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Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Yarndale Sock Line 2018

It seems like a very long time ago that I sent out the request for socks for the Yarndale Sock Line this year ... half a year ago, in fact!  I'm very late with letting you know where they've all gone to this year, but you don't have to wait much longer ...

Just a bit longer, though ... I want to tell you about Yarndale and the socks first!  (If you're new to the Yarndale Sock Line, you can find out all about it here.)

Whenever I click the "publish" button on the Yarndale Sock Line request post, there's always a moment where I catch my breath - and then exhale again, knowing that the post is out there and whatever will happen next, will happen next.  There are so many demands on our time, on our budgets, so many deserving charities that want us to use our skills to help them ... every year, I try not to worry that my pair of socks will be the only ones hanging in the Auction Mart, and every year my fears have been unfounded.  Thank you.  The generosity of the crafting community - and especially the sock knitting community - never fails to bring a tear to my eye.

In what feels like only moments later (although in reality is a few weeks because seriously, if we could all knit socks in a few moments then no one would ever have cold feet!), the parcels start arriving with Lucy in Skipton.  We always choose to send them to her first because she organises a Yarndale creative project and it's easier and cheaper for someone to send everything in one parcel if they want to.  It also gives me a good excuse (as if I need one!) to drive up to Skipton to spend some time with my lovely friend and drink hot chocolate at Coopers whilst we're cosily ensconced in Lucy's Studio πŸ˜€



Oh, the socks that arrive!  I love every single pair.  I love the time and the care that has gone into them.  I love them with patterns and without.  I love them with stripes, with sparkles, with gradient colours and with solid colours.  I love all of the messages that come with them, and I love that I am able to pass them on to people who need them.  It's an incredible privilege, it really is.


This is the fourth year of the Yarndale Sock Line and I've got a system going now for logging the sock details - you might wonder why I do this, and it's so that I can tell you later where the socks have gone.  It's something that I believe is in keeping with Yarndale's community theme and is also something that I feel very strongly about - I believe that if you know where your pair of socks has gone, the positive thoughts that you've already knitted into your socks are strengthened as you can imagine where your socks are and who they might be helping.  Fanciful?  Perhaps, but who knows what power our thoughts have?


Small daughter has been my sock-logging companion this year as big daughter has been away at university.  She loves to be the one to open the envelopes and packets, handing the socks over to me for further admiration before she arranges them for their official Pinterest photograph.  We work well together, my youngest girl and me.  And you can see her photos here on our Yarndale Sock Line 2018 Pinterest board.  There are boards for each of the years which you can find here.


Unfortunately, there isn't a photo for every pair of socks that went onto the Sock Line.  If they arrived after the time when I could log them before Yarndale or they came to Yarndale over the festival weekend, they were logged when I got home but not photographed - putting them up on Pinterest is a time-consuming process and there just isn't time after Yarndale for me to do that.

On the weekend of the festival, all of the socks are taken up to Skipton where they get hung on the Yarndale Sock Line.  Oh, that's another of my favourite moments!  There had been a change to the layout of the Knit n Natter lounge this year.  This was last year's space ...


and this was the space this year ...


As you can see, it's much brighter and airier now, and instead of sharing the floor space, Lucy had the ring to herself whilst I had a high-up perch where this photo was taken from.  You can see that the overhead metalwork from where I'd previously hung the socks had gone, and instead they were hung around the seating areas so that everybody who sat in amongst them could have a woolly hug all for themselves.




 I even discovered the panoramic camera setting on my phone!




Just in case you think that it doesn't look as if there are very many socks, let me tell you that there were around 150 pairs on that section of the Sock Line you can see in the photo above!

Oh, these socks are so admired over the weekend!  It's lucky that I see so many socks in the Winwick Mum Facebook groups that I can recognise a lot of the yarns now as I also got asked about particular colours or stripe combinations.  I regularly had people wanting to buy them, too, and I had to watch their expressions change to ones of disappointment when I told them that they were going to be given away - although I did offer to teach them how to knit socks for themselves! πŸ˜€  

After Yarndale, the socks are carefully packed away so as not to separate the pairs or lose their labels, and the job begins of sending them out to their new homes.  We had 206 pairs (wow!) donated this year - less than last year but it meant that they all got displayed (we ran out of space last year) and it also meant that I was able to re-home them all without too much trouble.  The re-homing actually takes longer than you might expect as it can be surprisingly difficult to give the socks to places where they can be put straight onto a person's feet.  



