Psst….did I tell you….

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

Tis the night before Yarndale….


……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




Pre-Yarndale treat!

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

Yarndale here I come!

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




Magical Mandalas

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