Yarndale was fabulous!!!!!

It is a very popular event and people come in thousands.  So many people that I find it difficult to get any decent photos of the exhibitor stands!   This shot shows just how busy it can be (this shows about half the marketplace and was taken fairly early in the day):


The layout and decoration has improved again!  Well done The Yarndale team! These are some of the lovely Yarndale decorations to see:

The Bunting

The Bunting

Flowers for Memories (only a tiny sample of the display!)

Flowers for Memories (only a tiny sample of the display!)

The map of 'where you've come from' - including Australia, Japan, South America, Africa, the Falklands!

The map of ‘where you’ve come from’ – including Australia, Japan, South America, Africa, the Falklands!

I should have taken a photo of the mandalas, but I clean forgot!

The range of stallholders has expanded yet is also of a much higher standard than previous years.  There were lots of quality things to see and buy, and I found it very tempting.  But I controlled my budget by taking cash only, this made me careful in what I purchased.  Here’s my haul:

Yarndale haul

Yarndale haul

The basket is an African basket from Injabulo (I think I’m addicted to baskets), 2 skeins of the now rare Natural Dye Studio yarn from Amanda Perkins, one skein of luscious silk worsted from Willow Knits, 6 small skeins (200g total) of gorgeous Yeavering Bell DK from Whistlebare (a lovely mohair/wensleydale blend), 3 balls of linen and some linen material from Namolio, large pegs for my Swift from The Yarn Cafe and some brooches from Max’s World.

As well as shopping there so much to see and so many people to meet up that my head was in whirl half the time!     And this year I even had the opportunity to help Anne on the Willow Knits stand for fifteen minutes, having my first experience of what it’s like to sell yarn to hungry customers :-)

This year I took an hour out of the show and I went into Skipton on the red routemaster bus.  It was a lovely escape from the crowds which seem to be at the greatest from about 11.30 to 1.30, but also Skipton is a great little market town to visit.   I had coffee and cake with one of my friends in a lovely café she spotted down one of the ginnels:


Latte, fruit cake, Wensleydale cheese and apple – a delicious combination and great ‘fuel’ for the second half of the show!

I went by coach,organised by Lynne, Bernadette and Maxine, and Lynne did a splendid job of getting us on the coach and then into the show (always a bit tricky with 50 or so excited yarnies!).

I was exhausted when I returned home, so it was an early night for me…and then I slept in a bit later than I anticipated.    The exhaustion was well worth it.  But do I really have another year to wait for the next show?!

Happy knitting and crocheting xxxx


……and I’m getting excited!  Also, I am preparing for the day in my usual fairly organised way.  So I thought I’d share how I prepare as a visitor:

What do I wear?  It’s pretty obvious really – some comfy trainers (the floor is solid concrete and warm socks are a necessity), trousers (not a skirt as it may be chilly!) with a secret security pocket, lots of layers, a pair of fingerless mitts (excellent for being able to fondle yarn and get your cash out easily) and my favourite type of neckwear for shopping – a cowl.  When I thought about this I came to a bit of a standstill, you see I do like to co-ordinate what I wear and I’m taking some lovely crocheted fingerless mitts in blue but I don’t have a blue cowl!    So my last minute challenge was to stash dive and make a cowl that matches.   So that’s where I’ve been this afternoon – searching through piles of stash (which makes me wonder just why am I going to Yarndale!?).   I have found some lovely NDS dk yarn called Stardust in blues and lilac, not an exact match for the mitts but should be ok.  And my challenge for this evening is to make a cowl……wish me luck!

NDS Stardust

NDS Stardust

The next stage of my prep is to get the bag packed.  Ah yes, the bag – it is a good sized canvas bag which I can fling over my shoulder, not too large as I don’t want to inadvertently bump it into other visitors (which is very easy to do in a crowd).

I have reviewed the exhibitor list and floor plan already, so I have a printed copy marked up with my ‘must visit’ stands.  This is the first item to go in my bag. .

I always take a packed lunch.  There are cafes in Skipton and food stalls at the show, but the queues can be long.  So I find it easier to pack my own lunch – and a few snacks.  I’m travelling there by coach so I have a snack before arrival which helps keep me going until lunch!   So this afternoon I made sure I had sandwiches, snacks and some bottled water ready in the fridge.  They will all go into my bag just before I leave tomorrow morning.

