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Saturday, 14 December 2019

Yarndale Sock Line Roundup 2019

With just a week or so to go before Christmas, now feels like the perfect time to tell you what happened to the Yarndale Sock Line socks that were donated this year.  I've been delaying sending them out over the last couple of years because the organisations I've sent them to have told me that they'll be given as Christmas gifts, or when the weather is particularly bad, so it has seemed easier to keep them here in one bag rather than have them cluttering up cupboards or offices before they're needed.

So, back to the beginning of the story ...

At the end of June this year, I sent out the Yarndale Sock Line request - this is the 5th year that I've done that, isn't that incredible?  If you're new to the blog and the Yarndale Sock Line, you might want to take a quick look at the post which is here, and tells you what it's all about.

Every year I say this (and every year it's true) - that I wonder whether people will have the time, the energy, the spare cash to find to buy yarn to make a pair of socks to give away, and every year I am blown away by the generosity of you all.

"I've got a few pairs of socks for you to pick up," said Lucy, when I was on my way up to Skipton to see her.  That's fair enough, I thought.  Things are tough for lots of people this year and even a few pairs is a generous gift.

This is what I collected ...


Two grey Royal Mail bags full of sock parcels sitting on a wooden floor next to grey carpeted stairs and leaning against a decorative brick internal wall

Those "few pairs" turned out to be more than just a few!  Wow!  So many socks were coming in, with more arriving every day.  Small daughter (she's my Yarndale Sock Line buddy!) and I made a start on unpacking them, and just as in every year before, it's an absolute joy to see the socks come out of the parcels - big socks, small socks, bright socks, dark socks, patterned socks, plain socks ... each one of them has been knitted with the intention of sending a gift of woolly love to someone and you can tell.


A large piled of parcels and padded envelopes of all colours - white, gold, brown - which contain socks for the Yarndale Sock Line.  On top of the pile to the top right is a pair of pink stripy socks knitted in Drops Fabel yarn

We log each of the pairs of socks as we open the packets so that we can keep track of them - I love to be able to tell you where each pair of socks has gone to, and I'll give you the link for that a little bit later in the post.  You can see the socks as we were opening them in this post.

We also put a photo of the socks up on the Yarndale Sock Line Pinterest board - here's this year's board - and you can see previous years' boards here.

A screenshot from the Yarndale Sock Line 2019 Pinterest page.  There are six photos of socks.  Top left is a pair of red and cream striped socks, top centre is a pair of blue, green and yellow striped socks (West Yorkshire Spinners yarn), top right is a pair of striped socks in shades of green, yellow, brown and white; bottom left is a pair of socks knitted in a gradient grey yarn, bottom centre is a pair of stripey socks knitted in Sirdar Heart & Sole yarn (now discontinued) in stripes of green, grey white and yellow, and bottom right is a pair of socks knitted in grey and red and orange stripes

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 over the Yarndale weekend, they were logged when I got home but not photographed - putting the pictures up on Pinterest is a time-consuming process and there just isn't time after Yarndale for me to do that.

The space that we have to display the socks at Yarndale changed last year and instead of them being up high in the Knit n Natter lounge, they're now able to be displayed around the seating area - close enough to squish, and I see plenty of that going on!  


The Knit n Natter lounge at Yarndale.  A circular ring in centre surrounded by metal panels and railings which would ordinarily keep sheep contained.  Around the outside is a seating area with padded seats of a maroon colour and steps leading down to the ring.  The steps are marked with yellow stripes at the edges. There is a pink and an orange bag on the floor to the left hand side of the central ring, and you can just see the Attic24 banner which has been draped over one of the barriers

It's always a lovely moment to walk into that space, still smelling of sheep and disinfectant, and know that it's going to be transformed into a woolly blankety socky happy place in just a short time!

Because it's a circular seating area now, it doesn't make it that easy to take photos so I hope you can get a sense of how great the socks looked from these pictures!


On the left, the edge of a sign which describes what the Yarndale Sock Line is about.  The rest of the picture is taken up with socks hanging from the Sock Line - socks of various colours each with a tag describing the size and with a personal message.  A hand is pegging up another pair on the right hand side.

Sixteen pairs of socks hanging on the Yarndale Sock Line.  They are knitted in every colour of the rainbow and are in many different sizes.  To the far left are two pairs of tiny baby socks in plastic packaging, the rest of the socks are pegged to the line to look like washing

A photograph showing socks hanging on the Yarndale Sock Line in the Skipton Auction Mart.  In the background are farming posters belonging to the Auction Mart.  In the centre are socks hanging on the Sock Line to the left, a large purple knitted banner in the centre with the words "Winwick Mum" embroidered on it and an Attic24 harmony blanket in colourwash pastel colours hanging over an internal wall to the right.  In the foreground are padded maroon bench seats

A panoramic photo taken to show a long line of socks which curved around the seating area.  There are approximately 60 pairs of socks hanging from a washing line which is strung to the wooden barrier above the maroon padded bench seats

A photo showing the Yarndale Knit n Natter lounge from the back of the lounge area.  There is a circular ring to the left; the metal barriers are draped with Attic24 blankets and there are display shelves with Attic24 colour packs for sale.  To the right are maroon padded bench seats which look onto the circular ring.  In the background are a large purple knitted banner with the words Winwick Mum embroidered in white and an Attic24 Harmony blanket in pale rainbow shades hanging over an internal wall.  In the foreground is a wooden railing with pairs of socks pegged to a washing line hanging from it

