Its Tuesday afternoon as I write this and one week ago I was just starting my trip to the Yorkshire Dales for Yarndale. I went up early to have a couple of days walking and taking in the scenery. This part of Yorkshire is more than 50 miles from where I live but is very familiar to me as it was where my parents took me and my brother for day trips when we were growing up.
I wanted to revisit some of the places I remember but haven’t been to for years – Burnsall, Grassington, Grimwith Resevoir, Bolton Abbey and Linton, the place where my airbnb place was. The only one I didn’t get to was Bolton Abbey – I’ll have to make another trip to see that in its full Autumn glory before the weather really takes a turn for the worse. I’m starting with a few of my favourite landscape photos – I love the way everything is so green then turns to a dark purple on the hills, which are covered in heather rather than grass and trees.
A pre-Yarndale getaway
I travelled up on Tuesday morning and started my little break with an afternoon at Coopers, where there is a second, smaller Knit and Natter and I knew that Tracy, of Handmade Over Yonder and Patchwork Chickens would be. I haven’t seen here since she was so ill with meningitis earlier this year and it was great to see her so upbeat and just like her old self.
My borrowed spinning wheel came along with me and after we’d finished our tea and had a bit of a knit (I took my shawl to this one) we found a bit of space and had a spin. Tracy went on a weekend course a while ago and has caught the spinning bug just as badly as I have. Over the course of the week, I managed to spin almost 2 bobbins of this black mix of Hebridean wool and British Alpaca, which I got from my local spinning mill.
After a relaxing first evening, I headed out the next day to meet up with a friend for lunch at Grassington. This is just as I remember it, with little gift shops and tea shops and winding cobbled streets.
Later in the afternoon I’d already decided to walk the 4.5 mile circular trek around Grimwith Resevoir. It was lovely at lunchtime when I parked there and had a little pre-walk before lunch…
…But when I reached the sign that marked the half way point, a cloud fell on my head. Literally. Was I wet! At one point it felt like I was walking with someone holding a shower head over me. It wasn’t cold though and it was a matter of just carrying on.
Fortunately, as I’d been walking into the rain, my backside (so to speak) was drier than my frontside, so I didn’t wet the car too much for the short drive back to my studio apartment. The hot shower and hot coffee with a bit of chocolate orange was very welcome and I had an easy supper and settled down in my PJs after that for a bit more spinning and some crochet.
Time for some pre-Yarndale crochet
My project at the moment is a giant mandala blanket that I’m going to feature in the Stylecraft Blog Tour at the end of October, so I wanted to make progress with this while I was away. Its coming on now and I’m interested to see just how big I can make it using 10 balls of Stylecraft Aran. I chose the colourway from a small selection rather than picking out the colours individually, but its looking really nice and its good to be able to use the newer colours that are just being introduced.
Thursday was bright and clear and sunny, so I took a shorter walk into Grassington via Linton Falls, which were looking stunning. I bet the colours will be fantastic in a month’s time, when the leaves start to change.
Later that evening, my friend Nicola from the crochet and chat group in Selby came over. We had planned to do Yarndale together but she had originally thought she would drive over on the Friday morning. We did really well as we were going to share the Studio apartment, which had a double bed and a double sofa bed, but the owner told us that she had no booking for a second Studio, so we got one each for no extra cost. How cool is that? The generosity of people in Yorkshire never fails to amaze me. We may be known for being careful with our pennies, but we are certainly not mean of spirit.
We were both very excited next morning to get ready and drive into Skipton to go to the Knit and Natter (for me the second time in a week!). Nicola had not been before, had never seen Lucy’s studio and had never met Lucy of Attic24, so it was really nice. It was funny though, because when she heard Lucy talk for the first time, she said later that her voice was totally different to the one she’d imagined when reading her blog.
Loads of other people were there too, including some friends that I’ve made over there and it was nice to drink coffee and have a bit of a crochet before setting out to the Auction Mart to help with the set up.
Lucy and I had chatted about this when we met up at the Stylecraft lunch in July. Getting the auction mart decorated and ready before the exhibitors arrive is a major task and volunteers are always needed but are then rewarded with free entry to the event. I’m going to donate my ticket price to Marie Curie anyway – it was just fun to be part of pre-Yarndale.
I helped set up some of the bunting and one of the Yarndale shops, while Nicola was in her element organising the merchandising. In fact, she helped out at the main Hub all day on Saturday too, and on part of Sunday she enjoyed it so much.
This is the Auction Mart when everything was ready for the exhibitors, and a few hours later, when they were all set up…
Decorating for Yarndale
The event has had a community project each year its been open. The bunting, which is all still in use, was made in the first year.
The mandalas were for the second year and these have now been mounted onto lots of ready-to-hang boards and usually sit just inside the entrance to the main cafe area.
Last year it was the Flowers for Memories and these were back, for this year only. Sheila, the lovely lady who organised this with Lucy last year was selling some of the flowers to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. She told me that the flowers will go on tour for a bit and will be broken up and sold to raise more funds before Yarndale 2017.
I bought a brooch but didn’t manage to snaffle one of the sheep, which were this year’s project.
The sheep went like hot cakes! They were raising money for the Martin House Hospice, which takes care of children with terminal illness. This is heartbreaking to think of but the money they can raise will do so much good. One of the stories featured on the stand was about a little boy called Thomas, who was only 14 weeks old when he died but the staff arranged for a newborn lamb to come in and lie with him on his bed. Thomas was very poorly but he held the lamb and the lamb nuzzled up to him for ages. When Thomas left, they named the lamb Thomas after him. We all got teary at the time and its difficult to even write it down so I’m full of admiration to the staff who work at the hospice and deal with these terribly tragic situations every day.
The sheep were fantastic and the display on straw bales was just brilliant. They weren’t for sale in one sense, but they were available for a donation, so I really hope loads of money was raised this weekend.
The Friday was exciting enough but we rounded it off with a slap up meal at The Fountaine Inn in Linton, which was just across the brook from our Studios.
That evening felt like Christmas Eve and the excitement of going to Yarndale gets just ridiculous! But I know its the same for many thousands of others and why not?
I’ll be back with another post tomorrow with loads of photos of the very busy first day and the more sedate Sunday xxx Kathryn
PS If you’ve enjoyed this post please think of donating to the Martin House Hospice. Every single penny is put to good use xxx