beancounter says:

    Fab weekend Christine. Looking forward to next year 💜

  17. Woolly Chic says:

    So many happy memories! Looking forward to next year!

  18. Julie says:

    Thank you for the tour of your Yarndale favourites…a few new to me sites to visit you have linked to.

  19. AnnieOBTextiles says:

    Thank you for this virtual Yarndale experience and one day I hope to experience it is person! Mean time it is lovely to share your obvious joy and pleasure in this great yarny festival.

  20. Loraine McLean says:

    It was my first Yarndale and I was so happy, like I'd found paradise. I really could have spent a fortune, and probably would have done if hubby hadn't been with me, ha! I loved meeting you Christine, and was so impressed with the Sock Line, I had brought mine and it felt great to be able to add mine to the line. Hubby couldn't understand why I was giddy with excitement, he doesn't get it. But it was good of him to take me, and to go around all the stalls too. Now I just have to hope that he'll do the same next year xx

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