Also in the bag is a market shopping bag, you know the sort of old fashioned string bag – you could crochet one yourself but I have a few ‘turtle bags’ so I use one of those.  It’s perfect as an overflow expandable bag.

A lightweight fleece is the next item – just in case it gets really cold.

The last item in the bag is a pack-a-mac.  I prefer this to an umbrella for two reasons – firstly it can provide an extra (and windproof) layer if it gets cold and, second, umbrellas can be difficult to manoeuvre in a crowd and possibly a bit dangerous!  I have checked the weather forecast and it looks good, but this is England so it is best to be prepared for rain.

Also, I have a small cross body handbag for money, phone, lippy, comb, small packet of tissues, keys etc.   It has some good little zipped pockets which are great for security.   I put my mobile on charge overnight, so it is fully charged for tomorrow.

Money is another thing to consider.  Some, but not all, stallholders have mobile visa machines but the signal isn’t always good, so it’s much better to have cash and cheque book.  I don’t keep cash all in one place which is why those little security pockets in trousers and bag are handy.  And it’s good to have small denomination notes and  a good supply of pound coins, stallholders love them!

Finally, an early night is in order.  I want to be fresh as a daisy tomorrow!

I’ll be wearing my Ravelry badge at Yarndale, so if you spot me you’ll soon tell if I won my cowl challenge, although I may still be crocheting it on the coach!

Happy crocheting xxx




I had a lovely afternoon today :-)

My friend, and amazing crochet designer, Amanda Perkins popped round for a chat.  We don’t often get the opportunity to chat face to face, since I live in the North West and she lives in Devon!    But today she stopped off on her way to Yarndale, the festival of woolly wonders which is on this coming weekend.   Amanda has a stand there and it will be the first time she is exhibiting purely as a designer.   It was fantastic to see her and get a real opportunity for a good chat.

I will be going to Yarndale on Saturday, and will see her again, but we won’t really have any quality chatting time as Yarndale will be buzzing!   She has told me her plans for her stand, which include some of her amazing blankets, some yarn (the last of the now very rare Natural Dye Studio yarn, and some of the gorgeous John Arbon Knit by Numbers) and an array of her gorgeous patterns.   Her stand is right in the centre of Yarndale, very close to Lucy’s Knit n Natter lounge. So please look out for her on stand number  80.

The second thing to make me happy today was what Mrs Postie delivered – my contributor copy of Inside Crochet issue 70.  I have a design in it, the Medina Cowl.  This is made with some luscious silk from Willow Knits.

Medina Cowl

Medina Cowl

I am very pleased with this design. It uses 3 beautiful colours of silk and the components are quite simple, but the joining is a feature which may prove a bit challenging to some (although it will become easier the more you practice). Willow Knits is also at Yarndale, so please pop by and see Anne on stand 101, I am sure she’ll have these beautiful autumnal colours of silks!

Finally, do also pop by the Inside Crochet stand (159) – you may even see Medina Cowl ‘in the flesh’!  And I’ll be there at around 2.30pm.

I do hope to see some of you at Yarndale.

Happy crocheting xxx

The 3rd annual Yarndale takes place next weekend.  This is a fantastic yarny event focussing on crochet thanks to Lucy of Attic24, and one of the highlights of the yarny year for me.

This year I am joining a coach trip organised by Lynne (of The Wool Nest), Bernadette (of Cheshire Needlecraft) and Martine.  This makes it even more enjoyable than previously, as I haven’t been involved in organising it!   All I have to do is turn up at the coach on time.

This afternoon I printed off the plan of the show and the list of exhibitors.  I visit all the stands but there are some I like to linger at, so I started highlighting them on the plan – I started with my favourites: Amanda Perkins Designs, Willow Knits, Inside Crochet and Namolio, and then I read the list of exhibitors thoroughly to see who else would be there and decided to ditch the highlighter pen – my ‘must see’ list was getting too long!

