Yarndale Adventures…

Last weekend I attended my very first Yarndale festival and what a weekend it was! This blog post is all about the weekend – it’s a very long blog post I know, but there was so much to write about and I hope you enjoy sharing my experiences… 🙂

Yarndale is in its sixth year and in previous years I have eagerly followed events on social media and read about it with huge interest. A whole weekend dedicated to yarn and woolly interests… sounds wonderful doesn’t it!? 🙂

The reason I haven’t been before is that Skipton in North Yorkshire, where the festival is held, is 300 miles from our south east corner on the coast. It’s a long drive but together with my husband and daughter (our boys stayed behind) we embarked on the long journey on Friday afternoon after having packed our van ready for camping…

Not only is it a long distance away but we also have to negotiate the M25 around London so our journey was very slow at times with heavy traffic…

We saw the sunset whilst driving on the motorway and when we arrived at our campsite Catgill Campsite at 22.30 it was dark (8 hours after we left home)…

We were tired and got straight into our beds for a cold nights sleep! We had duvets and blankets but it did feel cold… and the next morning the crispy grass covered in frost was a giveaway as to just how cold it had been…

But what a treat welcomed us on our first morning in Yorkshire… a beautiful sunrise and the most glorious views…

The campsite is 6 miles from Skipton Auction Mart where Yarndale is held and we had decided to bring our bikes and cycle… it was a challenging ride as the Yorkshire Dales are very hilly and it took us over an hour although my husband and daughter were mostly waiting for me as I had to push the bike and walk up many hills! 😉 But what a great sense of achievement it was when we arrived and we enjoyed stunning scenery on the way…

As we got nearer, the crocheted bunting flags were a sure sign that we were going the right way…

We arrived at Yarndale and were probably the only people to have cycled there as we were directed to the only two cycle stands right by the front entrance and these were both empty and free for us to use! 🙂

As we entered the building it all looked strangely familiar having seen so many photos from the festival before, but seeing it all for real was wonderful… that crocheted bunting with fairy lights intertwined is magical and it’s hard to do it justice on a photo…

Each year Yarndale has a community project to raise money for charity and this year people were asked to either crochet or knit a butterfly. What a beautiful display and people could take a butterfly home in exchange for a donation to a local charity – it’s a lovely idea…

There was also a fabulous display of poppies…

And then into the festival we went… the setting in a cattle auction mart is just perfect… and the festival itself is truly amazing – my daughter said “this must be heaven for you…” (she knows me well!) 🙂 There was aisle upon aisle of wonderful stall holders…

From beautiful yarns, displays, garments and blankets…

To some coastal inspired displays too…

There were workshops as well as rest areas for people to sit and eat, or sit and craft or simply sit and chat! There were some real sheep and even yarn Schnauzers! No dogs (except assistance dogs) are allowed in the Festival so our little schnauzer, Salty, stayed at home with my parents but it was nice to see a crocheted schnauzer on the Toft display and a felted schnauzer too… A stand we were drawn to (especially my animal loving daughter) was Big Wigs Angora They had four adorable angora rabbits there and I felt compelled to learn a little more about them…

…which in turn led me to making my first yarn purchase! A blend of 25% angora and 75% merino wool. The lovely lady taught me about the properties of angora and why its best blended with other yarns… do check out the website for more information.

And then I started bumping into people who I have up until now only had contact with online… that has to be what made the weekend so special. 🙂 Being on Instagram and Facebook as ‘Coastal Crochet’ and also through my blog, I am having regular contact with people online and exchanging thoughts, ideas and words most days. Many people who have crocheted my blanket from the Coastal Crochet CAL had also told me they were going to be at Yarndale. To be able to meet some of these people in the flesh for the first time was just fabulous (and a little overwhelming too) although even some of these encounters were short & sweet but not quite long enough…

I’m not a huge fan of the selfie but I did take this one with my partners in crime, my husband and daughter who came with me so enthusiastically all weekend!!

My daughter then turned photographer and took most of the photos of me with other lovely people…

We saw Ellen from Pollevie again – I attended a workshop with Ellen last month in Brighton (blog post coming soon!) and her display was just so colourful and wonderful- she designs and makes the most beautiful wraps and bags.

Meeting Sara the editor of Simply Crochet magazine was fabulous. Having designed for the magazine throughout 2018, I have had lots of email exchanges with Sara and to meet in person was just great…

We also met fellow designer Fran Morgan who was so lovely… I could have talked for so much longer!

There were some wonderful encounters – some brief, others a little longer, but all very special. I had heard through Instagram that many fellow Instagram creatives were meeting for lunch on the grass outside the main entrance so this is where we headed and I met lots of fellow bloggers and Instagram friends… including Rosina from zeensandroger as well as meeting new people such as Claudia from Crochet Luna who was extremely generous in giving people gifts she had brought from California… a mini skein of yarn (it matched my coat!) 🙂 There was a fun conversation about how to pronounce the Dutch yarn brand “Scheepjes”… and being half Dutch I was able to help!