A photo showing the Yarndale Knit n Natter lounge taken from the viewpoint of the Winwick Mum stand.  The view is overlooking a central circular ring area, the metal barriers are draped with Attic24 blankets and the ring is full of people.  In the background to the right and in the foreground are wooden hand rail barriers with hand knitted socks pegged to a washing line hanging from it

A photo showing seven pairs of socks pegged to the washing line.  Six of the pairs of socks have tags showing they were knitted by "AJ".  They are in colours of peach, purple, turquoise, beige and pink.  Some of the socks have cable detail and others are knitted with two or more colours and have textured patterns.
AJ - you sneaked all these beautiful pairs in and I didn't get to say hello - again! :) 

A photograph showing seventeen pairs of socks which are pegged to the Yarndale Sock Line.  They are hanging down as if on a washing line.  In the foreground is a padded maroon bench seat and in the background is the Winwick Mum stand; two tables covered with white table cloths and displaying Winwick Mum books, socks and yarn

A photograph showing eighteen pairs of socks which are pegged to the Yarndale Sock Line.  They are hanging down as if on a washing line.  In the foreground is a padded maroon bench seat and in the background is the Winwick Mum stand; two tables covered with white table cloths and displaying Winwick Mum books, socks and yarn

A photo showing a sock being knitted in red, white and green striped yarn (West Yorkshire Spinners Candy Cane) with a view of the Yarndale Sock Line socks pegged to the washing line in the background.  The background socks are blurred as the picture focuses on the knitting in my hands.

There weren't many quiet moments, but I did manage to get a few stitches in on my own sock! 😀

There were 150 pairs of socks hanging on the Sock Line this year which is just fabulous!  I know that there are so many demands on our time and resources, so I am grateful for each and every pair that is sent in for me to give away.  And there's more good news ... 

This means that after 5 years, we have given away 931 pairs of socks, which is truly astounding.  Thank you - THANK YOU - THANK YOU!! - what an amazing thing you have done here!  And I know that every single pair is appreciated, because the people who receive them tell me so.

After the doors of Yarndale close for the year, the socks are carefully taken down from the Sock Line and brought back here to Winwick.  I log all the socks that have come in over the weekend and then begins the task of finding them all new homes.

Every year, I ask for suggestions of places to send them and every year I contact all of them.  Not everywhere wants them, for a variety of reasons, and some places just don't even get back to me.  Others want to take the socks to sell, but 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.

My next job is to sort the socks out into piles of sizes - yes, I know that doesn't look like it here but I know exactly where each size of sock is (and for those who might worry, I've vacuumed the rug very thoroughly too) ...


A photo of a large pile of socks arranged in a rainbow shape on a red rug.  The socks are sorted by size from small on the left to large on the right.  They are knitted in many different colours and patterns.  In the centre is a grey Royal Mail sack with a pile of children's socks sitting on it.  On the top is a small pair of socks knitting in West Yorkshire Spinners Winwick Mum yarn in shade Wildflower

And then I box the socks up according to what the organisation says they can use.  I could just post a selection off to them and hope for the best, but with all the time and care that's gone into them, I would feel that I had failed at the end if I didn't take the time myself to make sure that the socks were going to be used.

A photo of a cardboard box containing eighteen pairs of hand knitted socks ready to be posted.  The socks are arranged in three columns.  The socks are knitted in lots of different colours and are folded in such a way that so many pairs can be fitted into the box

This year, I've been able to send the socks out to six organisations - two children's hospices, a unit for 11-18 year olds with acute mental health issues, a centre that offers shelter from domestic abuse and two homeless organisations.  Such a range of people who will all feel the love that's been knitted into those socks.

A photo showing two piles of parcels sitting on a brown speckled front door mat.  Behind is a closed wooden door and a decorative brick internal wall.  The sun is streaming through a window on the right.  There are four cardboard boxes, one grey plastic mail bag and a reuseable shopping bag in the pile.  The boxes of socks are ready to be posted out.

Now, I know that you really like to know where the socks have gone so if you click on this link here, you can see where your pair is warming somebody's feet.

So all that remains for me now is to say thank you again, for taking the time to knit the socks, to post them to me, to send me treats and money to go towards the postage costs, and for coming to Yarndale to see for yourself what a wonderfully generous community we are part of.

Thank you.  And here's to next year!  xx

6 comments:

  1. Sorry I wasn't able to contribute this year, too much "stuff" going on. But next year I'm in! Well done to everyone who knitted those gorgeous socks. The recipients will be thrilled and touched by your generosity and love. Thank you Christine (and your special assistant) for organising the sockline each year, too. A real labour of love. xx

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  2. I want you to know that I think the effort you put into this is incredible and much appreciated I'm sure! Thank you.

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  3. Thank you for this information and I know how long this takes to do. Well done.

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  4. The Sock Line is such a fantastic project and you put so much into it, Christine. How lovely to get this news from you right now as it really brings that Christmas spirit to us. I hope that the Yarndale folk will be gifting us an update on the bears.

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  5. I am in awe. You are truly amazing. Such care and attention to detail. I do hope that there are 931 people out there who have been blessed by an amazing network of people and have warmer feet. A very special project.

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