Are you going to Yarndale?   If so it would be great to see you – I do plan to be at the Inside Crochet stand at around 2.30pm for a little while.   Maybe I’ll see you there :-)

Happy crocheting xx




At long last I have put the finishing touches to my ebook on mandalas. This was a task I started a couple of months ago but something always prevented me finalising it.  It is now complete!

Magical Mandalas

Magical Mandalas

Did you know that the word mandala is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit which loosely translated means “circle”.  It has great spiritual meaning and also is fabulous for colour therapy and healing.

There are 8 designs in the ebook:

8 mandalas in a row

8 mandalas in a row

From left to right:  Julie’s Mini, Sunshine, Simply Solid, Mary’s, Lace & Texture, Starry, Buxton and Simply Alternative.

It has been published in all the usual places – Ravelry, LoveKnitting/LoveCrochet, Etsy and Craftsy.  It contains 8 different designs, 5 of which are already available as individual patterns, but 3 of which were made available only in workshops previously.  So there is something new for almost everyone!

I thought this would be my final work on mandalas, which have entranced me this year, but I have another special design waiting!

Happy crocheting xxx



This time a month ago I was very happy that I had 2 designs feature in 2 different magazines – I blogged about it here.

It felt wonderful!  And I really didn’t think it could get better, but it has!  My latest design for Inside Crochet (issue 69) has made the front cover.   This is Autumn Beaches, a motif scarf that uses just one skein of Yarns from the Plains’ Mobberley DK.

Photo courtesy of Nic, Yarns from the Plain

Photo courtesy of Nic, Yarns from the Plain

It is called Autumn Beaches because the colours of the yarn reminded me the shades in the ripples of sand created by the tide going out.  It is reminiscent of childhood holidays, playing on the beach (British beaches because we never went abroad for holidays).

However, this colour is called Malted Chocolate and I love chocolate so couldn’t resist!  When I saw the yarn originally it wasn’t the colour name that attracted me, it was the yarn base name – Mobberley.  Why? Because I live in Mobberley!    Nic who owns Yarns from the Plain lives not far from me in Cheshire and all her yarn bases have names of local villages and towns, and when I saw Mobberley I just had to have a skein (mmmmm……maybe I bought more than one!).  And when I touched the yarn it was so soft, it is made of 70% Exmoor blueface/30% British Alpaca and is entirely British.   So British yarn, dyed in Cheshire, using Cheshire names and reminiscent of British beaches – it all fitted together well for me.

The design of the motif is one I swatched last year, ok I say ‘swatched’ when what I mean is ‘doodled’ because that’s what I do with a hook and yarn in my hand, I make crochet doodles.   Originally I was thinking of making a small pincushion and the design was my first attempt at a crochet cover for it……..but it never made it to a pincushion.  You see I doodled it in DK, and I loved the look of it in DK, so I set it aside and waited until the right yarn came along.

And it did….and it was perfect.  So that’s how Autumn Beaches was created.  Whilst it is beautiful in the Malted Chocolate colourway, I think Nic has some fabulous colours in Mobberley DK and I would love to see the design in some of these – I love Libby and Sweeties, and my favourite is Bewitched.  What colour would you choose?

Happy crocheting xx

I’ve just published the full and final pattern for the anniversary CAL.  So here’s the reveal:

Anniversary mandala cushion

Anniversary mandala cushion

As you can see, the front and back of the cushions I made are different, as I like a little variety.  Of course, if you make a cushion you could make the front and back the same…….but which would you choose?

The full pattern is now on Ravelry, Lovecrochet, Etsy and Craftsy and is now full price.   But there’s still time to join in the CAL on the Ravelry forum :-)

Happy crocheting xx



The last few posts on this blog have been about the Anniversary CAL, but I have been doing a lot more than just finalising the pattern for the CAL.  Patterns are generally written well ahead of publication, then tested and refined – the publication hasn’t taken much of my time at all.

So today I will share a round-up of activity from the last few weeks.

First I was happy to have 2 designs published in different magazines both of which were released on the same day!  What a very happy co-incidence!   Again these were prepared and written months ago, but the excitement of receiving the magazines and seeing the designs in print (and beautifully styled) is immense.  And, of course, I give myself plenty of time to read the magazines over a cup or 2 of coffee!

