Yarndale, and monthly round up – September

I started writing this a week ago, got distracted, and only just got back to finish the Yarndale section now. I know, I know. So some of the WIPs have moved on a bit, but I figured I’d leave them for next time.

I know, I know, I said I’d do a Yarndale post, and it’s the middle of October already and I’m only just doing the September round up. What can I say? Life has been crazy busy lately, and I didn’t want to just rush posts for the sake of it. These things take time, you know? So without further ado, onto the usual stuff…

What’s been going on?

The thing that’s been using up most of my spoons (click here if you don’t know what spoon theory is) is work – it’s silly season in both my day jobs, and term started so I also started teaching again after the summer, all of which is very tired-making!

I also had a choir practice (no performing for me this month), and Yarndale (about which more below), I went to my lovely friend Sarah’s Macmillan Afternoon Tea party in Darlington with another friend and her adorable 2 year old (which raised over £400 – well done!) , and my nephew’s christening last weekend up in Hexham Abbey, which was lovely. I also got left in charge of my parents’ dahlias for a couple of weeks while they went on holiday, which was a little scary – I had to identify the dead flower heads and cut them off, which sounds much easier than it is. The dead ones look a lot like the new ones, so it was entirely possible that I could have left them with a big leafy patch with no flowers. It was ok though, I don’t think I ruined anything, despite my enthusiasm at being left in charge of secateurs… 

In food news, I was gifted an avocado the size of my hand, and in true millennial style, used it to make two meals of avocado toast:

I also finally made a batch of my Grandad’s recipe ginger biscuits. Grandad passed away earlier this year, and I miss him terribly. He was famous for his biscuits, and had given me the recipe a few years ago. So after a few tears, I produced these, which in standard Grandad form are pretty hard (they’re supposed to be, they’re not chewy cookies, they’re for dunking), but are a bit thicker than they should be, which gives them an exciting teeth breaking quality if you don’t dunk first, so more practice definitely required.

And for a bit of added extra fun I also threw my back out last week too – I twisted a teeny tiny bit to pick my handbag up off the back seat of my car, and the bottom of my back went into spasm. It’s not the first time it’s happened, as I have an old injury that gave me a couple of misaligned vertebrae towards the base of my spine, which have been treated so they mostly stay where they should, but occasionally they go into rebellion. Anyway, I managed to get an emergency osteopath session the same day, and it turns out that the usual two had done their thing, but the one immediately above them had shuffled off to the other side, so my spine was an S shape. No wonder it hurt. The osteopath did his thing, thankfully, I was a bit sore for a few days but everything is now pretty much where it should be, and I’m just dealing with the usual muscle aches of aftermath.

What’s happening in October?

Well, we are already halfway through it (seriously, I really need to set myself a regular reminder to do this in week one of the month!), and so far, other than work craziness, we’ve had my nephew’s christening up in Hexham Abbey, which was lovely despite the inclusion of One More Step Along The World I Go in the service (cue groans of disappointment from me and my niece’s godfather), and a catch up with my two girl friends, which was lovely. Still to come is my choir friends’ wedding at the end of the month, which we’re singing for, and recovering from a month of insane workload.

I’m also doing Go Sober For October to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. I’m about halfway through the month, and so far it’s been… OK. There’s been a couple of days where I’ve missed being able to have a relaxing drink at the end of the day, but it’s been alright on the whole. A couple of very generous friends have bought me a Golden Ticket to have a day off for the afore mentioned wedding (because going to a ceilidh sober just isn’t right!), but otherwise I’m planning on doing the entire month. So far I’ve raised over 100 quid, and I’m hoping to get to £250 by the end of the month. Macmillan are a cause that is very dear to my heart – I know far too many people who have needed to access their support, so I will always support them wherever I can.

What’s on my needles/hooks/sewing desk and other crafty things?

Only one new thing! Yay me! I finished the Indecisions socks, and posted about them here. There was one more FO but it was part of a group gift for a friend that hasn’t been given yet, so I can’t post about it yet. I will when I can though.

The Mosaic Marbles socks (Tour De Sock Stage 4) are trundling along nicely – since last month, I’ve got most of the way down the foot of sock #2 and should get them finished in the next couple of weeks (sooner if I knuckle down!). I just have about half of the final pattern repeat and a toe to go:

OK, I was saving this spot for a progress picture, but I’ve actually finished the socks now, before I had chance to take a pic, so they’re going to get their own FO post instead! 

The yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply, and I’m using 2.5mm KnitPro Symfonie circular needles, and they’re living in my Mrs Brown’s Bag. I realised I haven’t talked much about my project bags before, so I’m going to start trying to include them when I’m talking about my WIPs. I love my MBB bag, it’s bright and cheery, and plenty big enough for two full skeins of sock yarn.

The only other project that has had much attention this month is a new one. It will surprise no-one at all that I’m making the Wonder Woman Wrap. I bought the yarn for it a couple of months ago, and it’s been a true test of my willpower to not cast on until now (seriously, that level of restraint goes well beyond giving up gin for a month!). I’m rocketing through it, and have only got the top red stripe left to go, so should have that finished really soon too.

The yarn is Tanami by Travelknitter, which is a glorious 50% baby camel, 50% silk base and cost me more than I would normally spend on two skeins of sock yarn, but it’s blooming gorgeous. It is the softest yarn in the world, and is just wonderful to knit with. No wonder I’m almost done already. I’m using 3.5mm KnitPro Symfonie interchangeable needles (to get a long enough cable to spread it all out for shoeing off purposes), and it’s living (shockingly) in my Wonder Woman project bag from Owl About Yarn.

The other projects that I’ve mentioned in the past are still WIPs but just haven’t had any love this month. I will get back to hem, I promise!

What craft stash have I been acquiring?

I’m going to skip this section this month, because all of my acquisitions happened at Yarndale, which is going to get its own section down at the bottom… Brace yourselves, it is coming…!

What music has happened and is coming up?

Not a lot, in short. I had a choir rehearsal in September, which was mostly spent working on music for a concert that I didn’t sing in (because it clashed with Yarndale – priorities, people!), and I had to miss the October rehearsal (because I was in Hexham for nephew’s christening, and was roundly punished by having to sing The Worst Hymn In The World™), so I’ve been decidedly unmusical. I have been teaching, and doing plenty of singing and playing piano at home, but not much else.

As I mentioned above, my choir (The Clerkes of All Saints) are singing at a wedding in a couple of weeks (our MD is marrying one of our sopranos), and we’re singing for them, conducted by one of the other singers. It would be a bit much to ask the groom to conduct the choir, after all! They’ve picked some lovely music, although I’m not sure where it all fits in the ceremony, so I’ll tell you more about that next month, once it’s all over.

Ok, the bit you’ve been waiting for… Yarndale!

Yarndale was brilliant! We (my friends and I) had decided to go for two days, after the palaver last year of not having time to get around everything, which was absolutely the right decision. I’m actually not sure if we still managed to see everything to be honest, but it was a lot closer.

20170923_091354.jpgMy day started with a nice long drive (with appropriate supplies) from where I live, east of York, over to Skipton, which normally takes about an hour and a half. That is, if you don’t need to go off route trying to find a public loo. And if your journey doesn’t end with a twenty minute long queue to get to the venue, followed by driving aimlessly around the area trying to find somewhere to park on the side of the road because all the venue car parks are full. Sigh. Not a great start. But anyway, I evenutally got in and decided a cuppa was called for (and I was still waiting for my friends who were stuck in similar travel based woes) so found a seat, got a drink and fished my knitting out. And, of course, because I’m me, struck a conversation with the lovely couple next to me.

(Incidentally, if you want to watch a lovely Yarndale vlog, including a hilarious account of trying to negotiate service station toilets, you should absolutely check out Zoe of PinsAndNeedles podcast, relevant episode here.)

20170924_111431.jpgMy friends eventually arrived, we agreed on a plan of battle and set off into the market place, as always with the agreed plan to not buy anything until we’ve seen it all. Bahahahaha. I don’t know who we were trying to kid. I think Cat lasted about ten minutes, Eleri fifteen, and I made it to about 25 minutes before we caved! What can I say? Yarn fumes are very powerful beasties. We all had a few particular stalls that we wanted to visit, but mostly we had decided to just wander up and down the aisles and take it all in.


Yarndale is held at Skipton Auction Mart, in the main barn type buildings that are normally used to corrall and sell farm animals, so it’s set up in rows of pens, now used as stalls for each vendor. All nice and clean though, no sheep muck smells or anything, apart from the bits where there were actually sheep! It’s also always decorated beautifully with bunting and various yarny displays that have been built up over the last few years. This pic of me and my friends was taken in front of the biggest mandala I’ve ever seen!

