Monday, August 21, 2017

The North Yorkshires—My Idea of Heaven!

We made it to the English Yorkshires. Now we are in the cute little village of Hawes in Wensleydale and there are sheep and knitters everywhere you look! Wow! Cathy has deigned to take me out and show me off and I am in heaven. 

We visited the Dales Countryside Museum that was chocked full of displays and information about the Yorkshire way of life, especially in years past. Check out this amazing wall hanging created by 20 local fiber artists to celebrate Wensleydale fiber. They use fiber to tell the story of fiber! Coooool! The background is handwoven and all the yarn is hand spun and hand dyed in natural colors. 

There was a display of these interesting knitting sheaths. They look like lethal weapons and I bet there have been a few ladies who have used them as such. But they are normally inserted into a waist belt and one knitting needle is inserted in a hole in the top. That keeps the needle steady so the knitter can work a lot faster—kind of like the knitting belts we saw in the Shetland Islands. Many sheaths were plain, but it was often customary for young men to make specially carved ones for their sweethearts. How romantic!

But the best day was August 8, what we are calling Lamb and Yarn Day.” Tuesday is market day in Hawes because
for who-knows-how-long it has been the day when the Auction House runs its weekly auction. Then, vendors of all kinds line the streets with shopping stalls selling all kinds of wares, from cabbage to coats. 

We met Rachel Bates, with her Cosy Posy knits. Cathy left me with her while she went down the street to check out some slow-roasted pork she had seen earlier at another stall. Rachel added a few rows between waiting on were talkin!

Rachel must keep her hands busy producing all these warm, cozy knits!

Today the auction house was dealing in market lambs and we spent over an hour there watching the process. Cathy was fascinated and I dont understand why. It was a noisy affair with lots of baa-ing, people talking loud, and slamming gates.  And you could not even understand that auctioneer! Turned out that these are mostly poor little lambs that are destined for the plates of the British. 

Cathy thought it was interesting to watch the handlers working and listen to the farmers talking among themselves in an English that is indecipherable.  It was like a scene from All Creatures Great and Small! Indeed, this is James Herriott country. He practiced all over these hills, and much of the show was filmed here. For me, I just wanted to go out and find some more knitters. 

FINALLY, we got on a bus and headed to Leyburn where the famous Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop is located. Ahhh, we were sure to encounter some knitters here. And sure enough, Kath Hume, the owner was thrilled to meet me! She deals exclusively in yarn and spinning fiber from the Wensleydale Longwool sheep. She is proud to show off how beautiful and LONG the locks of wool can be. 

Look at the crimp in those locks! This display looks like a
girl with curly white hair is looking out the window.

Kath just loved me! She added some rows of garter stitch in some luscious Aran weight Wensleydale Longwool yarn in a color called Buttertubs.” It is just the color you would expect. She also very creatively knitted in uncombed burgundy locks and left their tips flowing out from the fabric.

While we were there, Katie and her mother walked in. Katie just learned how to knit last April and was enthusiastic to add a few rows of stockinette using a black and white yarn that was over-dyed with blue. She has got to be my youngest contributor so far. What fun!

Cathy purchased some soft white and purple combed tops to spin and a batch of uncombed lavender locks. Cant wait to see what she does with it. 

Too soon, it was time to board the bus back to Hawes. But it sure was a fun day!

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