We have some exciting news from the organisers of Yarndale, a brand new creative festival help this September in Skipton, North Yorkshire.
"The event, which takes place at Skipton Auction Mart on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September, will be a real must-visit for anyone with an interest in yarn and wool. Yarndale will bring together over 150 exhibitors representing the UK’s most talented artisan makers, designers and producers, as well as some wonderful independent retailers.
"Every aspect of the yarn journey will be on show, from the woolly animals themselves, right through the various stages of production to the finished products. The aim of the festival is to celebrate the wealth of talent and creativity that exists within the wool community, and to encourage the sharing of skills and ideas.
"The early beginnings of Yarndale started at Wild Oats café at the top of Skipton High Street. Every Thursday morning the café hosts a thriving and lively “knit, stitch and natter” morning where anyone can come to work on a project and chat with other like-minded people over coffee and cake. As you would expect, much of the talk around the table is of yarn and wool, and it was this chatter that first set the Yarndale ball rolling. "A small group of self-confessed yarn addicts began to question why there wasn’t a wool festival in Skipton when the town has such a strong textile heritage. Not to mention the obvious sheep connection that Skipton boasts (the very name Skipton is derived from the Old English word “sceap”, meaning sheep). The idea of creating just such an event for Skipton gathered momentum and eventually Yarndale was born.
"That was almost eighteen months ago and it has taken a huge amount of hard graft, determination and vision to get Yarndale up and running . There is a great deal to consider when attempting to establish an event of this scale, and with the best will in the world it cannot be founded on enthusiasm alone. The Yarndale team is made up of seven people, all of whom have jobs, careers, children and busy lives but who have given their time and energy to help make Yarndale a success. They make up a strong team, with each person contributing different skills and experience to the mix. There are even two members who don’t actually know how to knit or crochet (shock, horror!) but vitally they contribute much needed financial, business and event management skills to the team.
"The tremendous support that Yarndale has received both locally and nationally has been astounding and very encouraging. Initially, the aim was to have around 70 exhibitors, but as word spread about the event that number has more than doubled. The exhibitor list reads like a dream to anyone with a passion for yarn and textiles. There will be a fabulous mix of talented artists and craftspeople, along with a great many independent, artisan yarn producers. Exhibitors will be travelling from all over the country with an array of yarn, materials, haberdashery, kits and hand-crafted goodies for sale, as well as creative demonstrations and displays. There will be ample opportunity for visitors to chat to the exhibitors, soak up the creative atmosphere and indulge in some happy retail therapy.
"In addition to the exhibitor stands, there will be an exciting programme of workshops taking place throughout the weekend. There will be a free drop-in knitting workshop with local writer and crafter Hannah, plus a series of creative workshops run by Skipton-based textile artist Jaki Bogg. These include rag rugging, stitching, crochet, dyeing and knitting projects and can be booked in advance via the Yarndale website. There will also be a couple of masterclass knitting workshops with renowned knit designer Amy Singer who will be travelling all the way from her home in Canada to be at Yarndale.
"The creative vibe will extend beyond the walls of the Auction Mart during Yarndale weekend. Look out for a red London bus (acting as a free shuttle between the town and the festival) with a bit of extra woolly decoration. And for those who wish to walk to Yarndale, the route through Aireville park will also be adorned with some surprising yarn creations.
"One of the unexpected effects of creating a new festival is the sheer amount of happiness it has generated amongst yarn lovers near and far. You only have to look at the Yarndale Facebook page to see that there is already a great deal of excited anticipation brewing. Skipton will be welcoming a large influx of new visitors, not only from all four corners of the UK, but from abroad too. The Yarndale team has been answering questions and advising on accommodation and travel plans for many months as people prepare to make the journey to North Yorkshire. There are stories of planned family reunions, girly weekends away, coach parties, camping trips and many anticipated friendly get-togethers.
"There will be a dedicated area at the festival for social meet-ups and a bit of knit and natter if anyone wants to bring along a project to work on in between all the shopping and browsing. Of course, the Yarndale team is well acquainted with the joy of social crafting as that is exactly how this whole adventure began."
Opening times: Saturday 10am - 5:30pm & Sunday 10am - 4:30pm
Entry: £5 (under 16s free)
Follow Yarndale on Twitter and through their Ravelry group. www.yarndale.co.uk