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My First Yarndale

Yesterday was my first visit to Yarndale.

Even though it’s in Yorkshire I’d never actually been before! When you own a yarn shop it’s not easy to go to any events on Saturdays (unless you have a stand – which we never have) and Sundays at the end of September always seem to be really busy for our family. When you don’t have a yarn shop anymore such things get a bit easier to arrange.

I used the park and ride car park which was very easy. I could have got on one of the free shuttle buses but I needed to find a cash machine so walked the short distance from the car park into Skipton and had a wander through the town. While I was there I popped in to the appropriately named ‘Three Sheep Tearoom’ for a coffee and a very tasty sandwich.

Then it was another short stroll to the Auction Mart. There is a Yarn walk through the park, which you can follow but I missed it as started from the other side of town.



I knew I must be almost there though when I saw this sign and followed the last part of the route, decorated with lots of knitted and crocheted bunting, down to the entrance to Yarndale.


I’d heard about what a good show this was and I wasn’t disappointed. There was a really relaxed atmosphere. The place was very busy and packed with stalls but most of the pens were a decent size so you could get in where you wanted to. Most importantly for a yarn show, there was plenty of yarn available, to suit all tastes and purses.

At one point whilst wandering around these characters suddenly appeared.

I have no idea where they were headed!!!

There was musical entertainment and plenty of food available too.

I was on a self-imposed yarn buying ban but I did purchase some quirky greetings cards from Temporary Measure. I got some from them at Woolfest and some of them have been used, so took the opportunity to stock up.

My personal highlight was the stand belonging to Anne Brooke where I bought some more cards and a small stitched picture.

I am very interested in this kind of work at the moment and it was lovely to see all her pieces. She has her own fabric range as well.

I also rather liked this on the Embroiderers’ Guild stand.




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Loving Indigo

I have to say I had a great day out on Monday at Tricia Hutchinson’s Indigo workshop, a description of which you can read on her blog. The workshop was fantastic fun, the group of ladies were all really friendly, the setting was gorgeous and Tricia was extremely knowledgeable.

We’d had some information beforehand about how to prepare the fabrics if we wanted to do some of the traditional Shibori stitching techniques as these are a bit time consuming. We all brought along our own pieces of cloth to die and, after some explanation from Tricia were able to play about with folding the cloth, attaching pegs or wrapping with string or thread and tying in marbles, corks, screws, pebbles and anything else we could find!!!

Then it was time to be dipping the cloth into the big vat of indigo dye and leaving it draped along the fences of the farm we were at before dipping again if we wanted to make a darker colour.  All the time Tricia was on hand to help and advise.

I think the effects produced are fantastic.

I had pre-stitched this piece using a technique called ‘Mokume’ in Japanese, which is supposed to give a woodgrain effect. I didn’t undo the stitching until the following day when it had had chance to dry a little – forgot to take a ‘before’ photograph but you get the idea!


The piece of cloth I used for this was from a once white, square table cloth in quite a heavy-weight cotton, which I think was given to me by my mother-in-law (and possibly given to her by hers!). The last time I used it was on a stand I had at a wool show and it got a bit grubby and passed it’s best. I washed it, cut it into 4 and now it looks like this…


I’ve always been a bit of an up-cycler so am thrilled that my table cloth now has the potential to be something new and useful. Think I’ll play about with a bit of embroidery on these pieces first though!!

I also have a few pieces of calico which I dyed so plenty to keep me busy for several months to come. Happy Days 🙂

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My New Dress

In my last blog I showed you a dress I had recently made for myself as part of my quest to explore and learn more about textiles. This was a big achievement for me, not having done any dressmaking for many years and I had been a little worried that it wouldn’t turn out very well! It was also the end (or maybe the beginning of the end!) of a long journey for the piece of fabric that I used as it had certainly been around for quite a while waiting for something to happen to it. It had been with me for a good 13 years and, having moved house with us 10 years ago, spent quite some time languishing in our loft. Before I acquired it, it was in the possession of my lovely friend Becky, who passed it on to me because she was emigrating to Australia. Here are the 2 of us when she came to visit me in Tadcaster a few years ago…


She has kindly written a little description of how it came to be with her.

I believe it was given to my mum in the 1980’s by an Australian girl who was travelling & stayed with Mum. She had been to Saudi Arabia working as a nurse & had bought the material in a bizarre. She left it for Mum as a gift, she passed it on to me, I passed it to you & more than 25 yrs later it has been transformed into a summer dress. I guess it may have been used for some kind of sari in the Middle East.’



A couple of years ago I decided it was time to give it a new lease of life and I dug it out of my loft, made a trip to The Remnant House in Harrogate (where I used to spend many lunchtimes routing through the bargain bins in my former working life) to buy a pattern and some contrasting fabric, but then never got any further with it.


This poor little piece of fabric had waited around so long, and was special to me because of the link to my friend, so I wanted to make at least a half decent job of it! I took very few photos of the work as it progressed, mainly because I wasn’t sure I knew what I was doing!!

I’m pleased with the result. It’s not perfect but it’s definitely wearable and I’ve successfully done elements I’d never tried before such as binding the armholes and inserting darts. As I am supposed to be learning, developing and acquiring new skills, I also now know  that I really need some lessons in fitting zips!!

Next I’m going to be talking about my first experience of patchwork & quilting  – something I’ve never done before and have really wanted to try since I was about 10 years old!! Also look out soon for some of this which I’m going to try next week and am very excited about….

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A Clutch of Completed Creations

I’ve had a little flurry of finished projects over the last couple of weeks.

