Jaime and I spent some time in Yorkshire, England last week to celebrate the wedding of our friends Malia & Lou. Malia owns the yarn shop Stephen & Penelope in Amsterdam, so of course her wedding celebration was attended by plenty of yarn loving folks. We couldn't resist staying a few extra days to experience the beautiful Dales of England. We were amazed at the stunning scenery, plethora of sheep dotting the hillsides, and the interesting things we found there!
Our first stop was at the West Yorkshire Spinners, a yarn mill that focuses on British wool yarns. We were enamored with their breed specific, natural wools--they had some beautiful Jacobs wool, and BFL yarns. They showed us their production processes, from making and blending roving, dyeing roving for variegated yarns.
The most fun part of our tour was seeing their yarn printing and balling machinery. The yarn printing set-up was top secret so we don't have photos of the printer, but it was so interesting to watch! West Yorkshire Spinners prints sock yarns that are self patterning and self striping, sending the strand of yarn through a special printer 24 strands at a time, and printing big skeins that are thousands of yards long. Once the yarn is printed, the dye must be set to keep the crisp patterns and colors. The machinery and process was really impressive.
The folks at the mill told us to stop in Skipton (which comes from Old English for "Sheep Town") and we would find a great yarn shop, Purl and Jane, that sells their yarns. To Sheep Town!
Purl and Jane was a darling shop that carried great breed specific yarns from the area. The owner even has her own local yarns produced, and Jaime picked up a few skeins of Jane's Swaledale yarn.
In Skipton we also happened onto an adorable and freshly opened crafting shop. We were pleasantly surprised to see our own sewing patterns on the shelves of Cool Crafting, which had only been opened a few days! The sweet gal who was working chatted us up and gave us a recommendation for a few places in the area to check out.
She blew our mind when she told us we would be staying just an hour or so from the fabric printing factory that prints Liberty Tana Lawns!! Wha-wha-what!!?? Of course we will go there! Check back tomorrow to hear all about our visit to Standfast and Barracks!
Home for the week was our adorable stone cottage in Giggleswick, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Surrounding us on all sides were rolling green hills, patchworked together by stone walls and dotted with so many breeds of sheep that we love.
Just to the northwest across the park, is Wensleydale, the valley for which one of our favorite sheep breeds is named. You may also know of this place from the delicious cheeses it produces! We headed to the town of Leyburn to visit the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop, an adorable yarn shop and producer of 100% Wensleydale wool yarns.
While visiting the dales I, of course, wore my handspun Wensleydale sweater and it felt right at home in this sheepy wonderland!