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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
Did I mention there was cake? 😀
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!
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.
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!)
I forgot to take a photo of the socks flat but luckily Carrie has one …
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! 😀
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?
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.
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. 😀
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!