The famous mandalas made by Lucy of Attic24 were out here too…

And then there was my blanket that I had with me in a bag. Some lovely people approached me and I was so happy to be able to show them my own blanket at Yarndale. This photo is with Gilly from @gilly_makes  on Instagram. She joined in with my crochet along and hosts craft mornings at which about 11 blankets are being made… it was so special to see her…

There were more people who had taken part in my crochet along who seemed happy to see my blanket which was so lovely…

We popped back into the festival for another look around and it was lovely to meet Lynne Rowe at her stall (who I’ve admired for a while) and see some of her fabulous designs…

As we left I managed to get some more photos of the outdoor displays in the sunshine…

Before cycling back to the campsite we walked the Yarndale ‘Yarn Walk’ which leads into the town and has yarnbombs galore…

We walked along the canal (my husband was happy to see the narrowboats)…

And then we popped into ‘Coopers Cafe’ which is where Lucy of Attic24 fame (and one of the amazing organisers of the whole Yarndale event) has her studio in a room above the café. She had opened her studio room for people to see during the weekend…

We had been lucky to see Lucy briefly at Yarndale earlier in the day and I had the opportunity for a quick chat… 🙂

She was just lovely and we talked about our blogs and how they are our first love before Instagram and Facebook… I have always felt that way about my blog too… Instagram is a great way to get in touch with fellow crafters and it draws big numbers through quick posts and ‘likes’, but it is my blog where I can really put my fuller content. Lucy’s Attic24 blog is so inspiring. Lucy’s studio room is also gorgeous and there was a visitors book to sign too.

On our cycle ride back to the campsite I stopped to take a photo of some sheep with the beautiful scenery in the background (my husband and daughter had cycled ahead) and the local farmer invited me into her field to meet her “pet” sheep…

She was so kind and enthusiastic in talking about her sheep and she took my phone to take some photos!

It was a lovely moment… the perfect end to a perfect day!

And here were our purchases…

The next day we were treated to another gorgeous sunrise… as you can see we had some new neighbours. I also spotted a tent nearby with crocheted bunting… a little clue that the three ladies camping there might be going to Yarndale… and yes they were! We had a lovely chat…

The campsite was near to Bolton Abbey so on the Sunday morning we popped there to have a quick look at the ruins…

And my daughter really wanted to go and see the friendly sheep which she had missed the day before… they really were adorable and she got to see them- yay!

In the excitement of the first day I hadn’t got round to reading through the Yarndale festival brochure properly and I realised that we had missed a few things. Luckily my daughter and I managed to pop back into the festival very briefly on the Sunday morning (my husband happily wandered around Skipton)… and I’m so pleased we did! I was feeling less overwhelmed and able to make some yarn purchases – how could I resist River Knits hand dyed wool from a floating dye studio…

And then we also bumped into lovely Heidi @virkkuumaniassa who had travelled all the way from Finland! We follow each other on Instagram and were really hoping to meet… (interestingly, when looking back at photos from the lunchtime meet up on Saturday, Heidi can be seen in some of my photos but I just hadn’t seen her there at the time!!)

That’s indicative of just how overwhelming the festival was at times… there are lots of people I was hoping to meet that I either didn’t see at all or it just didn’t feel right to approach them at the time I saw them… I suppose that’s the nature of a big event like this with so many people there.

And I also wanted to say farewell to fabulous Ellen @polle_vie who had travelled from The Netherlands!img_3065

Plus I had a final chance to say ‘hello’ to some other lovely people who approached me as they had taken part in my crochet along.

And finally we managed to see the mandala display which was co-ordinated by Lucy of Attic24. We missed this on our first day and it would have been such a shame not to see it…And there you have it… a weekend in a beautiful part of the world, a fabulous yarn festival and a chance to meet so many likeminded people. I highly recommend it. 🙂

Yes it can be tiring and overwhelming at times and although the entrance price is reasonable, the shopping opportunities can be expensive. There are some bargains and offers to be had but some of the yarn on sale is pricey and there’s so much choice and temptation that it’s probably best to go with a clear idea of what it is you might want to buy… I actually didn’t end up buying too much at all… just the Yarndale bag, some cards, the angora mix balls and some mini skeins from River Knits…

It’s so wonderful that there is as much focus on crochet as there is on knitting. I have often visited yarn shops or events where I feel crochet is given a back seat in favour of knitting, but not here! Both crafts are embraced and celebrated and if anything there seems to be more crochet than knitting, especially with the mandala displays and the yarn bombs!

It was lovely for me that I went with my hubby and daughter… I wouldn’t have wanted to go all that way on my own and at the times the festival felt a little overwhelming it was nice to have them with me… They seemed to enjoy it too (the atmosphere was really lovely) and my hubby treated himself to some wool socks and my daughter got some keyrings and also seemed very drawn to the stalls with felt displays.

It took us 7 hours to drive home…my parents had been with our boys and when I walked in after our long and delayed journey my Mum asked “was it worth it?”

