I didn’t know what to expect from the Yarnfest event organised by East Yorkshire Yarn held at Hull’s Freedom Centre last Saturday, whether it would be somewhat of a large craft fair or perhaps a small version of a Yarndale type event. The answer is, it’s a cross between the two in my opinion.
As I walked into the first room, which was mostly stalls of finished goods for sale, my first impression was that it was indeed a craft fair. Now don’t misunderstand me, craft fairs are lovely events and I enjoy a good browse but I was hoping for more from this event than knitters selling hats and crocheters selling their blankets which was mainly what was on display here. It was however reassuringly crowded and I was pleased to see so many people there.
However, the best of the stalls (in my opinion anyway) were in the next room and I spent quite a long time browsing and chatting to exhibitors.
The first one I stopped at was Bearlescent where there were some stunning bears and rag dolls for sale. These were not toys for children though, these were more the kind of thing you would display in your home. I fell in love with the rag dolls, one would look beautiful in a little rocking chair or Lloyd Loom chair if we had the space to show it off.
They didn’t come cheap at an average of £75 but as each one takes between 30-40 hours to make and is all hand-made with hand-painted faces, I don’t think the price was excessive at all.
I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at the bears though I did notice there was a kit on sale to make a bear so I assume this is something they can provide. Quite a nice idea I thought.
I next stopped off at the Life and Loom stall as I am quite interested in trying weaving. The Life and Loom weavers work with people with additional needs or disabilities but also run workshops and social weaving sessions for the general public. I had seen on their website that they had held workshops to weave your own shoelaces which seemed to be quite a cool thing to do so I asked if there were any plans to repeat that but sadly not. I was told that they do run weaving workshops at Traenerhus in Hull so perhaps I’ll look into that at some time in the future. Traenerhus do provide some very interesting workshops in all kinds of crafts and is worth a look at.
Next I came to the stall manned by Seaside Yarns of Hornsea with a good range of well-known and reasonably priced yarns, patterns, kits and notions. I had quite a long chat here as the ladies noticed my hand-knitted Steed jacket and we got talking about knitting and crochet projects, as you do!
I couldn’t resist one of the festive sock yarns from West Yorkshire Spinners and came away with a ball of Robin colourway which isn’t likely to be knitted up this year as I have just finished my third pair of socks for Christmas gifts. I’m a bit socked out for now.
Around the corner I came across the gorgeous hand-dyed yarns of Mermaid’s Purse Yarns. There was both wool and cotton available and all could be dyed to order. There was plenty of stuff to buy and take away with you though if you weren’t needing some custom dyed. I almost bought a skein of 4ply and spent a while browsing the beautiful colours but at the last moment, decided against it. I honestly have so many of these single skeins of gorgeous yarns, still waiting for their forever project that I couldn’t bring myself to add one more to the yarn shelter. I’m sure someone else who has a use in mind will make a much better owner. If that sounds like you then I would encourage you to have a look at the shop online.
Another stall I spent a bit of time chatting at was The Halifax Spinning Mill stall. With a lovely range of different weights of yarn from breeds such as Shetland, Jacob and many rare and primitive breeds, this stall was of great interest to me. I love wool in it’s natural colours and am constantly amazed at the range of colours you can get without using any dyes. Again, I didn’t buy anything because I really do need to work through some stash before adding to it but I was very tempted and certainly have ear-marked this for future. The website isn’t of much use as it still has their old address, they have recently moved to Carnaby and the Facebook page isn’t an awful lot better really, though it is more up to date. I can’t find an online shop anywhere so I am not sure how you would purchase their yarns. I am interested enough to make the effort to contact them if and when I want to buy but that’s because I saw them at this event. No photos of this one unfortunately as by the time I had decided to go round and take some snaps, I couldn’t get a clear shot of the stall.
Featured as the header image of this post, the stall that was truly inspirational was a crochet exhibition showing off some glorious work with the aim of showing that, as lovely as they are, the granny square is not the be all and end all of crochet. I don’t know the name of the lady who had created all of these works of art and put together the exhibition but it was outstanding work. blankets, bags, toys and amazing animal heads from the book by Vanessa Mooncie . Just look at this lot!
Other stalls I took photos of and deserve a quick mention are Beechwood Crafts who had a spinning wheel set up though it was quite popular so I didn’t get to have a go. There were some lovely needle-felted animals on display that I’d like to have a go at one of these days. (I really need to retire! haha)
Carrie Hunt Pottery had a small stall with beautiful hand- thrown and glazed mugs and yarn bowls. Her website has an online
shop and she will post or you can visit and collect from her studio in the Avenues area of Hull,
So, in summary I think there was something for everyone here. For someone just looking for gifts to buy, there were plenty of makers selling finished items of all price ranges, for serious crafters there were people selling fleeces, spinning and weaving tasters and more upmarket yarns and products and for the general knitter there were the reasonably priced yarns and extras but also lots of other stuff to drool over and be inspired by.
I really hope all of the exhibitors had an enjoyable and perhaps more importantly, worthwhile day. Well done to the organisers, I’m looking forward to next year already!