Monday, 5 August 2013

To the Motherland.

Apologies in advance because this is going to be photo heavy - even if I have deleted about two thirds of the photos I took...

About a week ago Sarah invited a few of us to the Rowan garment sale in Holmfirth. I didn't think I could make it which was a big disappointment because it's where my dad's from and it's where Last of the Summer Wine was filmed (I didn't watch it, no idea why that's such a positive, but it is). I was also racking my brains trying to work out if I could fit a visit to Caroline and the Stinker's house - I couldn't. I'm going to state here that I'm not a massive fan of Rowan for many reasons (that I'll get into in a bit) but I do respect what they've done for the industry so a visit to the Mill was quite an excitement. Anyway, I wrangled a way to get there, we arranged it at knit club and we were off!

I met Lynsey just down the road from me and we picked up Elaine on route. We listened to Laura Marling to talked about how I'm going to capture my latest husband (I now have a plan!). I tried to take a few photos on the way because the scenery was seriously beautiful and this is all I came up with:

A big long straight road that felt like it could have been in America. 


We got to the Mill and it looked dead so we decided it couldn't have been there and drove past. Then Lynsey ended up driving down some rickety, winding, cobbled roads on really steep hills. She's a bloody brill and brave driver because I would have just stopped and refused. 

We got in contact with the other carload and it turned out that the sale had only sold out at about nine! It started at half eight and we hadn't set off until about ten past nine so there was no chance! We hung around for a little bit, lots of us have blogs (Lynsey's hereSarah's hereJem's facebook page here) so we took loads of photos of more or less the same thing. My favourite version of it is this from Jem's facebook:

I think we look like a band. My mum says we look like a motley crew. 

But I particularly liked the emotion shown by Sarah here.

The first thing that we did was head to a cafe. Natch. 

We stayed for about an hour and it was truly lovely!

The weather was changeable but the town is seriously gorgeous. I love Yorkshire buildings. I remember going on a trip to Meadowhall with a then boyfriend when I was about 17 and being struck that all of a sudden you can tell when you're in Yorkshire by that very specific colour of stone that's a bit blackened. Lovely Yorkshire. 

We already knew that we were going to visit a yarn shop, Up Country in Holmfirth, so we headed there.

I must admit I was a bit taken aback. The shop is lovely. Half a clothes shop and half a wool shop and both sections really busy and lively. The yarn though, it mostly still in plastic bags on the shelf and I couldn't work out if there was a system for storage. They stock up market brands like Rowan, Noro and Debbie Bliss but they weren't necessarily split into brands, or weights, or even colours. Just sort of placed around and about. Now, I do think that a wool shop should be a bit messy so that customers feel comfortable to touch and take out and compare yarns but at some stage it sort of becomes uncomfortable, when you don't know whether the room that you're in is a stock room or part of the shop, for example. Having said that, it's obvious that the owners are passionate about yarn - the fibres and colours available took my breath away. And I did spot some stunning pure silk in a basket on the floor that would have been mine were it not £22 for a 100g. I do like to support LYS's but £22 is about what I pay myself for two days work. Ha. Maybe one day. 

I settled (if that's the word when they're so beautiful) for four balls of Rowan Cashsoft DK in a mustard yellow, soft mid-blue, deep maroon-y burgundy and sage green that was on sale. I was going to make something stripey and then the fairisle bug took over. I had to buy some needles too that were £5 (!!!!!!!!) and by the end of the day I had a couple of inches knitted: 

More about that later. 

We went to a pub for lunch and it was perfect. We sat ourselves in a little snug at the end of the bar that fitted our little group like a glove. I had toad in the hole and almost got some of this: 

but it was off. So I got some kind of blond ale instead which was nice but a bit flowery. I do think that you should go for local stuff when you're away. 

After lunch we were mighty stuffed so we had a slow walk through town back to the cars. Jem needed some material to make a door curtain to match her curtain curtains so we were going to one of her customers down the road. I took the opportunity to take loads of photos of the little shops and sights: 

I've not got much to say about this - just wow. 

I have a soft spot for these 'man' type shops. I also really love hardware shops. 

A book shop that we should have stopped at. Really heartening to see all the little independents thriving.

The River Holme.

The scale of Yorkshire is just bigger I think. Lots of money around from when we were the backbone of the country. Proud Yorkshire. :)

The fabric shop that we went to was the Holmfirth Mill Shop and it was brill!!!

Look at that!!! It almost made me want to sew! I was convinced that I might find some fabric I've been after for ages (some sort of cotton in red with big teal flowers if you're wondering - I have big plans for that material when I find it). Jem found her perfect fabric and Lynsey, Elaine and Sophie all bought some too. I think he must have been pleased that we turned up just as he closed and forced him to open again - I know I would have been! Really gorgeous shop. 

