Yarndale Sock Line 2019

It’s that time of year again … Yarndale Sock Line time!

If you’ve never heard of the Yarndale Sock Line, let me tell you a little bit about it.  Back in 2015, the year that the Sockalong started, people who had started to knit their own socks asked if it would be possible for sock bunting to be hung up at Yarndale – it would fit beautifully with Yarndale’s mission to celebrate craft and creativity, and would also be an opportunity for people to show what they had learnt in the few short months since the Sockalong had started.  If you’ve ever been to Yarndale, you’ll have seen the miles and miles of bunting that decorate the entrance hall; what could be better than socks to go with it?

My lovely friend Lucy from Attic24, a sock knitter herself nowadays, was all in favour and the Yarndale Sock Line was born!  The idea was that anyone who wanted to could send in socks to hang up in the Auction Mart – but then it struck me that it would be such a shame to put them away in storage after a weekend of being on display, not to mention where they would be stored (I could just imagine my husband’s face when I told him that our house was to be insulated by sock bunting!).  I decided that instead of single socks, I would ask for pairs which could be given away after Yarndale; it was a big ask in both time and money as yarn isn’t cheap and socks can be quite time-consuming to knit, but but I had reckoned without the kindness of the crafting community and before long, pairs of socks were flooding in.  The rest, as the saying goes, is history!

So far, over 780 pairs of socks have been displayed and then gifted on the Yarndale Sock Lines at the last four Yarndale festivals.  That’s a lot of socks!  It has been truly humbling to see the generosity in terms of time, yarn and skills that have been gifted, and so lovely to know that so many people have wanted to join in and have their socks displayed.

After Yarndale, the socks are all given away.  We choose not to sell them and give the money to charity – we firmly believe that there’s a very special pleasure in being given something that someone has made for you with the express intention of making your life that little bit brighter, even if just for a short time, that can’t be replaced with cash.  So far, the socks have gone to homeless shelters, charities which help rough sleepers, crisis centres, family centres, hospices for adults and children, residential homes … we want to send them to anywhere where people will appreciate some woolly, socky love.

You can see all the places that the socks went to in 2018, 20172016 and 2015.

We welcome all socks to the Sock Line; it doesn’t matter whether it’s your first pair or your 100th pair, it’s all about being part of the Yarndale creative community and also helping someone less fortunate at the end of it all.  If you’d like to get involved in this year’s Yarndale Sock Line and be part of the Auction Mart bunting, here’s what you need to do to get involved:

1  Knit a pair of socks.  Any size, any pattern, any yarn – just a pair of socks that someone will be able to wear, although please consider when choosing your yarn that depending on their circumstances, it may not always easy for the recipients to wash the socks regularly and they will need to be hard-wearing unless they are specifically knitted as bed socks.  From plain socks to patterned, those of us who are sock knitters know that a kind of magic happens when someone puts on a pair of hand knits and they will be delighted with their socks of any style.  Top down, toe up, two at a time, even crocheted if that’s your thing – whatever your preference!  If you’re brand new to socks, you can find the Sockalong tutorials to take you through knitting a pair step-by-step here.  Note: I’ve been told that rough sleepers don’t like anything that makes them appear conspicuous, so if you specifically want your socks to be gifted to somewhere that helps rough sleepers, please choose a dark colour.

One of the things that I hadn’t realised until I started looking into re-homing the donated socks is that places that look after children also need bigger sizes as well as the tiny sizes as poorly children are not always very young with small feet.   It really doesn’t matter what size you knit as we will find a home for them all.  Every year we have sizes from tiny baby socks to huge men’s socks and they are all gratefully received so you can take your pick!

This year, I’m going to use the leftovers from a ball of Wildflower yarn – Yarndale socks are a great use of leftovers! My plan (she says, ambitiously) is to knit them as two at a time (TAAT) socks on a long circular needle using magic loop and create a tutorial at the same time (maybe even with video if I’m feeling super-ambitious!) which I can share with you later as I’ve been asked a lot recently about TAAT socks.  Phew, talk about multi-tasking! 😀

2  Create a tag for the socks.   It’s lovely to be able to see where the socks have come from, but it’s also practical as it’s easier to see where the socks should go when they are clearly labelled.  A luggage label is an ideal size, but you can make your own labels if you’d rather.  We have some very special Yarndale ones that you can download too.  Please don’t use a label that wraps right around a pair of folded socks as it’s not easy to hang them up for everyone to admire.

The label needs to be securely attached to your pair of socks and have your name (your first name is fine), the place you live, the size of the socks (in UK size, please) and what the yarn content is in case anyone has issues with wool.  If there are any particular washing instructions you may want to squeeze those on too.

On the back, feel free to write a message to whoever might receive your socks, but please don’t give any personal information.

Last year, lots of socks didn’t have labels on them at all which was a real shame.  Aside from the fact that not knowing what size the socks are or what yarn they are made from makes the job of rehoming them longer as I’ve got to try to work it out, the people at the organisations where the socks are sent have told me that having a personal message on the label means a great deal to those who are receiving the socks – probably more than you would ever think.  Please try really hard not to forget your label!

