The last weekend in September is Yarndale, and this year, the yarn festival celebrated its 10th birthday. A week ago today, I jumped into my car and headed across the Pennines to make my third visit to Yarndale and it didn’t disappoint. Here’s what I got up to….
As always, the front entrance to the festival was decorated with metres and metres of Yarndale bunting, made by crocheters around the world (including one by me!) and sent to Skipton back in the early days of the festival. Another annual tradition was the introduction of a new Yarndale sheep… this year’s new addition to the flock was Tristen to mark the tenth birthday – do you get it? TrisTEN….
With his brightly coloured mandala body he was a colourful addition to the flock! I think they will need to look for a bigger display area for the sheep soon as they will run out of space to display them all!
Tristen and friends weren’t the only woolly creatures at Yarndale this year, as usual, a number of ‘live’ woolly critters had come along to charm the visitors!
Yarndale can be a little bit overwhelming at times, there is so much to see and do and buy. I followed my plan for last years visit which was to do a full circuit of all the stands first before getting my purse out. On my initial wander I was fascinated to see this amazing yarny Shrek and pals created by the Hawes Yarnbombers. Isn’t it fabulous? So many hours of work must’ve gone into creating that – just brilliant! The stall was collecting donations for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance which was one of the charities being supported by Yarndale this year.
There was lots of bright crocheted and knitted bunting decorating the auction mart this year too and it certainly gave the place a lift.
Now to the yarn, well what can I say? There was so much of it, and it was gorgeous…
There was inspiration at every turn. The Cuddlebums hand dyed yarn was a riot of colour. I can’t resist a rainbow so a couple of skeins may have fallen into my bag (paid for of course!) to come home with me…
The highlight of my time at Yarndale this year has to be getting to hear Eleonora Tully from Coastal Crochet speak about her journey as a crochet designer as well as to meet her ‘in real life’. For those who don’t know Eleonora, she lives on the south coast of England and is inspired by her coastal surroundings – which is abundantly clear in her beautiful work.
It was lovely to be able to hear the way Eleonora goes from an idea, to choosing yarn colours and techniques to ending up with a new blanket design. It’s been a thrill to be able to watch Eleonora’s designs develop over the years and I clearly remember the day when she launched her first ever CAL (Crochet-ALong). It was her Seaside Stashbuster Blanket, and although I had about a gazillion other WIPs on the go at the time, I found myself digging into my stash to join in with it. That blanket became my Sandy Bay Blanket which I blogged about at the time – named after Sandy Bay in Gibraltar.
Later on came the Changing Tides blanket, another design inspired by Eleonora’s coastal surroundings. I thought it was time another blanket was added to my collection, so I had a go at that one too, but chose the colours to represent Catalan Bay in Gibraltar. That blanket became my Catalan Bay Blanket.
Although I’m no longer in Gibraltar, I will always have my Sandy Bay & Catalan Bay blankets to snuggle up in when it’s cold up north and I’m missing the Gibraltar heat! It also means that I feel linked to Eleonora and her crochet journey too as I was part of the community around the world which took part in the CALs – and it really was a special experience.
I genuinely never thought the day would come when our paths would cross. Back when we first began our blogs about 7 years ago, with me in Gibraltar and Eleonora on the south coast of England, but thanks to Yarndale it happened!
Before I knew it it, it was time to head home. The Auction Mart was looking decidedly empty and I thought I had better head off before I was thrown out!
Outside the Auction Mart were a few yarn bombs on the grass. I have to say that this woolly representation of country fields is my favourite!
Standing at the top of the Yarn Walk steps and looking out across the valley. It really is in a beautiful spot. No wonder there is so much yarny inspiration in theses parts!
I remember on my first visit to Yarndale back in 2016, I set off along the Yarn Walk on the way into the venue and was blown away by the yarny lamppost covers. There don’t seem to be many of the original covers left from back then, but the new ones are equally as cheery!
The path through Aireville Park leads down to the Leeds to Liverpool canal, and that is where the Yarn Walk comes to an end.
I crossed over the canal on the bunting adorned footbridge and back into the Skipton town centre.
Thank you Yarndale, and thank you Skipton! It was fun. Goodbye until next time…
Thanks so much for joining me for my trip, if you would like to hear a bit of the atmosphere, you can listen to my latest episode of Making Stitches Podcast which features 10 chats I had with exhibitors at Yarndale, including a lovely conversation I had with Eleonora from Coastal Crochet. You can listen to it via this link or by searching for Making Stitches Podcast on your favourite podcast app.
Until next time, thanks for stopping by!