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Thursday, 8 November 2018

Peak District Yarns visit

You might not guess from these pictures but it was actually quite a bright morning on Saturday when I left Winwick to drive over to Tideswell in the Peak District to visit Peak District Yarns!  As the road snaked higher and higher, so the cloud got lower and lower and by the time I stopped to take a quite photo of these sheep (there's always got to be a photo of sheep!), it was looking quite dull.

White sheep standing by a dry stone wall in a Derbyshire field

Not so dull that you couldn't see fields as far as the horizon, though.  It's a lovely drive and Tideswell isn't as far off the beaten track as you might expect as you pass sheep, cows, farms and more sheep, leaving the towns and suburbs miles behind.


Green fields stretching into the distance in Derbyshire.  There is a broken gate in the foreground and farmhouse to the left and centre of the picture

Carrie, who owns Peak District Yarns, opened up her bricks and mortar studio earlier this year.  It's on the Peak District Yarn Trail - you can see here from this picture where it is in relation to Buxton, which is probably the most well-known Peak District town - and it's not far away at all.  In fact, there's not much distance between any of the yarn shops on the trail and there are plenty of cafes, walks and fabulous scenery to be seen on the way so what's not to like about it?!  You can download the trail map and the list of shops on the trail here.


Photograph of Peak District Yarn Trail flyer

Once you turn off the main road into Tideswell, you don't have far to go before you find the Workshop and Studio - I had driven past it before I even realised, expecting it to be difficult to find and it's really not.  What's also extremely helpful is that there is plenty of free on-road parking so you don't have far to walk either.  Now doesn't that look like the kind of shop that you'd like to spend a bit of time in?


Photo of Peak District Yarns Workshop and Studio from the outside.  An attractive single storey stone building with a moss-covered roof and grey window frames.

It's funny how you different parts of the country feel different too, isn't it?  As I drove into Tideswell, I recognised the traditional village components of a church and a pub (although not on a crossroads here as they are in many villages) and further down the street more shops and houses, and yet it didn't feel like Cheshire or Yorkshire or any other county where you would see the same buildings in villages very like this one.  


Looking down Commercial Street, Tideswell.  The George Inn is to the right of the photo and the church is in the centre.

Carrie had invited me over to see her new Studio and to bring my books for a book signing and sock clinic.  It's a great space for people to be in and for looking around - that big floor space is just right for the workshops that Carrie holds in the Studio; yarn dyeing, needle felting, sewing ... she sets up a big table in the middle so that everyone has space to work and it's very creative to be surrounded by all that yarn!

Inside Peak District Yarns studio.  There is a large open space with skeins of yarn hanging on wall racks

Here's my sock table all set up with socks from More Super Socks on display and my needle samples - it's amazing what a difference it makes for people to be able to try out needles before they buy them as not everyone will like the same ones, and there are even times when someone has decided which ones they will use but on picking them up they change their mind.  As it happened, I was handily positioned right next to the sock yarns - and the cake.

Display table set up with socks from the new More Super Socks book by Winwick Mum.  To the right of the photo are more skeins of hand-dyed yarn on wall racks.

Did I mention there was cake? 😀  

Same photo with arrow pointing to cake on a low display shelf

Not just any old cake, this was Tidza Pud which is Tideswell's version of the famous Bakewell Pudding (not to be confused with Bakewell Tart) and it was rather fabulous.  I could have eaten all quite a lot of it but didn't think it would be appropriate to be talking socks whilst covered in pastry crumbs so I may have just sneaked a couple of pieces when nobody was around ... 

Here are Carrie and I brandishing socks in front of some of her gorgeous yarns.  A lot of them are named after local landmarks or Well Dressings (I can remember a family holiday to the Peak District to see the Well Dressings when I was very small - or rather, I can remember some of the wells and getting a shiny new red waterproof coat that I was very pleased with because my parents had forgotten to bring mine and it rained a lot) which does make it very tempting to knit with not just because of the colours and the feel but also as a perfect holiday souvenir! 

Christine Perry (Winwick Mum) and Carrie Warr both smiling and holding up hand knitted socks.

Carrie has yarns in various weights and in various fibres too, not just wool.  I noticed yak and silk as well as Blue-faced Leicester and Merino and they all sing their siren song as you look at them, inviting you to touch them, squish them and take them all home.

Photo of display shelves containing gifts and yarn, and wall racks for hand-dyed yarn

Close up shot of hand-dyed yarn at Peak District Yarns

I do have a skein of Carrie's sock yarn in my stash which is how I managed to resist bringing any more home, but I was very taken with the idea of her double-stranded sock blanks.  I have heard of these before but hadn't seen any socks knitted up with them.  That blue pair hanging over the basket in the middle is knitted with such a sock blank and they are perfectly matched.  (And look, there's the cake again!)

Hand-knitted sock samples in various colours knitted from Peak District Yarns yarn.  To the left of the picture is a plate of Tidza Pud cake

I forgot to take a photo of the socks flat but luckily Carrie has one ...

Sample socks knitted up in Peak District Yarns London sock blank colourway

I don't think I've ever seen such perfectly matched hand-dyed socks as part of the charm of hand-dyed yarns is that they often don't match at all and that's what makes them unique, but for those of us who twitch if our socks don't match, this is the ideal solution!  

