Monday 5 October 2015

A busy start to the beautiful season

My favourite season is here. The misty mornings, the glorious colours, the smell of wood burning stoves in the evening...nothing compares to autumn in the country.

I am a little sad to see summer go this year. It's been a special one with so much of our wedding being centred on light, summery, joyful things but I at least know that even though the big oak tree under which we got married will soon lose it's leaves again, Mark and I will be back in that spot a month from now, watching the bonfire, clutching mugs of mulled wine and enjoying a whole different kind of warmth to the summer sun.

For Midwinter Yarns, autumn got off with the most scenic of starts: the phenomenal Yarndale wool show in Yorkshire.

Ever since we started doing yarn shows, we've heard Yarndale talked about not so much in hushed tones as with gasps of excitement. Our fellow yarn professionals couldn't say enough good things about it, about the scale of the show, the vibrancy of the organisation and the hordes of excited visitors. They. were. not. kidding.

It was fantastic - we were so busy from the minute the doors opened, with so many passionate knitters to speak to.

The lovely Karina Westermann stopped by the stand on Saturday morning to introduce the Hygge collection she designed for our yarns, advising fans and customers on colour choices...and threatening to make off with all our mustard yellow yarns!

Left to right: Fika, Skovtur, Brygga and Top Hygge

Mark was very busy holding court over the Ullcentrum table - with great success, I must say. By Sunday afternoon, so many Linus on the Line sets had gone off to new homes that we barely had enough yarn left for a single more combination.

Somehow he also managed to finish off his Shine scarf over the weekend - a pattern that he's really happy with. With the current trend for triangular or crescent shaped shawl, he'd struggled a bit to find a pattern for a modern "manly" rectangular scarf that would be exciting to knit, but the diagonal shaping and variety of stitches was just right for what he wanted, and works so well with the Lithuanian linen.

Sunday afternoon was a little calmer and I finally got a chance to have a look around the show itself. It was huge! Even though it is all housed in one building, the rows are really really long and there was so much to see that I had to break it up in to a couple of trips, not wanting to stay away from our stall for too long at a time.
It wasn't just the stalls that looked amazing, although you could tell that every vendor had done their utmost, the whole venue had the touches of a truly passionate knitting and crochet team behind it. The crochet bunting in the entrance was truly a sight to behold, as were the crocheted mandalas in the cafe area. I didn't see much of the outside myself, but you can spot some of the lovely decorations in the trees outside in this video courtesy of Just Another Crafty Stuff. You may spot a familiar face 55seconds in, too.

We also had the privilege of being invited to stay at Triskelion Yarns' secret hideaway in Haworth - a stone farmhouse from the 17th century on the path to Brontë Falls and Top Withens, the supposed inspiration for Wuthering Heights. Staying in Haworth also meant we had to endure the terrible terrible hardship of dinners at the Old White Lion Inn...a hardship so terrible we ate there both nights and could probably have come back a few more times had our waistbands allowed it!

Wanting to make the most of our stay in Yorkshire, Mark and I stayed until Monday rather than head back on Sunday evening, not least because we wanted to take a little walk around the Moors and see a little of this very special landscape.

On a perfect misty morning, we put on our best picturesque knitwear and headed off towards the Brontë Falls. I have a tracker on my phone for hikes, and whilst I can normally keep a reasonable walking pace, on this walk the pace absolutely plummeted as we stopped very couple of meters to take pictures of moody ravens in the mist....moody sheep in the mist...moody mist in the mist.

Perhaps the most lingering thought for me from Yarndale, our last big yarn show for the year, was that despite having just spent a few fairly intense days of working and being surrounded by yarn and talking about yarn, just as we have every month this year, I still came away feeling inspired and buzzing with ideas for more projects! I also realised that I seem to getting inspired for particular types of projects from different shows - at Proper Woolly it was all about spinning and fibre even though it is one of the things I normally do the least of. At Yarndale, it was crochet blankets!

I have finally learned to curb my shopping at shows, as I just can't keep up with all the lovely yarns that are waiting for me in my stash, but I managed to pick up a book on crocheted blankets by Amanda Perkins (previously of Natural Dye Studio) which I think will work well in the rich colours of our Thin Pirkkalanka.

The rest of my shopping included some chunky needles and buttons for the Brygga cowl , a vintage project bag, some his and hers British wool socks, and a solitary hank of Alpaca/Silk/Linen yarn from Five Moons...which doesn't count as shopping as it was obtained with bartering, and as Sharon *needed* some of our Raggsockyarn, it would have been rude of me not to accept a hank in return!

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