Mid-afternoon on both days, there was an LSG meet up at the Knit and Natter Lounge, which had a very cool display of socks hanging from the roof. 20170923_160830


I only made it to the meet up on the Saturday (I was exhausted and ready to go home by mid-afternoon on Sunday!), but I managed to meet up with lots of my lovely online friends for a sit down, chat, and a knit for a bit. It was great to see everyone, and then kept bumping into them as we went around the marketplace too. This is Becci of RiverKnits who not only spells her name the right way, but also spends her life dying yarn and living on a canal boat with her husband and gorgeous son! Look at her wall of beautifully dyed miniskeins!



20170923_194053By the end of the day, we had all hit the wall of energy, so we called into the lovely fancy farm shop next door to the venue to get supplies for a bed picnic – posh bread, cheese, cookies, strawberries, beer… All the essentials! My beer seemed especially appropriate, and it was yummy. Win.

We had booked ourselves into a lovely Airbnb place in Ilkley (Skipton doesn’t have an awful lot of accommodation at the best of times, and having several thousand knitters descend on it means everything sells out very quickly). It was a lovely drive across the moors to get there, and our host Mechele was lovely when we staggered in, loaded down with yarn and food for the evening. 


Our room was gorgeous (see pics in the link for more), and the house was interestingly situated between the Ilkley Brewery and the Cemetary. Make of that what you will…! Anyway, we basically got into our PJs, got all our new purchases out for review, petting, and cooing, and then settled in for food, beer, tea, and chat for the evening, and made a plan of attack for the next day to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Bliss.

The next morning, we got up and had a delicious home cooked breakfast from Mechele – seriously, this place was worth it for the breakfast alone – and set off back to Yarndale. Fewer traffic related traumas this time round, but still no on site parking, so we went back to the same street we had parked on the Saturday.  #

20170924_121458.jpgThe main purchase for the Sunday was to be a new spinning wheel for Cat, so we spent rather a lot of time following her around the various stalls that were selling them, and watching her do the mysterious voodoo art that is spinning. She eventually settled on a wheel that she loves, so all good. Having spent most of my budget on the Saturday, I didn’t make too many more purchases, but a few unplanned bits and pieces came home with me.

Which brings me to the haul, which I know is the bit you really came here for. Brace yourselves…

First up, my purchases from RiverKnits – three skeins of her Splendiferous Sock, including one of her famous (infamous?) Starry Night, based of course on the painting of the same name. It’s going to be a three colour shawl of some description. I had originally picked out a pattern, but I think I’ve changed my mind, so watch this space…


Then I headed to my nemesis, EasyKnits. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have something of an EasyKnits addiction – I seem to be completely incapable of going to a festival where they’re selling, and not buying anything. I swear John must dye some sort of super strength yarn fumes into his wares… Anyway. What I really wanted was some of his Gobstopper (self striping) yarn, but unluckily for me he hadn’t brought any! After protesting my unimpressed-ness to him for a while, I consoled myself with two skeins of his Deeply Wicked+ sock base instead:


In case you were wondering what it was that broke my resolve to not buy anything straight away, it was this next purchase from Cuddlebums Yarn which is a lovely muted rainbow on their merino/silk/yak sock base:


Other purchases include these two gorgeous skeins from Mothy And The Squid, who I was determined to get something from:


And this lovely skein from the bargain bucket at Truly Hooked:


My final yarny purchase was a preplanned one from the lovely and awesome Joy of Knitting Goddess, which I’m going to use to make one of the patterns from Joy’s pattern book, which I also bought:

Finally, I made a few non-yarny purchases… A new ergonomic crochet hook, a pair of snips, a yarn bowl (made from telephone wire, no less), a basket (shown here, modelled by Leviosa, who gave everything a thorough inspection when I got home), and a leather bracelet/tape measure:

Unsurprisingly, I’m feeling rather poor now, but I have absolutely no need to buy yarn for some considerable time! And just for the entertainment/shame, here are all my purchases all together in my new basket:


Well done for sticking with me to the end of that – it’s been epic, but I did have rather a lot to catch up on! Let me know what you think of my purchases, which is your favourite, and if you have any suggestions of what I should make with any of them!


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