I had such a lovely time in that bright airy shop, talking socks and saying hello to so many knitters, and I want to say a thank you to everyone who travelled to see me and show me your socks.  I'm really delighted to know that there are so many sock knitters around and I hope that I've been able to encourage a few more people to start!  

I got to squish some local wool too; a lady had brought in some yarn spun from her own sheep which had been dyed into yet more gorgeous colours.  The elusive Derbyshire Gritstone sheep was mentioned ... I'm fascinated by this breed of sheep as I've been told that the yarn is great for knitting socks with, but as far as I can find out, the fleece doesn't get past the spinning community for us non-spinners to try out.  So far, I have avoided the spinning rabbit hole (I have enough excuses not to do the ironing!) but this could tempt me a little closer to the edge! 😀

More hand-dyed yarns in various colours ranging from black to shades of orange hanging on wall racks.

The Studio is very well-stocked with so many yarns to choose from, books, patterns, hooks and needles, cards, dyeing equipment and shawl pins like this rather elegant one here ... isn't it pretty?

Silver shawl pin in the shape of a bouquet of flowers pinned to hand-knitted shawl in hand-dyed Peak District yarn in shades of orange and pink

When she's not running workshops, Carrie is often to be found dyeing yarn and this is where the magic happens.  If you're a dyer, it must be great to have a dedicated space to be able to do your work without having to negotiate around day-to-day life in your kitchen.  I would be much safer in a space like this because I know there would be mess and even in my limited experience (World Book Day costumes, thank goodness they're not required at high school and university!), dyeing mess is generally not the sort that washes off very easily.

Peak District Yarns dye studio.  To the left is a radiator and above that chrome drying racks.  To the right is a long worktop and stainless steel sink.  Stainless steel basins are stacked above the sink

All too soon it was time to pack up my belongings and head home.  I'm always sorry to leave when I visit yarn shops and this visit was no exception.  The good thing about driving home, though, was that I got to see more sheep and some cows. 😀

Photo of cows in a field bordered with dry stone walls.  The light is quite dull as it's mid-afternoon on a dull day

White sheep in a grassy field behind a dry stone wall.

Peak District Yarns is open to customers on Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, and yarns and workshops are available to buy/book online.  

Thank you so much to Carrie for a lovely day, I hope the Peak District Yarns Workshop and Studio is very successful!


14 comments:

  1. What a lovely day Christine. Yarn Trail is now my my bucket list and I’m sure Nola’s when I tell her about it .... now to tell the hubbie 😁😁😁

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    1. Yes, you've been home for two minutes so it must be time to go away again ... ;) xx

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  2. What a great shop.
    Hope you are able to get hold of some of the elusive Derbyshire sheep yarn to give it a try.

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    1. It's on my list - I'm sure I'll track it down one day! :) xx

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  3. I had a fabulous day at Peak District Yarns .. it was the first time I'd been and it definitely won't be the last as I'm only half an hour away. Oh there were some gorgeous cafes in Tideswell too! It was so lovely to meet you (thank you for allowing my fangirl selfie :) ) and great to be able to ask a question re heels that I couldn't get my head around. x

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    1. It was great to meet you too, Carol! I'll definitely be going back to have another look around the area too, there wasn't enough time on Saturday but it certainly looks like a place to explore. I'm really glad we got your heels sorted out :) xx

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  4. Definately will be planning our next trip back to the UK around these yarn festivals. I will be calling in on Carries shop too. Thankyou for this wonderful blog. As always I find what you have to say fascinating. I really enjoy them.

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  5. It was a lovely to meet you, hopefully in the near future I'll have my Derbyshire Gritstone 4 ply for you to knit with. All the best bleetingbecka

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    1. Ooh, that would be amazing if you have any to spare, thank you! It was lovely to meet you too, I hope you've decided to make a jumper for yourself out of those gorgeous blues :) xx

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  6. Hello,
    I'm going to make your Easy Cable socks. It will be my first time making a cable--I just started knitting socks this year and have done 2 1/2 pairs. I have the instructions and will also be following the videos. I ordered my yarn to match the one used from Northern Yarns...so beautiful. Quick question...on the label the yarn company indicates that they haven't recommended this for socks due to being too soft. Did you find this a problem? Should I knit an elastic tread in the cuff? Please advise. Thanks!

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    1. This year's batch of Northern Yarn's Poll Dorset has turned out to be softer than last year's - the joy of having yarn spun from fleeces is that it can be slightly different every time due to a variety of reasons, but it's not something that I had thought about or expected when I used Kate's yarn for the Easy Cable socks. It's not the cuffs that will potentially be a problem but more that you'll wear through the socks faster as softer yarn isn't as hard-wearing. I do know of someone who is planning to try out the yarn for socks this year but I don't think she's knitted them yet so I can't give you any feedback.

      What I would suggest is that if you want to use the yarn, reinforce any places where you might be more likely to wear them out with heel stitch or the ribbed heel stitch from the Patchwork Socks pattern. For me, it's always the toes that go so socks that are going straight into my sock drawer always have heel stitch across the toes to make them more hardwearing. You might find the tutorial on reinforced heels, soles and toes helpful (look in the patterns and printables section, click on the yellow picture to the right of the blog) and I'd also recommend that you don't wash the socks at any temperature hotter than 30 degrees - mine survived a 40 degree wash but the fabric of the yarn has changed and it won't be to everyone's taste. Hope that helps! xx

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