The first item is the Lariat Belt I designed for Inside Crochet, issue 68. 

Lariat Belt

Lariat Belt

This one is a flexible design – it can be a skinny scarf, a lariat necklace or a belt – the perfect item to pack for holiday.   It is made in some of my favourite yarn, WillowKnits handdyed worsted silk, and it is relatively quick to make, so even if you are off on holiday next week I am sure you can make this in time.

The second design is a retro Boho Top for Mollie Makes, issue 56.

Boho Top

Boho Top

I had such fun making this!  It comes in 2 sizes and I designed it so it is made in one piece and requires very little sewing up.  I know that finishing a crocheted or knitted garment is generally one of the most disliked tasks, and I know of many pieces that languish in cupboards and drawers awaiting sewing up.   For the boho top the motifs are joined as you go and the bodice is made upwards from the motif section, the edging is incorporated into the bodice as you make it and there are probably less than a dozen sewing stitches required to  join the shoulders.    So once you finish hooking it takes minutes to finish the garment!

You may recall I mentioned a while ago that I treated myself on the spur of the moment to a set of Hamanaka crochet hooks from Janie Crow.   I had my eye on these for a while, they looked small and neat, and being double ended meant that I could carry a large range of hooks in a small bag.  They haven’t disappointed me at all.   I haven’t used anything else since I bought them!

I bought a set of 5 regular sizes, a set of 3 small sizes and a small case for them.   The hooks are lovely to handle and, for my small hands, a perfect size.   I added a small pair of scissors, some tapestry needles and stitch markers to the front pocket in the case and I now have a perfect little crochet kit.

Hamanaka - heaven in a hook!

Hamanaka – heaven in a hook!

I have been working on a simple granny square cushion in lovely handdyed 4 ply silk, and you can tell from this photo that I have used the hook a lot (evidenced by the dye accumulating on the handle near the hook shank – don’t worry, I know from experience that this will wash off easily).

Another thing I like about these hooks is that the 3mm and 4mm sizes are on the same hook, and these are the sizes I use the most – so if I want to travel light with crochet, that is the only hook I need carry.

I’ve also been indulging in some more mandala designing, this is a special mandala which is just in the pattern writing stage:

The special

The special

And I have been making some ‘mini bunting’ from a pattern by Emma Lamb published in Mollie Makes Crochet, another great selection of crochet patterns.  This now adorns the headboard of the spare bed.  Previously my Anniversary Crochet Flower mini bunting adorned the bedhead but I felt it was in need of a refresh and a narrower colour palette – 2 of Emma’s flowers from the book were perfect for this.

Mini flower bunting

Mini flower bunting

So what has been keeping you busy this last month?

Happy crocheting xx

Today part 2 of the Anniversary CAL is published.   You can find it on Ravelry and LoveCrochet.

Part 2 has a new motif – a large one!   And it is included in this mini cushion I made:


As you can see the 2 motifs work together well, I designed the sizes so that they did!  Part 2 of the pattern includes a suggested layout if you’d like to make a blanket or throw with just these 2 styles of motif, but there are plenty of other options available – just use your imagination (and maybe a little maths!).

If you haven’t already joined in the CAL, please do – I love seeing what everyone makes with the motifs.

Happy crocheting xxx


I have just pressed the publish button on Ravelry and the 3rd Anniversary CAL is launched!

The pattern is now available at a discount for a week – part 1 is included now, parts 2 and 3 will follow.    You can find it on Ravelry and on LoveCrochet.

As usual this ia a scary moment for me – will you like the design?   Will anyone want to join in the CAL?  These and other questions are flooding my mind!

To tempt you here’s a sneaky peek at part 1:

Part 1 in progress

Part 1 in progress

Please do join in the CAL on the Agrarian Artisan Designs’ forum on Ravelry – you can chat about progress, ask questions and generally have great fun.   And post finished projects on the thread to be eligible for the prize draw.

As well as all the excitement of the CAL I’ve had another couple of designs published – Lariat Belt in Inside Crochet and Boho Top in Mollie Makes – what a week!!? I’ll post more on these in another blog post, meanwhile……

Happy crocheting xxx


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