Yarndale, pt 2: Yarns & Friends & HYGGE

At the moment I am on a self-imposed mini-break, so I am a bit late talking about the things I saw at Yarndale. Still, it means I can look back and write about the things that really made an impact. Firstly, Yarndale turned out to be one of my favourite yarn shows so far. The venue was decked out with crochet bunting, crochet mandelas and a lot of handmade signage. It felt very cheering and welcoming - in other words, very Yorkshire! The vendors were a good mix of perennial favourites, old friends, and small vendors who rarely do shows. I managed to get lost a few times and I know I missed a couple of vendors I wanted to see, but here are some of the vendors that stood out for me:

I completely missed her at the EYF marketplace, so I was determined to seek out Laura's Loom - both her hand-woven fabrics and her yarns are gorgeous. Her materials are sourced from the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria - and the colours are both rich and subtle. Blacker Yarns was another must-visit. I loved being able to browse their breed-specific yarns and work out future colour combinations in my head. I had lucky enough to previously receive a pre-release sample of their birthday yarn - the gorgeous Cornish Tin - and I tried to ferret out whether Cornish Tin was to remain limited edition or not. The fabulous Sonja said that when it is gone, it is gone. So get your mitts on it now!

The Island Wool Company and I go way back. They backed and supported me when I did Doggerland and we have another collaboration in the works. However, I had actually never met them in person - just a lot of long phone conversations! - so it was a huge thrill to finally meet one half of the team at Yarndale. Many hugs were exchanged and hopefully you'll like what we have in store. Other friends with stalls included Sarah Alderson (who launched her book An Elven Reckoning at Yarndale - my personal favourites are the Norui jumper and the Rhien shawl), Ripples Crafts, The Crochet Project, Joeli's Kitchen, my style crush Jess with her Ginger Twist Studio, Tilly Flop Designs with Julie's amazing knitting postcards and tea towels (I lost track of where you were!), and the ever lovely Ann Kingstone. I also happened upon my old boss from my years with Rowan Yarns - it was so nice to catch up with Jem and see her designs. We both agreed that the past fourteen months or so have been such a whirlwind!

My purchases were modest. I have a lot of things on my plate over the next few months, so I wasn't looking to spend a lot. However, I felt inspired by the Knit British single breed swatch-along, so I went looking for yarn that fit the bill. As Louise pointed out afterwards, I was meant to look for undyed wool but I crave COLOUR at the moment.

Yarndale purchases. Carefully plotted over the course of the day. #yarndale2015 #knitlocal #planning #singlebreedyarn

A photo posted by Karie Westermann (@kariebookish) on

I was quite taken with the Exmoor Horn Wool - the colour range was really, really nice and the yardage is good - and I am looking forward to seeing how it works up. According to the lovely people on the stall, the yarn is a recently off-shoot from the Exmoor Horn Breeders' Society's work on preserving one of Britain's native sheep breeds. I am weak in the presence of a good story - especially one which involves heritage and landscape - and so two balls came home with me. I do have plans for them that involves more than just swatching, but I am not giving myself a deadline! I also bought one of the Wovember badges from Laura's Loom - it matches my winter coat perfectly!

But Yarndale was also the book-end of two very, very stressful months. I spent my last reserves of energy that fabulous Saturday and I have been exhausted as a result. So, I had a very strongly-worded conversation with my boss (i.e. me), and she allowed me to take most of this week off. She should probably allow me to do this more often! However, the final HYGGE pattern will be a few days delayed, emails have remained unanswered, admin has been pushed to one side, and I've not done any design work. I am sure the world will not end.

PS. The BBC has a really nice article about the concept of HYGGE today. Thank you to everyone who passed me the link xx

Yarndale, pt 1 - All the People, So Many People

"You travel a lot, don't you?", Lindsay (aka The Border Tart) said to me when we bumped into each other at Yarndale. Sometimes you need other people to state things. I do love a good train journey even when it means loud people at 6.30am or drunk people at 7pm. I love sitting by the window and watching the mist obscure newly tilled fields, the sun set over faraway hills, and the birds heading south in intricate formations. Alas, I don't have as much stamina as I'd like and so a good train journey often means recovery time at the end of it. I had a seven-hour round-trip to Yarndale Saturday and I spent Sunday reading in bed. Today I am knitting whilst watch the sunlight play in the trees across from the living room windows. Yarndale was really lovely, actually. I work from home and often I don't really realise how many of you read this blog, knit my patterns, and follow me on Twitter/Instagram. I live in a little yarny bubble in my little leafy neighbourhood where I know everybody. Then I go to a place like Yarndale and you are all so very real and so very, very lovely. It was so overwhelming in such a fantastic way - so many stories, so many hugs, so much laughter .. it felt very special. I don't really want to single out anybody but I want to mention two people in particular.

First, the lady from Northern Ireland who unfortunately caught me just as I was heading out to lunch. I am so sorry I had to dash off and not be able to spend more time with you - I really, really needed to sit down and have something to eat. I do hope we manage to see each other in November, but I understand if you cannot make it to the work shop.

Secondly, I was so incredibly pleased to meet Charlotte B. who I have known online for many, many years and whose support & encouragement over the last five years has meant such a lot to me. I would have loved to have spent more time talking to her because I would not be doing what I do today with her stubborn encouragement. Thank you, Charlotte.

I want to show you two moments from Yarndale.

Still thinking about this two days on. #regram @kateheppell and the #scollayalong meet up at #yarndale2015

A photo posted by Karie Westermann (@kariebookish) on



We had a Scollay cardigan meet-up following the BritYarn and Knit British knit-along this summer. This is one of the most amazing/surreal/strangest/fantastic moments of my life. Look! I was so incredibly pleased that I was grinning like a loon! And I loved hearing all about the modifications - from the gorgeous woman who had turned Scollay into a jumper to the lovely lady who knitted the sleeves flat - and seeing ALL THE COLOURS.

Secondly, then was the book launch party at the Eden Cottage Yarns stall.

Hijinks, I tell you, hijinks. I had never met Louise Zass-Bangham before but often admired her work - and we got on like a house on fire! Not sure Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns will ever allow us in the same place at the same time ever again. On a more serious note, Louise had sage words to say about friendship in the knitting world. Many of us are like-minded people who share interests and passions - why not make friends with the people you meet? I see so many posts on the Ravelry designer fora about "competitors" and I feel that line of thought means these people miss out on some fabulous conversations with pretty amazing people.

I am so glad that I made it to Yarndale despite a very early start. I hope to be back next year because I really like the atmosphere - it was colourful, warm, and very Yorkshire. I like Yorkshire.

Tomorrow I'll share my very few purchases and talk about some of the vendors I met.