Every year, I ask for suggestions of places to send them and every year I contact all of them.  Some don't have phone numbers and never reply to my emails (some organisations are super-difficult to get in touch with, but still ask for fundraising help which always seems a bit odd to me), other places don't want the socks because of worries that they might not be suitable for the people they care for (this usually tends to be places with medical facilities) and more places want the socks but only so that they can sell them themselves.  We have always made the decision that to the best of our knowledge, the Yarndale socks go to places where they are given directly to the people who will wear them - as knitters we all know how undervalued our projects can be by people who are not crafters themselves, and it would break my heart to know that our beautiful socks might be sold for less than the yarn cost because that's all that people would pay for them.  Yes, I quite understand that the charities need the money, but I have always believed that someone being able to put a pair of socks onto their feet that somebody else has knitted and gifted to them is worth far more than the few pounds that would go into the shop's cash register.  Luckily, although some organisations that have turned our socks down, far more agree with our put-the-socks-on-feet view and have welcomed them with delight.

The socks are sorted into piles according to size ...


and then they're boxed up according to what the organisation they're going to needs.  This year, they've gone to homeless organisations in England and Northern Ireland (which includes the crisis centres they have links to), two hospices and a charity which helps the families of prisoners.  You can find out more about the organisations and if you knitted socks, where yours have gone here.


And that's it!  The Yarndale Sock Line has done it's job for another year.  The socks have arrived at their new homes, and I need to tell you that they are very much appreciated.  Here's one of the messages that I've had already ...


You did that.  And this ...

The text in the photo is a bit small so here it is again:

Dear Christine

Just a quick note to say that Caroline has passed on the box of beautiful socks, that you have kindly donated to us, here within the clinical area.  We will be giving these out to our patients over the next few weeks!

The quality and variety of socks is truly exception - they have far exceeded what we were expecting and we are so very grateful to you and all of those people who have lovingly knitted them.  The gift tags are a wonderful addition too.  Such a kind and generous offer.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy 2019.

Thank you again.


Proud of yourselves?  You should be!

Thank you.  Thank you for taking the time to make the socks, for going to the Post Office to send them to me, for sending me money to help pay for the postage costs when the socks are sent out and for making my cry when I get emails like the one above pinging into my inbox.  Thank you to the Yarndale team for letting me hang all those socks up.  From the bottom of my heart.

Same again next year?


8 comments:

  1. ohhh, my goodness, am nearly in tears reading the thank you email;
    i haven't knitted you any socks yet but can imagine the appreciation they must feel, one year i will get a pair to you too; this is such wonderful generosity.
    have a merry christmas & a happy & safe new year
    thanx for sharing

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  2. You've shared a perfect story for the Christmas season. A gift truly from the heart. It's been amazing to see your sock project grow year after year. And, for such a wonderful cause. Merry Christmas dear friend, PatπŸŽ„❣️πŸŽ„

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  3. I love this blog and look forward to it every year! So nice to know our socks have gone to good homes - and what lovely thank you letters you have received! Am already planning next year's contribution!

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  4. I'm still getting to grips with sock knitting, and a cot blanket for my first grandchild is current project, but on my 2019 list of intentions is to have a pair of socks hanging on the line at Yarndale 2019. And to visit! :)

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. xxx

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  5. Same again next year? With bells on! I'll be getting started on my 2019 socks after Christmas.Not only proud of myself but also very proud of you. It's fantastic what one little germ of an idea can achieve. Well done, Christine.
    I'm wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year. xxx

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  6. Thank you for a lovely blog, found my socks on the sock line. I will definitely make more next year if it happens again

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  7. Thank you for a lovely blog, found my socks on the sock line. I will definitely make more next year if it happens again

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  8. Yes! Definitely same again next year! You do an amazing job organising the sock line and I am proud to be part of it, thank you. It was really lovely to meet you at Yarndale this year. I hope you have a restful festive break after the busy year you've had. Cynthia from London x

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