First, and most importantly, I completed my latest design. The yarn I’ve used is the most gorgeous yarn, Sublime Alpaca DK. I loved working with this gorgeously soft yarn and the colour choices were influenced by my inspiration, but it also comes in a wider range of delicious colours.
It still needs to be assessed by my City and Guilds tutor before I can publish the pattern.

The design was inspired by the little shell which I found on a walk form Warkworth towards Amble in Northumberland earlier this year, it is shown here with some of the yarn!

Now I was on a bit of a roll I dug out a vest/tank top which I had knitted but not sewn up and spent an evening sewing seams and stitching in all the ends, then it need a jolly good steam and, voila…another project sewn up!! (literally…sorry)

The yarn I used was Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply and I knitted if from a magazine we had hanging around in the shop. I really like playing with this yarn which has very nice stitch definition and is 100% merino so feels really special.

I think it was the last couple of days that the shop was open and I’d got to the point where there wasn’t really anything much to do…no shelves to fill, no cleaning to do, no newsletters to write, no orders to send. Surrounded by unsold wool I picked up this unsold magazine from spring/summer 2012. Flicking through it I spotted a pattern I liked and looked at the Rialto 4ply on the shelves behind me, then I played a game of stacking up the different coloured balls of wool to see which colour combination I liked the best! This is a game I can play all day long and not make a final decision but I forced myself to choose a colour scheme, found the right sized needles and spent the rest of the day knitting!!!

At the moment I am on a mission to learn and explore the world of textiles, and my latest challenge to myself has been to sew a dress, which I finished off at the weekend. I want to write more about this project later but, as my first dress making project in over 20 years I have mildly impressed myself!!!

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Holiday Sewing

Hi. As I mentioned in my last blog, I’ve just been away for a bit of a holiday in Spain. As it’s so hot at this time of year, and we don’t have little children to entertain anymore, we didn’t do very much apart from relax with the odd cocktail or read a book on a sun lounger!!!

As you might guess though, I am not able to relax fully if I don’t have some knitting or sewing to hand. I always try to take something with me when we go anywhere, just incase I get a bit bored or need something to occupy me!! Even if I don’t end up needing it, I always feel better for just knowing it’s there.

We were a bit limited for space so I took a small bag with some embroidery supplies in it.


Naturally after a couple of days I felt the urge to get creative and out came the needle and threads.

First of all I finished off this little floral number. I found this design on Pinterest and just drew it with a pencil onto a piece of fabric that was hanging around not doing anything in our loft. I tried to keep the colour scheme really neutral and am very pleased with the finished result. The next challenge will be to find out what this piece of work is finally going to be. I’m sure it will speak to me at some point soon and let me know!!

After that was done I re-visited this feline design which came to me one day last summer when I was just driving along minding my own business and it decided to pop into my head. I had drawn the outline and done some stitching with it before, I even went to Clayfever in Tadcaster and painted him onto a vase! I have made a few items with this design on, some of which you can see below, and really felt the need to see what else I could do with it.

I decided this time I would have a pair of cats and did some rough tacking stitches onto the fabric just so I had an outline to follow. I then went absolutely crazy with the lazy daisies filling in the outline of one of the cats.


With the second cat I decided just to stitch into the negative space and went with the neutral colours again.


The design is coming on well and I am really pleased with how it’s looking so far. When it’s finished I think it might have to turn it into a gift for someone!!

Well that’s what I got up to on holiday and now I’m home and getting on with some more projects, hoping to learn lots along the way.


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Woolfest 2016

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since we closed the shop and this weekend we’re wizzing off on holiday but I just wanted to write something about my trip to Woolfest the other week. It was the day before the shop was due to close and the morning of the surprising Brexit result so it was a very welcome distraction to escape to the wonderful world of Woolfest for a few hours. I’ve read a few blogs about this years show. Kailyard Knitter has written a very detailed account of her visit and Liz Reed wrote about her experience of being a stall holder.

I love going to Woolfest, I first visited in 2010 and have gone back as often as possible since then.

It was nice to see a couple of people from my City and Guilds course, Debra Kobasa has written in her blog about her fantastic experience after being awarded the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers award and Nicola was there with her sister on their own little stand. Take a look at the gorgeous girls dress kits which combine knitting and sewing.

It was quite crowded when I arrived but after some lunch I was able to get a few photos.

Then I got down to the serious business of choosing colours and making purchases.

I really like the mini-skeins of yarn which mean you can have more colours to play with when making swatches.

I can’t wait to get experimenting with my new aquisitions but first I need my little holiday in the sun and then I have to knit a Fashion Accessory for module 10 on my City and Guilds course!!



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New Needlecase – New Start

For the past 6 years, Needlecase has been a family owned knitting supplies shop, based in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire. We stocked a wide range of hand and crochet knitting wools and knitting yarns.

As well as stocking the products we also offered friendly, fortnightly knitting circles, knitting workshops and crochet courses. The aim was for Needlecase to be somewhere you could come and relax and learn new skills over a coffee and biscuit.

We loved to promote all kinds of different and creative knitting, and crocheting crafts, in order to encourage more people to learn and develop their skills. Friendly service and willingness to share expertise with everyone, whatever your age or ability were very important to us.

At the end of June 2016 Needlecase will close it’s doors in Tadcaster, when the lease on our shop comes to an end, and we move on to new adventures.

The purpose of this website is still very much sharing the joy. I will share with you things that Inspire me, and I will share Ideas and Information which I find as I follow my passion for knitting and knit design.

Keep coming back for more information in the coming months