The simple and straightforward answer was “yes”! 🙂

Were any of you there? I’d love to hear your thoughts about the weekend… Have any of you been in the past or are you hoping to go in the future? Or are there any other yarn festivals I need to be going too?

Thanks for reading… (it was a long blog post wasn’t it!) and Happy Crocheting Everyone! 🙂 🙂

49 comments

  1. Wow! Thanks so much for sharing Eleonora – what a wonderful account of your weekend. I can’t quite believe how much you fitted in!!! A spectacular itinerary. Just lovely to see the selfie of you, your husband and daughter. I’m not sure I could face the crowds, so it is extra special to see your photos and read your post – I feel I’ve been there. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fabulous read, and gorgeous photos too – you describe the atmosphere so well, it’s overwhelming in a really great way?! haha!! I found myself very emotional I have to say, so much joy and gratitude and connection with the people I met and talked to, we belong to such a beautifully caring and friendly community….hookers are the best!!!! Hope our paths cross again sometime xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Awww, dear Lucy, thanks for taking the time to read my blog! Yes, Yarndale was overwhelming in a good way – just so much to see, so many people and so many lovely, friendly encounters… I would definitely like to come again next year… so I too hope our paths will cross again! Hookers really are the best!!! 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely post Eleonora, I really enjoyed reading it. Having been last year but not able to make it this, reading such a vibrant description and seeing such colourful pictures (especially love Lucy’s studio pics!) brings it to life beautifully. Thank you for taking time to write it 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely post, I really enjoyed seeing such a great overview of Yarndale as I live in NZ too far to pop in !! I can at least contribute each year and also buy from the shop which is great. Thank you again. Carolyn.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Eleonora, this is Heidi from Virkkuumaniassa 😊 Ooh, how lovely post with stunning pictures. You really had a long journey also, but like you said it, it was totally worth it 😀 I started to write my “story” day before yesterday but it is very slow to write with foreign language (so that I can get the real feeling to it, you know) and choosing the pictures is also hard 😊 I will post my story some day , hopefully next week, the latest. Have a great weekend! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to read your story of Yarndale Heidi! It takes time doesn’t it… so many photos and so much to write about! And for you in another language- wow! Isn’t it funny that you were there at the lunch on Saturday but I didn’t see you!!! I only noticed when looking at the photos when we were back home… have a lovely weekend! 😊❤️❤️

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  6. What a wonderful account of Yarndale, full of colour, vibe and amazing characters! I have never been to Yarndale but it now feels like I have – thank you so much for sharing your experience xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful experience for you and a feast for the eyes for the rest of us. So much beauty, so much art and so much eye candy. i can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your photographic tour of this event.
    All the Best,
    Gwen

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow,,,
    It was a great blog post!
    Thanks so much,,,
    I enjoyed ur pics of scenery,, and at yarndale,,, what a great time you had,,,
    Been following ur blog only a short time,, but had to comment,,,
    Thanks so much,
    I live in canada,, so too far to travel ,,, but maybe someday!?
    We have a yarny weekend coming in a couple of weeks,, a one day called fleecfest,,, in woodstock, ontario,,,
    Going to that! Excited, ,,,,
    Take care,,,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a beautiful and colourful Yarndale post Eleonora. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, I can associate with your feelings of being overwhelmed. When I went a couple of years ago I felt much the same way and was disappointed that I’d missed some stalls (like Little Box of Crochet which I subscribe to) despite walking around it countless times. Lucy was lovely when I met her and I felt so privileged to have visited her crafty space above Coopers – that was very special for me. I hope that one day I am able to return!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A wonderful post! I’ll probably never get to Yarndale, being from the States, but your travelogue made me feel like I was right there with you… thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ah, this was such a lovely read, and worthy of the journey you undertook. Isnt it wonderful when family supports us in these ways too. It’s great to see your finds and I love the colours you chose on your last day – so ewe of course. What a treat to find the local sheep and get to commune with them. You looked so pleased in the centre of it all.
    It may interest you to know that for us here, to travel 600 kms in a day is kinda normal – not everyday normal, but certainly something we do frequently through out the year…. now if it took me 8 hours to do half that I would be daunted too… so, we are pretty lucky to be able to travel one way in about 3hrs and see some wonderful things in our province.
    Hope we will see what you make with your Yarndale finds. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Trina… thank you for your kind comment… yes it was worth the travel! Our problem is always heavy traffic and congestion! Where we live on the south east coast of England it’s highly populated and gets really congested – we can’t travel anywhere by car without getting into a hold up somewhere along the way… that can be frustrating! Your vast province really does sound wonderful… 😊❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  12. So wonderful to read your Yarndale adventure. I’ve been once and even though it was 3 years ago I still remember how over whelming it was (but amazing!). Completely jealous of you seeing the actual Attic! I’d love to see that sometime! Lucy’s blog was the very first blog I followed when I started crocheting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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