3  Attach the socks securely together.  I don’t want any socks going AWOL at the Auction Mart!  You can either do this by using a safety pin or by threading the string or yarn from your label onto a wool needle and taking it through both socks …

before bringing the yarn back through to the front and tying with a secure knot.

4  Post your socks.  Requests for the Yarndale Sock Line will be running alongside requests for the Yarndale Creative Project which Lucy will be announcing on her blog shortly – whether you plan to take part in just one or both of these, we’re asking for everything to be sent to the same address to help to reduce postage costs.  To be sure that I will have enough time to to pick them up from Lucy in Skipton and log all the socks before Yarndale (it helps with the distribution afterwards) then I need your socks to arrive by Saturday 7 September 2019 please.  Here’s the address:

Yarndale Sock Line

c/o Attic24

PO Box 97


North Yorkshire

BD23 9EN

If you’ve got both socks and the Creative Project item in your envelope, please write on the envelope somewhere that you’ve done that so Lucy knows to take her item out!

Can I bring the socks to Yarndale with me?   Previously, I’ve said that’s no problem but one year there were so many pairs that arrived over the Yarndale weekend that there was no space to display them and they ended up piled on the floor and that made me sad, as the original idea of the Sock Line was to celebrate everyone’s socky achievements.  If you live in the UK, please do your best to get them to me by the date above so that I’ve got time to make sure there is space to display them for when Yarndale opens.  It’s fine to bring them with you if you’re visiting from abroad as I know the postage charges can be ridiculous.

How many pairs of socks can I send?   Since the structural alterations took place last year in the Auction Mart where the Knit n Natter Lounge is going to be, there is less space to hang the socks.  I want to be able to show off everybody’s socks – the Sock Line is part of the celebration of creativity, after all – so please, no more than 2 pairs per person.  I know that some people knit lots of pairs to send for the Sock Line because of the fact that we give them away and I do appreciate that very much, but I don’t want to run out of room to show them all off and cause anybody any disappointment if they can’t see them at Yarndale.  If you’ve already knitted more than 2 pairs, you could gift them locally – I’m sure they’d be very welcome!

What to do if you live abroad.  I am well aware that Yarndale is a UK-based festival and that to take part might involve a hefty expense with postage.  So, instead of sending me your socks from around the world – although you are very welcome to do so if you’d like to – you might prefer to gift your socks locally.  All of the Yarndale Sock Line socks are sent to UK organisations and you might know of somewhere near you where they would be equally appreciated.  So that you can still join in with the Yarndale Sock Line, just follow the steps above and take a picture of your finished socks, complete with the label so we know who you are, and email it to me.  I’ll print out your picture and hang that on the Sock Line alongside the other pairs so if you can let me know whereabouts in the world you are and where you will be gifting your socks, I’ll add that information so that we can see socks being gifted all over the world!

What if I’ve got a suggestion of where the socks can go?  Please tell me!  Remember that we send our socks to UK-based organisations and we want to gift them to the people who need to put them on their feet, not sell them on.  Send me your suggestions or drop me a note when you post your socks and I’ll get in touch with the places you suggest when we know how many pairs of socks we can give.  It’s really helpful to have ideas before Yarndale so that the socks can be sent out as soon as possible afterwards.

Where can I get those Yarndale sock labels that you mentioned?  Right here!  They’ve been specially designed just for the Yarndale Sock Line and have space for all the information that you need to add.  We’ve got them in three different colours so that you can choose the one you like the best, and feel free to add your own decorations too if you want to.  We also have labels without the Yarndale logo if you prefer to use those (these are also ideal for general socky gifts!).

And that’s it.  It’s been wonderful to see all the socks as part of what Yarndale is all about, and to know that the socks we have gifted so far have been very much appreciated so the effort that you make to get involved is more than worthwhile.

Do ask if you’ve got any questions – and thank you if you are getting involved this year.  Your bit of knitted love goes a long way! xx

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11 Responses

  1. happy hooker says:

    Let the casting on begin! xx

  2. selina says:

    i so love reading about your Yarndale Festival & seeing all those gorgeously knitted socks! such a beautiful thing giving them out to those who need them too
    busy times coming up for you & Lucy again, be sure to keep the fun going
    thanx for sharing

  3. Susan Rayner says:

    I can't wait for your tutorial for TAAT socks! No matter which YouTube I look at there is no way they make sense! I am sure that thou will be able to make even this way of knitting socks intelligible to me!

  4. purpleivy says:

    Suggestion for sock donations this year. Our very own Room at The Inn in Warrington.

  5. Heather says:

    Will start a pair right now! Happy to send xx

  6. Unknown says:

    Hi there, when i click on the label link it says that it's not there?

  7. Sarah says:

    Now I know what’s happening. Looking forward to joining in 🧦🧦

  8. Lazy Days & Sundays says:

    First pair completed and a second pair on the needles now.


  9. Sheryl says:

    I’m going to do this for the first time and, yes please to a tutorial on magic loop with two socks. I just don’t get it!

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