Yarndale 2015 – Hooky Heaven and Woolly Wonders

The third annual Yarndale festival has just been celebrated. Founded and superbly organised by a small team that includes Lucy of Attic 24 blog fame, Yarndale is a wonderful, colourful fusion of all things woolly and creative in the world of textile art and craft.  Appropriately, the festival is held in Skipton’s auction mart where pens are taken over by exhibitors tempting us with all sorts of inspirational yarns and related goodies.

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Visitors could also choose spend an hour or two learning new skills on a workshop. This year I signed up for ‘Slow Stitching’ with Jaki Bogg. This was loosely based on the Japanese boro and sashiko mending techniques. Simple running stitches are used to decoratively re-inforce or attach worn and patched fabrics often in geometric patterns.

We were each given scraps of hand-dyed fabric and thread and the idea was to relax and get into an almost meditative state. As you get into a rhythm and with practise, your stitches become increasingly regular and even.

I didn’t get very far as it is, well slow. But I enjoyed letting my needle meander while I chatted to like-minded coursemates. This would be a great technique I thought, for attaching fragments of delicate fabric from my various rust print experiments and to highlight the interesting marks. The piece of fabric I took home from the workshop will be made into a purse with a clasp I later bought at the Bag Clasps Ltd stall, along with some lovely yellow leather bag handles for a project yet-to-be-decided.

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Next stop was to meet up with a friend at the Yarndale hub to admire the collaborative community exhibitions. Anyone is welcome to contribute to these and this year’s was made up of knitted and crocheted contributions from all over the world. ‘Flowers for Memories’ was the theme and the spectacular display has been raising awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Society – over £1800 so far!

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Both my grandmothers and an aunt died from this cruel disease and I have been a volunteer at our local memory cafe for dementia sufferers and their carers, so this charity is close to my heart. I was only too happy to contribute the flowers I made in their memory. We had great fun trying to spot our own creations amongst the rainbow of flowers. There’s definitely at least two of them in this first photo!

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How fortunate we were, just like last year, to have a beautiful warm and sunny autumn day. Out came the picnic table and chairs, the Thermos and the buns as I met up with friends from our knit and natter group for lunch. The level of excitement about Yarndale when we had met earlier in the week had been off the scale and we were all still giddy as kippers as we had a show-and-tell of our purchases so far. Lots of oohs and aahs and stroking of beautiful yarns followed.

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My first purchase wasn’t actually wool at all but some Rico Essentials 2ply crochet cotton. I’ve never used anything so fine before but it was very good value so good for experimenting with and it won’t be the end of the world if my plan to make a lampshade with it doesn’t come off.  I also bought the glitzy version to have a go at crocheting around Christmas baubles.

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At the other end of the scale I treated myself to two balls of incredibly soft and light angora/merino yarn from Bigwigs Angora (do check out their website, even if just to see photos of gorgeous rabbits!). Yes it’s expensive, but totally worth it for a luxury project and the reassurance that the animals are well cared for. I plan to design and make myself a luxury scarf with this – lacy to make the yarn go further.  I’ve never got on well with lacy patterns before so will definitely be trying out some samples with something cheaper first.

Along with the bunnies, these handsome alpacas from Why Not Alpacas were attracting an adoring crowd with their big brown eyes, and helping to educate visitors on the benefits of alpaca farming in the UK.

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Other highlights from the day were returning to Jenny Barnett‘s stall. Last year I bought one of her kits to make a needlefelted hare. The instructions were really clear and it turned out very well. This year I couldn’t decide which to make so came home with her inspirational book instead.  I just love how she stages her stall and the characterful poses and expressions she gives to her creatures.

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Marmalade Rose also works with felt and features animals and nature, but in a 2-dimensional way using the wet felting technique. This year she has added printed cushions to her range. I wish you could feel their lovely velvety flock texture.

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Earlier this year I posted about going on Anne Brooke’s ‘Print, Collage, Stitch‘ workshop so it was good to see some of her new work and say hello.

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Amanda Perkins Crochet Design has gorgeous and uplifting patterned blankets. As a fan of Kaffe Fassett’s work and abundant colour in general, these really appeal to me. In fact a photo I took last year of one of them has been my phone screensaver for the last year! I felt I definitely owed her a purchase after that and bought a couple of her patterns. (You can also find these in her Etsy shop). Realistically I can’t imagine ever having time to complete one myself – but you never know!

IMG_3770 IMG_3771IMG_3774IMG_3773All in all, a wonderful day out for anyone interested in textiles. Next year’s festival dates are already confirmed as 24th and 25th September. I can’t recommend it enough.

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2 thoughts on “Yarndale 2015 – Hooky Heaven and Woolly Wonders

    1. Well spotted! Will deal with that typo straight away. Thanks Lucy, and thanks for your advice at Yarndale on how to do a two coloured border on my ripple. Much appreciated!

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