When we'd finished there we all agreed that we were thirsty so we decided to go back into town, get some ice creams and sit in a sort of village green thing that we'd found. Good plan. It was my idea to get there by walking on the riverbank. Good plan. Especially because we found some kisses: 

And admired the view: 

And then we got to the green where we sat for a good hour chewing the cud and watching a farmer wrestle some sheep into his van: 

I was sad to be setting off home but cheered up when we found that the Haribo that I'd bought had melted in the back of the car! I know it's weird but I've always wanted to melt Haribo like you do with marshmallows so I was thrilled! 

It's as tasty as you imagine but I thought I might die when it got stuck in my throat. Ha. 

And that's that for the trip. When we got home I was convinced I was going to do some accounting type work but actually, I just sat around and knitted - funny that. It does mean that I have a finished object to show you though!

May I introduce you to the Spread Your Legs Cowl. :)

As we left the Mill and were heading into Holmfirth we were talking about why it wasn't such a bad thing that the Mill as closed and because Lynsey's car is new I said 'oh well, it's nice to spread your legs' and what I meant is 'spread your wings' or 'stretch your legs' but nothing ever turns out right for me. Ha. 

So, like I said earlier, this was made with four balls of Rowan Cashsoft in beeeeeeeeyootiful colours even if I say so myself. To be fair, I didn't really choose them, I just picked them up and they all seemed to go together and they were in the sale and that was that. Originally the plan was stripes but I've been hankering after fairisle for some time and whilst this isn't the big project that I've had in my head I think it may have been enough to sate the urges until the weather becomes appropriate and I have more than a few minutes to think about myself. 

It's my favourite kind of fairisle in that it there was no planning at all. Sometimes, as I was meditatively knitting I thought of some rules, like I'll put a plain row, then a 1 by 1 row then another plain row in between every motif and then I'd get carried away and that went out of the window. Then I started thinking that I wanted at least two motifs in each colour, one with one colour as the main and then vice versa but then that went out of the window because with fairisle, unless you're actually going to plan and think about colours and make some adjustments accordingly, it's near impossible to work out which colour will come out 'on top' in a motif. See the blue and green repeat on the left side of this photo: 

That was supposed to be some sort of medallion pattern that I took from my fairisle inspiration book but it's ended up looking a lot like coffee beans and the pattern doesn't actually show that well anyway because the colours are too close. 

There are plenty of mistakes too. The yellow and maroon pattern to the right of the centre was supposed to be a version of this: 

Oh well. 

And I forgot that  I was going to try and put a version of the grass kisses in there. Ha. 

But it was lovely to 'spread my legs' after a few easy projects and finally get some of this fairisle longing out of my system! It's been too long. 

The yarn is lovely and soft. But. And I'm pleased about this 'but'. It's slubby!!!!! You know sometimes you get those bits of fibre in a yarn that haven't managed to be spun properly? Lots of that. I spoke to Jem about it and she said that that's the primary reason that the yarn has been discontinued and that it happens mainly in the blue colourways. I must say, I got it in the yellow and the green too. And the reason that I'm happy? It just proves my point that posh yarn ain't necessarily the best! Posh yarns have their place I think, and making miles and miles of the stuff does mean that there will be imperfections, and they've found a problem and sorted it (by not making it any more) but ha! Every time I succumb to buying Rowan I'm reminded that they're human even if they charge ungodly prices. :)

It's blocking as we speak. 

And whilst I'm at it, I've got some pictures of the scarf I made in Araucania yarn from holiday that I talked about here. 

I'm actually pretty thrilled with it. It's boring. Totes boring. All I did was chained what I thought would be a good width then I did a row of dc's, a row of htr's, a row of tr's, then dtr's, tr's, htrs and dc's again. Rinse and repeat. It's about as exciting as I could have mustered with the throat, tooth and man problems I was having and now I've put it aside for a week or so I'm less worried about how wishy-washy it seems. I don't think that's the right term actually - the colours are sort of mid-way saturated rather than lightly saturated like I thought. I can't quite put my finger on why I liked it more in the skein than on the ball or worked up but I did. I will live with it quite happily though, it's a brill length for me. 

This blog post does have a theme tune by the way: 

I should start putting these at the top of the post shouldn't I? And then you can read it whilst listening to the same things as I do when I write it and it'll be almost like you actually are me. 

Right, I have prevaricated too long. I'm going to actually get some accounting done. Once I've made myself a cup of tea.... 

Love Eleanor. :)


  1. I haz a SAD FACE :((( Teehee...

    I know shouldn't be surprised that you finished the cowl already, but I still am! And it looks amazing!

    What a fun day, I'm glad you enjoyed it too :D

  2. Lovely day out there. Lovely place too. My daughter lives just over the border from Holmfirth - near Glossop. You probably went past it.

  3. I can't believe I finished it either. Or the fact that I've just started another one in our yarn...

    Dead jealous of your daughter!!! I do love Nottingham though, and how close it is to all of these beautiful places. :)

  4. I found you from Sarah's blog and my head is spinning over a no pattern fair isle project. And it's pretty too! Your day sounds like fun!